When we conceived the theme for the 29th International Theatre Festival Divadelná Nitra in late 2019, we had not suspected the power and urgency it would gain over the spring of 2020.
All of a sudden, we are all in that territory. TERRITORY ETHOS. We are occupied by questions concerning living space, protection of privacy, the limits of intimacy, family relationships, generational membership, the meaning of education and culture outside educational and cultural systems, and unexpectedly also our basic material existence and physical survival.
We ask where are those who cannot “stay at home” because they have not got one.
We wonder if the strict protection of vulnerable age groups from the infection implies their discrimination or the discrimination of others.
We are terrified by the reality of isolation of the elderly and ill from their closest, and the thought we cannot hold their hand even in their darkest hours.
We are grateful to all those who provide us their services, protection, care, and help. Because we have been caught off guard by our own dependence on others.
We are concerned if moving all communication online does not pose a loss of intimacy, quality of behaviour, and especially jeopardy to our data and personal information. But also a trial of the moral integrity of children and young people, or perhaps an irreversible change in their mindset.
We are fascinated by the possibilities modern technologies offer – from simultaneous online concerts, conferences and theatre performances, through interventions by ethical computer hackers, to surveillance of criminals and individuals in quarantine using phones and facial biometrics.
We learn to know the capacities and limits of education over the internet, transform our homes into classrooms, and discover surprising aspects of parenthood. But also, a sharp rise in domestic violence.
We are amazed by the creativity of artists who have been deprived of the chance to present their work in public and are instead seeking unexplored forms and territories of communication with their audience.
With a decline in consumption and production, we are rejuvenating the environment, but its protection is no longer our priority. We are concerned for our own survival rather than the survival of the planet.
Many of us are losing our jobs due to economic losses, we search for other forms of work as livelihood for ourselves and our families. And we think of the privileges the truly wealthy enjoy in these critical times.
How faithful are we to that social morality, the ethical codex we adhere to in our jobs and personal principles of virtue, amidst all these problems and processes?
What is that TERRITORY ETHOS which we are willing to defend at all costs – just as we defend our honour, our families, and lives?