theatercombinat | 27th september 2014, 2.00pm - politics of paradise and catastrophes, theatercombinat & FFT dusseldorf in cooperation with heinrich-heine university dusseldorf (institute of cultural and media studies, d).
in german and english.

language: english


catastrophic paradise




"that it keeps going on like this is the catastrophe," walter benjamin wrote a few years before world war ii and contradicted the common belief that catastrophe was something lying ahead of us. at the same time he hit the core of modern civilisation which is based on the trust in ongoing progress and economical growth and with its evermore renewed promise of a better life. benjamin also doubted the concept of time as a continuum and history as a chronology. paradise and catastrophe therefore are situated neither in the future nor in the past, they are rather layers of any present age, made of traumatic memories and the promise of happiness, able to turn any given moment into an event.
paradise (according to the bible) is a regulated place, a gated area for the simulated game of a (religious) authority. the centre of the garden is occupied by the untouchable, the forbidden: the tree of the knowledge and of life. desire drives him/her to disobey the forbidden. through the expulsion from paradise man gains knowledge also about his lethality, vulnerability and the dependence on others. in times where humanity interferes with the mechanisms of self-regulation of nature more than ever, in the age of the "anthropocene", these narratives become a threat. don't we need new narratives based on a completely different concept of time?
catastrophe is a term from the theatre of ancient tragedy, the theatre of rising democracy. after the earthquake of lissabon in 1755 this term was introduced to our catalogue of imaginations – with far-ranging consequences for the political imagination and the basic challenge of the (divine) authority.
as naomi klein ("the shock doctrine") has pointed out, capitalism is making use of any catastrophe for profit-making. in the sense of the marxist definition of the permanent original accumulation the catastrophe is the socio-economic basis of capitalism.
paradise and catastrophe are imaginary and political concepts which until today regulate the modern western democratic societies. they claim not least based on their world wide proliferation through colonialism on the one hand and through the deregulated global capitalism on the other hand an universal importance.

the symposium will examine political and philosophical strategies of catastrophe and paradise, compare narratives and distinguish concepts of time. international theoreticians from different geo-political perspectives hold short lectures and meet in a dialogue directly after that. these dialogues are extended to discussion with the audience.
the symposium accompanies and opens fields of research and which are also topics in the performance catastrophic paradise. the performance is part of the multi-format performative research project (katastrophen 11/15) ideal paradise by claudia bosse and theatercombinat and at the same time part of the international performance and discourse series "decolonize! performative strategies for a (post)colonial age" by FFT. the symposium is a cooperation with the institut für kultur- und medienwissenschaft (institute of cultural and media studies) at heinrich-heine-universität düsseldorf.

photo: robert pufleb





federica bueti (it/d)
(art critic, author, co-founder and -editor of "...ment, journal for contemporary culture, art and politics"),

dr. sotirios bahtsetzis (gr)
(art historian, curator and lecturer at american colloge of greece, athens),

prof. dr. reinhold görling (d)
(head of the institute of cultural and media studies at heinrich-heine univeristy)

catastrophic paradise will be accompanied by the symposium and is part of the larger performative research-project (katastrophen 11/15) ideal paradise by claudia bosse and theatercombinat and at the same time part of the international coproduction series DECOLONIZE! performative strategies for a (post)colonial age by FFT dusseldorf in cooperation with heinrich-heine university dusseldorf (institute of cultural and media studies).

27th september 2014 at 2.00pm

PREMIERE catastrophic paradise by claudia bosse
24th september 2014, 8.00pm
further showings: 26th/27th september, 8.00pm

location (for both events)
botschaft at worringer square 4, 40213 dusseldorf

admission after registration only (for both events)

infos, +43/699/10381117, +49/211/876787-0

photo: robert pufleb


federica bueti
matter (exceptionally) out of place

disaster and opportunity, exception and the exceptional. how do we conceive of catastrophes and crisis? milton friedman believed that political and economical disasters could open possibilities for market deregulation. the father of neoliberalism conceived of economy and politics as separate spheres. pointing to the interdependence of the realm of the mind, of the social, and the ecological, on the contrary felix guattari contended that catastrophe opens a space from which, through drama and absurdity, a new politics or economy of desire can emerge. giorgio agamben calls the state of exception the normal functioning of the state. if normality is a fiction, and exception the rule, if we live a life always and already in a state of metamorphosis, how do we understand the exceptional, abnormal, freakish, the phenomenal, the out-of-place? through observations, examples, speculations, intuitions and imaginative propositions, this presentation tries to approximate the exceptional state and from there, speak with the voice of matter out of place.

sotirios bahtsetzis
the image as a catastrophe: on the management of the future

catastrophe is both the personification of this linear concept of time, but also a particular (messianic) way of governing this future, that is, through the management of future or even just thinkable disasters. giorgio agamben's confirmation of the world as being in a continuous state of exception is seen as an interpretation of modern catastrophology. catastrophology constitutes the modern way of colonising both the imaginary and affective powers of society. while maurizio lazzarato asks us to leave behind the logocentrism that still informs so many critical theories, he also identifies the production of subjectivity as the primary and perhaps most important work of capitalism. as catastrophology is mainly deployed through images (understood as the ultimate semiotic operators) images are perceived as dispositvs of subjectification. are there any options of upsetting or inverting (ana-strephein) this fatal state of things? images should be reinvented as ‘poietic’ dispositivs, that is, apparatuses of a probabilistic ‘now’, mechanisms that go against the accumulation, coagulation, and sedimentation of semiopower allowing for a new horizon of potentialities to emerge, beyond the catastrophic now.

reinhold görling
the other sensation
„nous sommes dans l’exposition à une catastrophe du sens“, writes jean-luc nancy. not only that the forms of production of sense broke und there aren't any new ones to replace them, sense itself has become catastrophic. but what does it mean that we are exposed to the catastrophe, or, as walter benjamin wrote directly before world war ii, that the real catastrophe is that „it continues“? what does it mean that the construction of time and narration that coined the modern time has become empty? that the events and sensations expose us to another time? a time that we fail to narrate although we are actively involved in it? isn’t catastrophe exactly the trope we try to articulate this experience? this being the frame of my argument i will try to focus on the pictures, sounds and narrative fragments of claudia bosse’s performance catastrophic paradise. theatrale produktion und rezeption