This 17th edition of the festival celebrates the return of Live Action in public space. We have entered a new post-pandemic era characterized by a mind-change. Something has happened to everyone, and while it is difficult to put our finger on it, we are all aware. Live Action survived the pandemic thanks to the unwavering support from our public funders, the city of Gothenburg, the region West of Sweden and the national Cultural Council, who all understood that we had to produce the festival safely as an online event during these two difficult years. We just could not risk the health of the visitors or the artists.

Now we are back live and alive, presenting performance work in public space, in the common ground of everyone. We celebrate this return by simply being there, by a modest presence, during three days in the city centre of Gothenburg. In three visually and socially different public spaces on the city’s main artery, the Avenue. We begin at its top in the open area outside the City Library Thursday September 15 at 12.00. We continue next day on Friday September 16 at the same time at the center of the Avenue center, in the reposing green field of Bältesspännarparken facing the old Opera house. In the afternoon of the 17th we finish Live Action 17 in the hustling and bustling end of the Avenue, Brunnsparken, the public transportation hub connecting all suburbs and inner city districts of the city with a flow of people on a Saturday afternoon in the hundreds of thousands. 

Just like the city of Gothenburg, the program of Live Action is highly international, and also a showcase of a multi-cultural world. This year’s festival slogan is taken from Joseph Beuys whose statement “Art is the Science of Freedom” stands like a banner and a hope in a world where freedom of expression is under constant threat. This year we have invited artists from besides Sweden also Switzerland, Iraq, Ireland, Malaysia, Mexico, the United States as well as three artists from Afghanistan having found refuge in Germany, France and Norway. Afghanistan is a country which in a double respect is related to Sweden. On the one hand militarily since Sweden was engaged in Afghanistan for twenty years (2001-2021), just until last years departure of Western troops. On the other hand humanitarian in that our country have received refugees, fleeing the conflict in which our own nation was a part. A humanitarian involvement, which more than our military engagement, for many years has been up for political debate, and still is. We should not forget that our country today actually sends back Afghan asylum seeking refugees to the current Taliban regime, with all its possible consequences of oppression and even death. It is also a fact that despite our double military and humanitarian relation to Afghanistan, its contemporary artists are rarely showcased in Sweden.

This year’s edition does also witness a change in our substitution of the evening indoor performance program, with a program of discussions, as to reposition and initiate a new engagement with the artistic discourse of performance art. If Live Action today is an “oldie” in the sense of having been present on the performance art scene for the last 17 years, it is young in its attitude and approach to a medium we love and treasure. 17 years of passion and engagement feels good to look back at. It has created a great number of experiences and friendships, meetings, and many many really excellent art works. For us each year is a new year, each artist a new exploration of visual and human potential. We do hope you will enjoy this years edition of Live Action and its formidable artists, in a program which and it goes without saying is 100 % gender equal.