Arkadi Zaides, FRANCE, ISRAEL, BELARUS
directed by: Arkadi Zaides
Zaides invites us to join him on a journey to the territory of the dead and honour the memory of those who have been less privileged in life than us. Since 2015, a substantial mass of refugees streams to Europe from countries in the Middle East and Africa, upturned by war, terrorism and economic scarcity. We are featuring an updated version of this piece in Nitra, paying tribute to refugees who died on Slovak soil. At present, information is being collected on migrant victims in our country.
Spectators at ITF Divadelná Nitra already know Arkadi Zaides. In 2015 we featured his project Archive, exploring the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the lens of physical theatre backed by authentic video documentary material. In his new work Necropolis, Zaides invites us to join him on a journey to the territory of the dead and honour the memory of those who have been less privileged in life than us. Since 2015, a substantial mass of refugees streams to Europe from countries in the Middle East and Africa, upturned by war, terrorism and economic scarcity. Many of them die in transit, while others lose their lives on European soil – often while fleeing from police or by an unfortunate accident. Victims frequently remain nameless and unidentified, because migrants often do not merit standard application of the law: bodies are left unexamined by forensic methods and no data about them are recorded. With other NGOs, the organisation UNITED collects information and compiles a database about the victims of migration. Israeli-French artist Arkadi Zaides drew on these databases in his multimedia documentary project to craft a virtual map of their places of death, a modern-day city of the dead. Necropolis is a tribute to those who lost their lives in the hope of securing a better future for themselves and their dearest.
concept and direction: Arkadi Zaides
dramaturgy, text and voice: Igor Dobricic
research and choreography assistant: Emma Gioia
sculpture: Moran Senderovich
3D modeling: Mark Florquin
Avatar animation: Jean Hubert
Animation assistant: Thibaut Rostagnat
sound design: Asli Kobaner
grave location search: Aktina Stathaki, Amalie Lynge Lyngesen, Amber Maes, Amirsalar Kavoosi, Ans Van Gasse, Arkadi Zaides, Benjamin Pohlig, Bianca Frasso, Carolina-Maria Van Thillo, Christel Stalpaert, Doreen Kutzke, Dorsa Kavoosi, Elisa Franceschini, Elvura Quesada, Emma Gioia, Frédéric Pouillaude, Gabriel Smeets, Giorgia Mirto, Gosia Juszczak, Igor Dobricic, Ilka Van Bijlen, Jordy Minne, Joris Van Imschoot, Julia Asperska, Juliane Beck, Katia Gandolfi, Katja Seitajoki, Luca Lotano, Lucille Haddad, Maite Zabalza, Maria Sierra Carretero, Mercedes Roldan, Meret Heuss, Myriam Van Imschoot, Myrto Katsiki, Özge Atmış, Pepa Torres Perez, Sarah Leo, Simge Gücük, Solveig Gade, Sunniva Vikør Egenes, Yannick Bosc, Yari Stilo, Tamara Vajdíková
administration and production: Simge Gücük / Institut des Croisements
co-produced by: Theatre de la Ville (FR), Montpellier Danse 40 Bis (FR), Charleroi Danse (BE), CCN2 Centre chorégraphique national de Grenoble (FR), les ballets C de la B (BE), Tanz im August / HAU Hebbel am Ufer (DE), La Filature – Scène nationale de Mulhouse (FR)
Podpora rezidencií / residency support: STUK (BE), CCN – Ballet de Lorraine (FR), Workspacebrussels (BE), PACT Zollverein (DE), WP Zimmer (BE), Cie Thor (BE)
support for experimentation: RAMDAM, un centre d’art (FR)
international distribution: Koen Vanhove & Anna Skonecka / Key Performance
presentation at Divadelná Nitra supported by Slovak Arts Council, Nitra Self-Governing Region, The City of Nitra, SPP Foundation, LITA — authors society
Arkadi Zaides (1979) was born in the Soviet Union (today´s Belarus), he has been living and working in Tel Aviv since 1990, he lives and works in France. Having graduated in arts and dance in Misgav in 1999, he worked with the Noa Dar Dance Company and Batsheva Dance Company in Tel Aviv. He is freelance since 2004. Zaides’ work examines the ways in which political and social contexts effect the physical body and constitute choreography. It offers an inclusive realm that brings together diverse communities and sectors of society. His works were presented in a number of countries in Europe, as well as America and Asia. He was the first Israeli choreographer to place Jewish and Arab-Israeli artists side-by-side on stage. As curator Zaides continuously develops platforms to promote contemporary discourse of performance making. Together with dramaturge and researcher Sandra Noeth, he initiated the project Violence of Inscriptions, which brings together artists, thinkers, and human-rights activists to negotiate the role of the body in producing, maintaining, legitimizing, representing, and aestheticizing structural violence (2016). In cooperation with The Goethe Institute in Israel he convened the Moves Without Borders (2012 – 2014), a platform dedicated to encounters between avant-garde choreographers in contemporary dance scene to discuss the relationship between body, politics and society. He is laureate of a number of prestigious awards by foundations, recipient of multiple awards by the Israeli Ministry of Education, Culture, and Sports. In 2013 he was awarded prize by The Emile Zola Chair for Human Rights for his project Archive (at ITF Divadelná Nitra in 2015).
In those projects I looked at the real experiences of violence and borders, and brought it into the field of art. In “NECROPOLIS” we’re extending that and trying to give something back to reality: to the audience, perhaps to families looking for relatives. The question is how artistic work can be effective outside the economy of the theatre. (A. Zaides in an interview with S. Noeth, Tanz im August Magazine, 8/20)
But a question continued to haunt us, the same question we believe also weighs on the minds of thousands of relatives of the deceased on UNITEDʼs list: Where is the body? Where are the actual remains of all these bodies? In what physical space may these individuals, this entire community of dead migrants, be grieved, mourned, and paid their last respects? In her lecture “Bodies That Still Matter,” Judith Butler [Ed.: in her lecture Bodies That Still Matter, University in Tokyo, 2018] questions why some populations are regarded as more “grievable” than others. “To grieve another is to stand in relation to that other. It is a social relation, one between people, but,” she points out, “it is also one that is mediated by cultural and political modes of representation.” For her, “depending on the public sphere in which the loss takes place it can be registered with great lamentation, great sorrow or, it can be dismissed or covered over as if it were no loss.” Butler argues that when populations are eradicated in war or other forms of violence, when these deaths could have been avoided, “the public acknowledgment of loss is crucial to the act of protest.” (Arkadi Zaides, (W)archives: Archival imaginaries, war, and contemporary art, 12/2020)