Theatre and Transformation ⧚ Daniel Kötter

Sazmanab presented a screening of Neus Theater and Bühne, two films by German director and video artist Daniel Kötter, followed by a discussion panel and a Q&A with Kötter who is currently an artist-in-residence at Sazmanab.

Daniel Kötter’s single-take film Neues Theater, based on a performance staged in November 2011, examines a moment of fundamental change in the understanding of public space in post-communist Poland. The workshop hall of the Warsaw city cleaning company MPO will turn into the new cultural centre for Poland’s most internationally renowned theatre company Nowy Teatr, the work of the workers will be replaced by the work of actors and viewers. While the camera slowly travels along the hall, the roles of viewers and actors, of labour and performance, practice and theory keep oscillating. The film stages the “theatre” itself, not as yet another art form (with its specific institutional conditions, market rules and local aesthetic and historic limitations), but as a name for the allegoric space of encounter.

Daniel Kötter’s most recent film Bühne examines a moment of fundamental change in the understanding of public space in post-communist Bulgaria. The Palace for Sports and Culture in the Bulgarian Black Sea coastal town Varna was built as a prestige project of modernist architecture for the communist understanding of theatre and sport. While no changes were made to the interior design since its opening in 1968, every week the main hall changes its architectural and social function. The film stages the “theatre” itself, not as yet another art form (with its specific institutional conditions, market rules and local aesthetic and historic limitations), but as a name for the allegoric space of encounter.

Daniel Kötter, born 1975, is a director and video artist with a particular interest in multi-channel video installations and alternative concert formats. Daniel takes on the role of director, filmmaker, researcher or composer to relate to the issues of the art system in the public sphere, to what is the network of actors which activate the understanding and role of images, institutions and artistic practice. His structural approach in filmmaking and photography broadens the understanding of documentary and it is a constant investigation of modes of perception through which the public can explore the limitations of genre-specific habits of narration in theatre, cinema and museum. Daniel’s work oscillates deliberately between different media and institutional contexts, combining techniques of the structuralist film with documentary elements and experimental music theatre.

The screening was followed by a discussion panel led by Alireza Labeshka.

The visit of Daniel Kötter to Tehran was a collaboration between Sazmanab and Raf Art Gallery and was made possible through the generous support of Goethe Institut and Embassy of Germany in Tehran.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012 – 6-9 PM


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