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BAZAAR Introduction by Georg Blochmann

The BAZAAR is the grand finale of IDENTITY.MOVE!, a project that has lasted for two years now. IDENTITY.MOVE! was conceived in the framework of the Culture program of the European Union by the Goethe-Institut Warsaw, Centre for Culture in Lublin, the State School of Dance in Athens and – last but not least – by a consortium of Prague-based dance and performance institutions consisting of Ponec Theatre, Tanec Praha, Alta and Alfred ve Dvore. IDENTITY.MOVE! focused on dancers, choreographers and performers in what we called „the Eastern Belt of the European Union“, a region stretching from the Baltic Sea to the Mediterranean. Thus it gathered partners from 14 countries: Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Germany, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Greece. With the help of those partners and a curatorial team of performance experts, 24 artists were approached to join the project and work in pairs in a research process on performative means to materialize an artistic identity linked to specific traces of this Eastern Belt, whether historical, social, political or aesthetical. The artists gathered for a big symposium in Lublin in March 2014, then on four residencies in the summer of 2014, in PACT Zollverein in Essen, Stary Browar in Poznań as well as in Athens and Prague to work on this issue autonomously but assisted by coaches, mainly from the region such as Wojtek Ziemilski or Ana Vujanović.

This artistic research was never meant to end up in a final product like a stage production but to be used as an open space for thoughts, exchange and consideration: Who are we? Where do we come from? What do we have to say? How do we want to express it? Nevertheless, the audience has to be involved, as there is no performative art without an audience, without the public. That’s why a fascinating website was initiated, www.identitymove.eu, and a Facebook fanpage spread whatever came up from the artists group. In autumn and winter the artists travelled to different places in region, hosted by local partners, giving workshops or performance lectures or participating in festivals, thus reaching out with their experience to diverse local audiences.

For the grand finale Prague was chosen, the city situated in the very heart of Europe. Here, once again, all the artists will meet, now working together on the presentation of the unpresentable, the presentation of a research process, made tangible and perceivable. This is an adventurous enterprise, a risky challenge for each of them – and, at the same time, a unique chance and gift for an audience that is willing to follow an international group of young artists on their path of creation. This is the BAZAAR, the core and climax of a week of workshops, lectures, discussions and performances, that have been invited for a regional transdiciplinary festival, accompanied by the launch of an e-book, that will provide background information. This festival and the book try to create an adequate environment for the materialization of an 18-month-long process that didn’t come to an end yet, and maybe never will.

IDENTITY.MOVE!, however, does come to an end. Whether identity can be identified, remains open – as it should, if we want to move on.

Georg Blochmann, Goethe Institut, Warsaw