“Can you see what I mean?”

Finn Iunker, Oslo National Academy of the Arts, Academy of Theatre

My project seeks to research the possibilities of a re-politicization of art, in my case the play. Modern works of art should be closer to society than it has been in the previous decades, and while the traditional political art seems to stand quite alone on the far left, I want to bring matters more into the centre of the political spectrum, where most of us seem to belong. My investigation will be thematicallty a triptych, exploring – through the medium of a theatre play – (1) malpractice of justice in Norway in the period 2004–2014, (2) theatre for the visually impaired and (3) the international textile industry and the way consumers think – or disregard – the way garments are produced.

The project will explore these themes with the frame of documentary theatre but with the method of modern investigating journalism. This means getting to know what already is known (through traditional reading), getting closer to the questions through interviews and to formulate and afterwards test hypoteses through aesthetic experiments.

I have spent all of my adult years experimenting with different forms of writing, inside and outside of the scope of modern theatre, from classical plays via plays for children to epic stories (prose) and a PhD thesis on Brecht in German. I now feel the time is ripe for investigating into how art – in my case a play – can be more relevant for the common man and woman, and I want to see if a more commonsensically based political attitude can be valuable for the making of plays more in keeping with commonly shared political views. While traditional political art may criticize capitalism and US imperialism from the far left, I want to bring matters closer to the concerns of the «common man».

Of course, I hope that my investigations will have an impact on future artistic research – and of course I hope that my findings will also have an impact on political issues.

My main artistic and academic references must, as I see it, be kept apart. My academic interests are the history and theory of drama on the one hand and Brecht on the other. Writing a PhD thesis has also made me extremely allergic to empty academic jargon, found e.g. in Rancière, Bondy, Agamben together with Kristeva, Derrida, Foucault, Latour and the like. Thinking clearly and jargon-free is very dear to me. My basic artistic references are basically Belgian theatre and German literature. So far I haven’t cared much for documentary theatre and plays, but I see now the relevance of e.g. plays by Peter Weiss and performances by Rimini Protocol.