Tag Archives: Anja Kirschner

The Empty Plan/Theatre for a New Time (Oslo)


Anja Kirschner and David Panos: The Empty Plan

Trine Falch: Theatre for a New Time

May 14 — June 26, 2011

The exhibitions open on the evening of Friday 13th May with a screening of The Empty Plan at 18.00 (78 min.)
Performance by Trine Falch at 19.30.

Kunsthall Oslo is pleased to present two projects concerned with performance and politics, contemporary artistic reexaminations of the theory and practice of radical theatre. 

The Empty Plan is a new feature-length film by Anja Kirschner and David Panos that centres on Bertolt Brecht’s time in exile in Los Angeles. Theatre for a New Time is an exhibition produced by performance artist Trine Falch, presenting scenes from the radical, collectivist early years of the 40-year-old Norwegian institution Hålogaland Theatre.

The Empty Plan
Part documentary, part historical reconstruction and part melodrama, The Empty Plan (2010, 78 minutes) interrogates the relationship between theory and practice in the theatre of Bertolt Brecht. The film contrasts scenes from Brecht’s exile in Los Angeles with productions of his play The Mother (1931) in the Weimar Republic, New Deal America and post-war East Germany, exploring different modes of performance and their relation to changing historical and political circumstances. The title comes from Brecht’s Messingkauf Dialogues, an unfinished theoretical work written during his exile, which considers the possibilities of ‘committed art’ and its practical, theoretical and formal limits at a time when revolutionary mass movements had been defeated and theatre was supplanted by Hollywood cinema as the dominant form of popular entertainment.

Through the figures of Brecht, his collaborator Ruth Berlau and his wife, the actress Helene Weigel, the film reflects on conflicting personal, artistic and political ambitions, raising questions about the nature of art and the unrealised dream of its supersession through revolutionary practice.

Anja Kirschner (b.1977, Munich) and David Panos (b.1971, Athens) live and work in London. Their long-form narrative films collide popular culture references, historical research and literary tropes, and address contemporary aesthetic, social and political questions. Their productions involve amateurs, actors and specialists from other disciplines in the creation of speculative histories and spectacular fantasies that comment on social reality.

Theatre for a New Time
Theatre for a New Time presents scenes salvaged from the archives of the 40-year-old Norwegian institution Hålogaland Theatre, uncovering its beginnings as a radical 1970s collective that sought to reinvent theatre ‘in the service of the people’. The company attempted to apply the principles of the revolutionary left to cultural production, and intervened directly in political conflicts in their adopted community. Their antagonistic productions intentionally polarised opinion, and the questions their early experiments raised remain uncomfortable and mostly unanswered today. In February this year, performance artist Trine Falch assembled the members of this first generation of Hålogaland Theatre to produce a new work, Allmannateater, in the form of a series of public meetings.

This project led to the exhibition Falch has made for Kunsthall Oslo, which reworks materials from the archives of the theatre’s first decade, accompanied by a new performance from Falch herself. Kunsthall Oslo will also screen the 1974 television production of the play ‘Det e her æ høre tel’ (‘Here is where I belong’), and a newly-commissioned film of the Allmannateater production from Dramatikkens Hus, Oslo.

Trine Falch has worked in live art and experimental theatre since the 1980s. She dropped out of the Theatre Studies course at the University of Bergen in 1986 to work with Verdensteatret, and in 1988 she joined the influential performance collective Baktruppen. Baktruppen gained an international reputation for performance work that explored the boundaries of the genre, emphasising ideas over traditional performance skills. Since 2007 Falch has been working independently on a series of productions rooted in an exploration of theatre history.

Kunsthall Oslo would like to thank Dan Kidner; Kai Johnsen and Dramatikkens Hus; the cast of the Allmannateater; and NRK for their assistance. Kaja Rastad has made the models and Hilde Honerud has made the film from Dramatikkens hus.

The Empty Plan film production was funded by Arts Council England through Film London Artists’ Moving Image Network, co-produced with City Projects and supported by Focal Point Gallery, Staatsgalerie Stuttgart and Kunsthall Oslo.

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There Is No Alternative (Stockholm)

Rumänska kulturinstitutet and Konsthall C

Ciprian Muresan
Pioneers, 2005-2008

There Is No Alternative
10 March – 16 May 2010

Romanian Cultural Institute of Stockholm
Skeppsbron 20
Stockholm Sweden

Konsthall C
Cigarrvägen 14
Hökarängen Sweden

Artists: Petra Bauer, Pablo Bronstein, Melanie Gilligan, Anja Kirschner & David Panos, Ciprian Muresan, Olivia Plender, Katya Sander, Michael Stevenson, Mona Vatamanu & Florin Tudor och Unnar Örn

Curator: Olivia Plender in collaboration with Kim Einarsson

In the 1980s Margaret Thatcher made the notorious statement ‘There is no alternative’ (TINA), which is often paired with another famous declaration by the former British Prime Minister ‘There is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families’. Following the collapse of communism TINA has become something of a slogan, embodying the viewpoint that the only viable economic and political system is global free market capitalism, coupled with the renewal of the creed of individualism. The aim of the project is to challenge the clearly hegemonic intent of Thatcher’s statement ‘TINA’ and examine the contradictory relationship between capitalism and the idea of liberty from a historical perspective.

The expansion of the role of finance capital in the global economy in the last decade, alongside the deregulation of the financial markets, has led to a renewed importance of the financial services industry. Working in a wide range of media, from performance and film to text and drawing, the artists in the exhibition also address questions of how the recent financialisation of the global economy and the narratives produced through this process change our world; from the everyday questions of what kind of social relations we are able to imagine to the realm of cultural production and our understanding of history.

Based in the Germany, Iceland, Romania, Sweden and UK the artists in the exhibition will explore these effects from their differing vantage points. There is no alternative (TINA) is a project initiated by Olivia Plender that adopts the idea of exhibition making as a form of research. The project first opened at the Drawing Room, London and it also involves seminars and performances, the outcomes of which will eventually find their way into a publication.


Saturday 10 April at Konsthall C, Performance by Petra Bauer

Thursday 15 April at the Romanian Cultural Institute of Stockholm, Artist talk by Mona Vatamanu & Florin Tudor

Sunday 16 May at Konsthall C, Performance by Katya Sander

Romanian Cultural Institute of Stockholm, Skeppsbron 20, Stockholm, Sweden
Open: Mon-Fri 10am-5pm, and 15-16 May 12-4pm
Admission to the institute is always free.

Konsthall C, Cigarrvägen 14, 123 57 Farsta (Stockholm), Sweden
Open: Wed-Thur & Sat-Sun 12-5pm, and by appointment

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