ETUDE #1 & 2 “03 h 08 m 38 s – Zustände der Ausnahme” by Tore Vagn Lid
In the summer of 2018, a research team consisting of DRAMATURGY STUDENTS at the Goethe University in Frankfurt, flanked by an artistic Norwegian team from TRANSITEATRET-BERGEN (Tt-B), startet examining the question of the political DRAMATURGY of the state of emergency. This intensive seminar marked the first stage of Tt-B’s new, large project “03:08:38 STATES OF EMERGENCY”, and the first PUBLIC ETUDE, performed at the 25th of July, was also part of my seminar on „The dramaturgy oft he state of exeption“, at the Institut für Theater- Film und Mediewissenschaft, Goethe Universität, Frankfurt a.M.
A weave of occurences, side by side, are now being built inside the council room of Fjaler city hall. In the centre of the room; the seconds, minutes and hours it took a man to blow up a norwegian government building and then proceeding to execute young, social-democratic politicians attending a summer camp. Emerging alongside this line of killing are arrows and lines reaching out towards the rest of the world; how does the outside world react – not after – but during such a state (of emergency?), where everything is uncertain, where speculations wander off in all directions, where facebook images immediately change to display national symbols, where repressed political prejudices are able to act out. In other words: What can this- and similar situations unearth from what the everyday politics have wiped out?
Scales for the political man?
The state of emergency describes situations where normal laws and rules are put out of action, often due to a catastrophe or an unexpected event. It is well known that wars and revolutions often provoke such situations. This also applies to natural catastrophes, large accidents or terror attacks. If one, for a moment, leave aside the more ‚macro-political‘ and juridical definitions, also a "downscaled" use of the concept state of emergency will be productive. With the state of emergency there is an acute situation when choices have to be made and be given grounds for by each and every one, independent of earlier norms and rules. The dramaturgy of the state of emergency tears away the security net and makes each of us responsible. Like this the state of emergency in many ways becomes the individual’s political “point zero” and scale: What do we decide to do when we no longer act “in line with” or “by order from”? And just as sure as reality – historically – has confronted us with such states, just as sure is it that future will carry states of emergency, moments of sudden vacuum, when some of us will have to take action, or not take action, and where the rest of us will have to support, condemn or be silent.
Tore Vagn Lid
Guestprofessor, Frankfurt a.M.