The architecture of Beirut Downtown represents a segregated society with no commonly shared public space: Civil War Ruins besides unused theaters and cinemas, reconstructions besides wasteland, designer shops next to vacancy, military barriers next to religious buildings. And at the heart of all this, the “Martyrs’ Square” as allegorical space, an impossible National Theatre for Lebanon. Six Beirutis accompany the camera on its one-hour walk through downtown Beirut and declare the space in-between the built environment, in-between the transformed and the demolished, their very personal theatrical stage.
Daniel Kötter/Constanze Fischbeck state-theatre #1: LAGOS 24’ with Segun Adefila The National Theatre of Nigeria in Lagos was built for the second World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture (FESTAC) in 1976. It is the only state-subsidized theatre in Nigeria. While its smaller halls are occasionally used for theatre performances, banquets and weddings, the 5000-seat main hall has been deserted since the early 1990s. A reopening was scheduled for 2010 but tpostponed indefinitely after a series of changes in direction. counter shot: The Bariga Arts Center was founded in 2009 in a Lagosian slum by choreographer and Nollywood actor Segun Adefila, after the rent free agreement between his company Crown Troupe of Africe and the National Theatre of Nigeria had been revoked.
Daniel Kötter/Constanze Fischbeck state-theatre #2 TEHERAN 24’ with Sara Reyhani, Arezou Hosseini The Tehran Vahdat Hall was Iran’s first and only classical opera and ballet house. Commissioned in 1966 by the Shah’s regime, the main hall resembles Vienna State Opera. Its ornaments reiterate the forms of Persepolis, the central representative architecture of the ancient persian Empire. For 13 years the hall hosted the classical ballet and opera repertoire though the official archive of Vahdat Hall does not keep any records of that period. Zoom Out: Since the Islamic Revolution in 1979 no opera and ballet performances have taken place in Vahdat Hall. Zoom Out: Sara Reyhani, trained as a dancer, was featured as a soloist in the first performance of so called ‘rhythmic movement’ on the stage of Vahdat Hall in 1999. Zoom Out: In 2004, due to a private initiative, the former workshops of Vahdat Hall were turned into a puppet theatre: Ferdosi Hall is the only stage for opera production in Iran nowadays. There are currently no plans to return Vahdat Hall to its originally intended use as a ballet and opera house.
New Media Society in collaboration with Lajevardi Collection presents:
New Media Talk Serie #9 | Daniel Kötter
Q&A Daniel Kötter in conversation with Amirali Ghasemi
Daniel Kötter is a director and video artist whose work oscillates deliberately between different media and institutional contexts, combining techniques of structuralist film with documentary elements and experimental music theater. It was shown in numerous galleries, video festivals, concert halls and theatres all over the world.
Between 2008 and 2011, he developed the video-performance trilogy Arbeit und Freizeit.
His music theatre performances in collaboration with composer Hannes Seidl are shown at numerous international festivals.
Kötter’s series of installations, films, and discursive work on urban and socio-political conditions of performativity has been under development since mid-2009 under the title state-theatre: Lagos/Teheran/Berlin/Detroit/Beirut/Mönchengladbach (with Constanze Fischbeck).
His film and text work KATALOG was shot in twelve countries around the mediterranean sea portraying sites and practices related to the definition of the public sphere. It was presented at the Venice Biennal for Architecture.
state-theatre is a series of six experimental documentaries that explore urban conditions for performance based on six case studies in Lagos, Tehran, Berlin, Detroit, Beirut and Mönchengladbach.
state-theatre departs from places that have shed their apparent societal functions: deserted areas, construction sites, unused or reinterpreted buildings – empty spaces in the urban fabric, places that were originally meant as allegoric gathering places: theaters.