The concept of the curator has become more and more influential in recent years. Therefore, apap decided to put more focus on the curators involved in the network and initiate a discussion about their views on the role of contemporary performance in art, society and economy.
We have already discussed this topic with Sven Åge Birkeland, artistic director of BIT Teatergarasjen and Barbara Boninsegna, artistic director of Centrale Fies in Dro / Italy. As part of Performing New Europe we now continue this short Q&A with Angela Glechner , artistic director of SZENE Salzburg / Austria.
It is already the fourth occasion that SZENE Salzburg has produced the PNEU festival, providing the artists of the European apap-network an international platform to present their work. From 15th to 20th January Performing New Europe offers the chance to see nine productions that engage with controversial socio-political issues, introduce memorable choreographic signatures and impress with strong formal statements.
As a performing arts curator, what do you feel the role of contemporary performance is nowadays in art, society and the economy?
That’s a very big, wide-ranging question. It’s my impression that the performing arts are currently under a great deal of pressure to justify themselves. This pressure comes partly from the side of political institutions whose funding is increasingly based on criteria that can be measured quantatively and partly from the audience that seems to find art particularly relevant when it is accompanied by the “glam” factor. I can see the performing arts being forced into a niche and am aware that their meaning for society is being insidiously and consistently marginalized.
How does the context of Performing New Europe produce an added value?
Performing New Europe essentially regards itself as a presentation platform for pieces by artists who are associated with the apap network. What is special about PNEU isn’t so much its format in terms of content but rather the opportunity to invite more and younger international aesthetic experiences to Salzburg. This gives the artists more opportunities to perform and offers the audience another chance to become involved in contemporary perfomative discourse.
How do you feel audiences should engage with contemporary performance?
The most important thing is for audiences to be prepared to look at art with curiosity and a willingness to take part in discourse, for them to be open to new forms, material and aesthetics and ready to embark together with the artists on new paths, away from established notions of beauty.
What social and political impact can the apap network have on our future life?
For me, a functioning and living network – in apap’s case with eleven partners across Europe– is an important and positive message in times of political and social upheaval. The anti-European and nationalistic tendencies within Europe and the social division within society have assumed frightening proportions. And this is why art in particular, in common with every single citizen, ought to take responsibility and react with whatever means are at its disposal. A network like apap does that in its own way together with the artists.
Angela Glechner was born in 1969 in Austria. She studied journalism and history at the University of Vienna. Since June 2012 she is artistic and financial director of SZENE Salzburg, the festival Sommerszene and head of the European network apap – advancing performing arts project. From 2008 until 2012 she was curator for International Sommerfestival Hamburg at Kampnagel together with artistic director Matthias von Hartz.
She was responsible curator of the City of Vienna for the funding in the performing arts from 2007 until 2009 and project leader for the European network IDEE - Initiatives in Dance through European Exchange from 2005 until 2007. From 2004 until 2007 Angela Glechner was production and tour manager for Austrian choreographer Philipp Gehmacher and from 2000 until 2004 responsible production manager for newly founded Tanzquartier Vienna and for KunstenfestivaldesArts in Brussels.From 1997 until 2000 production manager for several artists working in the field of performing art/choreography in Vienna. Before she workef as a journalist for the weekly magazine in Vienna.