Participation to the People! Locating the Popular in Rimini Protokoll's Home Visit Europe

Ine Therese Berg
2018 Nordic Theatre Journal  
Home Visit Europe by Rimini Protokoll is a performance without performers, only an audience taking part in a game in a private home. As such, it is one example of the partici­patory strategies that currently have a strong presence in contemporary theatre practices changing how we, as audience, engage with theatre. It is emblematic then that 'participation' is an emergent concept in theatre and performance studies with a rapidly growing body of work on the topic. This article sets out to explore
more » ... how the idiom of the popular can shed light on some of the central issues in the discourse on participa­tion: that is to say, the relationship between the artist and the audience, author­ship, and the relationship between the aesthetic and the social dimension of partici­patory work. I will be using Home Visit Europe in the context of Bergen Interna­tional Festival of 2015 as a case study, drawing on an audience research approach com­bined with a critical reading of the work. The conceptually stringent and tightly ordered dramaturgy of Home Visit Europe, where the audience take turns responding to a set of questions and tasks, demonstrates how problematic the concept of participa­tion can be to describe theatre practices, as the term risks overstating the influence that the audience have over the aesthetic product. In this sense, contemporary participa­tory strategies resemble popular theatre's conflict between established aesthet­ics, critical standards and popular grounding. A resemblance that brings the paper right to the core of the discourse on participation, which concerns the ideological ramifications of the 'participatory turn'.
doi:10.7146/nts.v29i2.104610 fatcat:jkomda7ryrbrxdienhwvujkofi