Kate Elswit and Marilena Zaroulia, 29 November 2012

Our next London Theatre Seminar is 29 November, 6.30pm, in Room 246 (Senate House, second floor).

We are delighted to have a pair of reflections on the Cultural Olympiad from Kate Elswit and Marilena Zaroulia

Kate Elswit (University of Bristol), ’Ten Evenings with Pina’

The “World Cities” retrospective at the Cultural Olympiad reframed Pina Bausch’s legacy by offering thirty hours of performance, which came not from the handful of exemplary works that might be called “vintage” Bausch, but from the co-productions that dominated the last three quarters of her career. Periodizing Bausch’s work by means of the Olympic program means asking how we can use the conditions of international collaboration under which this later body of work was developed to consider it on its own terms. It is first by recognizing how it built and was built by more distributed structures of support that we can shift our understandings of “late” Bausch.

Marilena Zaroulia (University of Winchester), ‘”A piece of the island in your hands”: (National) Belonging and the Paradox of Alex Hartley’s nowhereisland

A piece of ‘uncharted land’, revealed under glacier in the High Arctic, nowhereisland was declared a nation in 2011. During the Olympics, ‘this nation without borders’ traveled to the Southwest coast of England, attracting over 20,000 citizens, before disappearing in September 2012. This paper focuses on the ambivalent politics of staging/imagining belonging in Alex Hartley’s utopian project. Nowhereisland seems to contest fixed notions of nationhood, alluding to current crises of displacement and hospitality, particularly in the 2012 ‘Fortress London’ milieu. Further, by not proposing a new term for ‘nation’, nowhereisland articulates a kind of belonging, which is reminiscent of the symbols and discourses of New Europe. By discussing nowhereisland, this paper attempts to locate the 2012 Cultural Olympiad in the matrix of current European crises.