Feeling a bit experimental? Artes Mundi and Chapter are offering the opportunity for Cardiff residents to take part in a one off performance at the Temple of Peace in November as part of Artes Mundi 6 exhibition and Chapter’s EXPERIMENTICA.
Artist Karen Mirza and Brad Butler will be conducting a workshop and performance based on Bertolt Brecht’s short ‘learning plays’ ‘The Exception and the Rule’. They are looking for 10 local participants.
WANNA PLAY? Here’s the deal:
Are you an artist with a foot in activism, a community organiser, or a small business owner?
Are you someone who questions the status quo?
Are you interested in uncovering structures of power and exclusion?
Are you the exception and the rule?
Artes Mundi has commissioned UK-based artists Karen Mirza and Brad Butler to present ‘The Museum of Non Participation’ an instalment of their fictional museum and ongoing body of work that confronts (non) participation and the socio-political in art.
For this presentation, Mirza and Butler are inviting local residents to workshop and stage one of Bertolt Brecht’s short ‘learning plays’ ‘The Exception and the Rule’. The ‘rule’ implies a legal language or a directive, while the ‘exception’ evokes being ungovernable or searching for an alternative to either the state or the free market. Together, they act as both a statement that ‘the rule cannot exist without the exception, and a question as to what a state of exception might be. Through the story of a merchant and his servant, The Exception and the Rule explores themes of capitalism and economics, labour and hierarchy, legislation and state ideology, hiding and secrecy, and the lack of union rights.
The artists invite you to eat, talk, rehearse, and perform together in order to explore and enact how these themes play out in our daily lives, to consider how they can be extended to the audience as active participants.
The ‘Exception and the Rule’ is one of Brecht’s several teaching plays. Brecht himself translated the term as ‘learning play,’ intended to educate people primarily about socialist politics. Typically, this form of political theatre privileges function above content and foregrounds collective teaching and learning through various modes of performance. It attempts to break down any division between author and audience through reflexive gestures that reveal the ’mechanics of theatre’. Through this and other plays, Brecht developed a way for non actors to learn through playing roles, adopting postures, getting rid of the divide between actors and audience, and focusing on process rather than a final project.
Working in the same vein, Mirza and Butler encourage you to enter into the project with the spirit of mutual enrichment and collaboration, where personal experiences/expertise and collective interpretation ultimately converge in the public presentation of the play.
Or ask away on Twitter: @artesmundi.