The top performing duo Jurišić & Mandić, in collaboration with director Bojan Jablanovec and writer Semira Osmanagić, addresses the all-time ideal of performing arts and the forever irresolvable issue of politics: what does it mean to be together and how should we be together?
“Touch always requires two,” says Mladen Dolar (Touching Ground, Filozofski vestnik, no. 2-2008). And the two must be close, physically within range of each other, present in the same space and at the same time. If thinking about what it means to be together involved only thinking about touch, then the situation would be apparently simple. But the touch is not an exclusive moment of experiencing “togetherness”. “Together” can be read in very different spatial and temporal dimensions, physical and mental spaces, and what is at stake in the project of the performing duo Jurišić & Mandić is a striking conceptual and methodological focus intent on answering the question of what it means to be together and how to be together.
By definition, performing arts strive to experience what we share as an interdisciplinary intersection of time, space and (body) presence (of the performer and the audience). This “together” defines the event fusion, at once emerging and happening in the here and now. In that sense performance in itself creates its own parameters of what binds us. Together therefore takes performativity in conceptually strictest possible sense. Of course, the key question here being how.
Today we are witnessing the unbearable inflation of performativity. Everything is a performance, we are drowning in the constant presence and medialization of everything. We are quick to identify what binds us together, yet we are unable to bind ourselves to anything for any significant amount of time. “Together” requires an investment that is increasingly difficult to pay.
Leja and Marko deal precisely with this investment, but without looking for an answer outside of themselves, in some external site (a theory, a story, a mythology) that would make sense of their relationship. They turn the question upon themselves: Why do I want to be together (with him/her), how to endure being together, what to do (with oneself) so that “together” becomes a realization of a surplus (in me), how to avoid the hierarchy of power (for that is not being together)? And last but not least: How to establish this “together” in the performative time and space of the spectator?
Together cannot be a coincidence, nor is it a construct. The investment is risky because it has to be very precisely targeted. Leja and Marko are aiming at what they see in each other and in what they recognize each other. This is a point reduced to a minimum, which they are trying to cover at the time of the event. They insist on the body, the gaze, touch, energy flow … For this, they require time. The performance will last six hours. The word enters the event through the thoughts of Semira Osmanagić, which are being created and projected during the actual event. This is the gaze of the third seeking its own place in togetherness and which is always already an interpretation pushing on the invisible handles of the invisible doors into “togetherness.”
“The problem of touch as a problem of two, is a problem of counting,” says Dolar, and then continues: “We must begin with what cannot be counted or subjected to counting, with something that is neither one nor two. Where counting is irrelevant.” “Together” is a sort of a mythical site of fusion that “heals” an individual with another individual; it is the experience of super-identification, where multiplicity turns into Oneness. “Together” is a surface, on which you will always slip – and this cannot be stabilized; it is experienced again and again, and the more we try to formalize it, the larger the emptiness gaping in what supposedly binds us together. For politics, an irresolvable issue, for performing arts an eternal ideal.
Leja Jurišić and Marko Mandić in cooperation with director Bojan Jablanovec and writer Semira Osmanagić.
Production: Pekinpah and Via Negativa. Coproduction: Kino Šiška.