In the middle of the current struggle in Catalonia Badart Barcelona presented their event for the #Badartworldtour. The event was centred on celebration of the Russian revolution and the important role of art. Due to the struggle on the street which many of the Barcelona group are involved in we decided to incorporate the energy of the revolutionary movements that are presently engulfing Catalonia. The exhibition was named “Revolution 1917 now and then”.
The event had work of a number of local artists and an image gallery of other Badart artist worldwide. The day started with an open meeting on the struggle of Artist today. The meeting attracted new people and was focused on Bad Arts main themes, linking the struggle of workers to the struggle of artists, the fight for a socialist world and the international way the bad art organises.
The main action of the day was our performance. We wanted to create a performance mixed with our different artistic abilities to tell the story of “1917 then and now”. In the end, our performance relied partly on improvisation, in large part because the actual process of revolution requires that the actors must overcome unforeseen obstacles and act according to changes on the ground. It was in this spirit that we trusted each other’s abilities and the central themes of our collective ideas.
To tell our story our performance was divided into 6 sections. Disorganization, Building of dreams, Conflict of organization, Revolution, Counter revolution and Rebirth
Disorganization – Many problems exist in our society but without focus there is not a clear idea of how things can change. With this in mind Mike Haas ran an art workshop. He created a revolutionary tree in the run up to the show. The tree represented the growth of ideas that come from seeds of thought, the branches the different ways these ideas can develop and the roots that can get created when an idea takes hold. The workshop created the leafs to give the tree real life. The leafs had political messages or not.
The leafs were placed in a voting box. This represented the courage of the Catalan people under the repression of Spanish state forces to vote on the 1 October. While the workshop ran guest DJs played tunes. The period of Disorganisation was a relaxing time and included many political discussion around the table.
Building of dreams– in this act the live synthesized music of Jonas Langer began this indicated the real beginning of the performance. Jonas sounds started as simple ambiance but was from this point ever present in creating all the moods of the whole performance. Then the sounds of percussion on stone was introduced by Rob MacDonald. Rob carved stone in time to the music and played an unique percussion on a stone drum kit. The final layer was added by a film of historical clips of the Russian revolution created by Tash McCammon that create the backdrop to the performance. This set the scene perfectly for the first Audience participation of the evening the adding of the leafs from the ballot box to the revolutionary tree.
Conflict of organization– in this act of 4 parts Shawn Tarver and Jaime Latre dance performance gave a narrative to illustrate the struggle of ideas needed to create a revolution. Their section was named dialect of movement.
Central to our theme was the rights to self determination and the true ideas of Leninism. These ideas are central to the discussions on the left in this epoch not just in the Spanish state but across the world. A correct understanding of this issue was central to the success of the Russian revolution and the fight for socialism as it will be in the Spanish state
They utilised their individual styles of Popping and Breakdance to illustrate not only the conflict of ideas but the need for a common programme and the need for unity to win the masses in struggle. They used combat and the style of ciphers to create amazing energy and emotion in the task to win the audience/masses to revolution.
Photos Mahyar Sadr
Revolution– this act in the performance was everyone playing to their full energy. It includes having the whole audience involved being led by the dancers. We had previously discussed that audience participation here was key to the revolution and therefore the whole performance. With great relief we achieved this.
photos Mahyar Sadr
Counter revolution. To represent the painful, and often inevitable period of counter revolution, we changed the atmosphere of the performance for this section. Our dancers stopped and returned the audience to their seats, the music became dark and a sculpture of Stalin was placed on the now empty stage. This for us symbolised the betrayal and defeat that can affect revolution.
Rob, representing the working man struggling to find a way to overcome the counter revolutionary forces, began to interact with the sculpture. With a Ice pick he defaced Stalinist image in time to the beat of the music this literally caused sparks to come from the stone, then with a heavy mallet Stalin was smashed and lead to the rebirth of the revolution.
Rebirth – the performance erupted again into another revolution, this time the audience were given percussion items to join in the music in the way of a cassolada. A traditional method of protest in Catalonia.
Photos Mahyar Sadr
We were excited that the revolutionary movement around us at present and the deep lessons of the Russian revolution were mixed into what was an experimental performance with audience participation. The process of creating this work was learning the Art of Insurrection useful for the stage and the street.
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More Photos by Tash McCammon (if you share please credit Artist)
More photos Mahyar Sadr (if you share please credit Artist)
photos by Badart