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Recording: 2018-11-22 , Sophiensæle (Video © Walter Bickmann)

Clément Layes, Public in Private

The Emergency Artist


Production Details / Press Releases

ON 1 MAY 1968, 150 students and artists occupied a university building in Paris. This was the starting point for May 68, the legendary Parisian revolt in which students, workers and artists took the streets in a fight against the establishment. Rather than having a clear goal, the revolutionaries wanted to create a state of emergency in which tradition could be overturned. Fifty years later, the feeling of emergency has become omnipresent. We are in an eternal state of emergency. We constantly receive breaking news, informing us of crises that are happening all over the world and about the dire situation in which we are all together (global warming, pollution of the seas…). This feeling of emergency and precarity also marks our personal lives. We surf from project to project taking on different roles at the same time… All this without a sustainable context or clear back up. Are we, today, all becoming emergency artists, balancing on a cord without a safety net, always at risk of falling?

In The emergency artist: Five studies for the Emergency Clément Layes and a team of collaborators explore the constant state of emergency. Not simply to critique the contemporary situation, but rather to speculate on the possibility of a different relation to emergency; a relation that is not marked by immobility, fear and insecurity, but is able to turn the moment of falling/failing into a moment of creation.

STUDY #1 Under the pavement, the beach Upon entering the theatre the audience is confronted with the tortuous parcours of a maze. This detour brings about a state of inefficiency that allows for the experience of a different relation to space and time.

STUDY #2 My thoughts have been replaced by moving images The second study, combines three short video’s that all deal with the heritage of May 68. In these films Layes revisits the texts that where tagged on the walls during the revolution and explores how these slogans resonate with our contemporary society.

STUDY #3 Study for the emergency artist – part 1 Three performers are searching for the moment that comes before the fall, the split second during which we have to recalibrate our whole world. Here, we can no longer hold on to the projected future and have to feverishly start looking for new ways to relate to the changed situation.

STUDY #4 Study for the emergency artist – part 2 In the fourth study, we encounter the same performers doing the same actions. Only, now, they have become part of a larger group and are confronted with an overflow of information and input. This situation pushes them into a state of emergency, as they constantly have to deal with imbalance and disparity.

STUDY #5 Emergency exit

[Source: play bill]

TFB Nr. 1257

Cast & Credits

PERFORMANCE: Jonas Maria Droste, Dina Ekštjn, Steven Koglin, Florencia Martina, Ante Pavic, Ana Vnučec
SOUNDDESIGN: Steven Heather
LIGHTDESIGN: Ruth Waldeyer
STAGEDESIGN: Jonas Maria Droste, Clément Layes
VIDEO: Christopher Hewitt
DRAMATURGY: Jonas Rutgeerts
PRODUCTION: björn & björn

A production by Public in Private / Clément Layes in coproduction with Studio za suvremeni ples / Studio – Contemporary Dance Company Zagreb.
Funded by the Senatsverwaltung für Kultur und Europa.
With friendly support of Flutgraben e.V. und SOPHIENSÆLE.


Sophienstraße 18
10178 Berlin

Tickets: (030) 283 52 66

Video Documentation

The video documentation is produced on behalf of the Senate Department for Culture and Social Cohesion. The purpose of this contract is to document productions in the field of contemporary dance in Berlin. The master recordings are archived by the University Library of the Berlin University of Arts. Copies of the recordings on DVD are available for viewing exclusively in the reference collections of the following archives (at media desks in these institutions):

University Library of the Berlin University of Arts
Mediathek für Tanz und Theater des Internationalen Theaterinstituts / Mime Centrum Berlin
Inter-University Centre for Dance Berlin (HZT)

Clément Layes / Trailers and Video Documentations

Public in Private / Trailers and Video Documentations

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