the paris commune of 1871 is regarded as a turning point in history which heralded the central questions of the 20th century of how to change and improve the social order. the uprising against the french government by a revolutionary parisian city essembly aimed to reshape paris in line with socialist ideology. in the years that followed, the commune served as a role model for direct democracy and the communist ideal of a “dictatorship of the proletariat”. the paris commune has fascinated generations of artists of all genres ever since.
now 150 years since its establishment, the forum freies theater (FFT) in düsseldorf interprets the paris commune as an experiment for new forms of urban democracy. in a multidisciplinary project, in which artistic forms and media, e.g. photography, performances, and music are combined with urbanism and activism in a laboratory, the organisers plan to revisit the lessons of the paris commune to shed light on the current malaise in such cities as beirut, caracas, barcelona and others. according to the premise of place internationale, the unrest in these cities is often the result of unfulfilled promises of self-determination, municipalism and the “right to the city”, as was the case long ago in paris.
in 2021 the FFT düsseldorf will move into its new premises at the former general post office, which together with the central library and the theatre museum, will become a major cultural centre located close to the main train station. place internationale sees the move as an opportunity to question the future role of these institutions for urban democracy. to this end, a group of some 30 international artists, theorists and activists will test various artistic-social practices of self-determination and self-empowerment (commoning) with an shared artistic space of knowledge and a workshop atmosphere. the doors will be open to the public at no cost. the aim is to jointly present a possible model of an urban cultural organisation which projects the ideas of the paris commune onto current social circumstances and sustainably alters cultural institutions by means of a radical democratisation. gefördert durch die kulturstiftung des bundes.
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