LIVE ACTION - WITH THE TIMES
After 12 years of existence, Live Action has of today an established position in the field of European performance art. We do try to innovate in our event design, how we present contemporary art. As well as how we practice the notion of cultural democracy, which for is not only a brand symbol of Live Action but a fundamental pillar in its event design. So is our internationalism. Having produced the work of more than 180 artists coming from more than 43 countries, Live Action examplifies an internationalism that is with the times. We have brought artists from all over the world to Gothenburg and the West of Sweden from countries like Belgium, Chile, Denmark, Norway, Finland, China, Cuba, India, Canada, USA,
It is true that Sweden has always been a country with an outspoken internationalism, welcoming people from foreign countries with a natural hospitality. Because it is a country of immigration. Even our monarchy is a result of immigration, as the Bernadotte family is originally from France. Gothenburg where Live Action is held, is also a landmark of internationalism, not only as a port city, with an extensive international trade. But was also built by immigrants from Scotland and the Netherlands in the 1700-th century.
Our theme or slogan for this years 12th edition is a paraphrase of the motto of our royal house For Sweden – With the Times. A motto you can find inscribed on each Swedish one krona. It is a motto that fits us today, yes more than ever, not only in that we do present a time based art form. But because we believe that the internatonalism and the cultural democracy practiced by our festival, is exactly that - With the Times. Our will to bring out contemporary art and a human scale art form like performance art to the people, the citizens, without any exception or exlusion, is fundamentally democratic. It is With the Times. And we are democratic fundamentalists.
Moreover, performance art is when practiced in public space probably the most democratic art form yet. It involves and engages its audience, it even let people at times participate in the works. It is unhierarchic in its expression and very very human in its approach. It is an art form that is pure, in many regards, in one way it is utopian yet real.
When we last year were presenting our artists and program outdoors in the beautiful green space of Bältespännarparken we saw how utopian idea of cultural democracy actually became real. The interest and engagement of citizens of all generations and backgrounds, immigrants, older people as well as parents with their kids, was real. Over 90 people participated in the work I-Ching by the Chinese legendary artist Huang Rui and got an umbrella as a gift. Whereas youth from the suburbs took a quite active part in the humourous action filled work by the Polish artist Arti Grabowski. These were very exemplary pieces of an internationalism, participation and cultural democracy in practice. But even more, it was a showcase of true integration, transcending borders of age, culture, social class, gender, etc. It was something that we all felt went beyond an even imagined utopia of how society could be. The smiles on peoples faces, the laughter and a sense of belonging was at hand. Different accents were mixed when people spoke with each other.
However, in an era when racism, anti-semitism, nazism, islamophobia, homophobia, and all kinds of phobic ideas are recurrent and propagated, unfiltered through mainstream media, we as an international nation have to stand-up for the social and ideological values as democratic fundamentalists. When hate speech is labeled as freedom of speech, when nazis in uniform are allowed to march and attack people with violence, when bombings by extreme right groups are not severly punished, and arson against refugee hospices are a constant, the democratic system is undermined. Then we have to stand-up as democratic fundamentalists to counter the shameless, the ignorance with the means that we still have as citizens. We don’t believe that art should serve any political ideology, but it could serve the values that makes our freedom, and artistic freedom, possible.
Live Action 12 inscribes itself With the Times, at a moment where symbolic action is necessary. When art needs to engage itself with the issues that is imposed on us. We need to showcase freedom, to counter hatespeech, we need to say, this is enough. We need to be united as democratic fundamentalists in honour of our ancestors, of our parents and to protect our children. For Live Action – With the Times.