Public Movement: Performing Politics through Conflictual Coreographies

    • Presentation speakers
      • Francesco Spampinato, Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris


    Led by Dana Yahalomi, Israeli collective Public Movement is a rare case within the rising phenomenon of cooperative art, because it is organized hierarchically. Its structure, however, is itself part of its exploration on how governmental organizations produce consensus. ‘Everywhere power is institutionally structured into
    organizations’, Yahalomi affirms, ‘We are working with widely exercised power structures but then challenge them.’ Public Movement’s choreographed public performances, often in collaboration with state institutions, simulate how governments act, involving the audience – often anonymous and unaware passers-by – in the
    production of a collective awareness through art and play. The collective’s actions, in Israel and abroad, always involve discourse, they are place and time-specific – or rather context-specific we should say – and therefore unique. As in the tradition of performance art and happening, they cannot be repeated: their success relies precisely on the unexpected effect they reach in the public sphere. After conducting community-based researches through discussions and interviews, the group stages public choreographies and rituals such as parades, referendums, dances and games. This practice, dubbed by its members as ‘performing politics’, has the aim of catering to national, social, and political needs, not addressing specific issues though, but in universal terms. Public Movement was born with the aim to offer an alternative to
    official Israeli state events and since its foundation in 2006, has performed also in Germany, Austria, Poland, Sweden, Finland, Taiwan, and the United States. Collaborating with local authorities such as police precincts, military units, fire fighters, and government representatives, the group’s actions invite the audience to perform in situations of unity, resistance, choice, or obedience. The idea is to use aesthetics as a tool to temporarily reflect on social mechanisms to which we subjugate without questioning. The concept of
    ‘conflict’ becomes in the group’s hands ‘a productive means of shifting power’ or, rather, an autonomous territory to explore democracy, political persuasion and ideological dissent.