The German collective Ligna brings to the stage a vision, a possible European History that never took place.
In August 1914 a congress of the Second Socialist International was planned in Vienna with the aim of reacting to a possible start of the Great War with a general strike, which would hopefully collapse the infrastructure of the countries involved and prevent the start of the conflict. The congress and the strike never took place. The speeches and speeches of the participants in the congress had already been written, the requests for permission formulated and submitted, but the war anticipated and cancelled their implementation.
On the occasion of the centenary of the First World War, The Great Refusal explores the individual and collective possibilities of refusal through the re-enactment of a story that never took place and whose end is unknown.
The audience is invited to take part in a historical fiction: the congress of the Socialist International will take place in Milan, opening up a parallel universe in which war is questioned as an unavoidable destiny. Everyone will be confronted with a series of ‘resistance exercises’, a training of individual and collective poses and gestures of rejection.
Il grande rifiuto is the result of a series of research residencies in Bolzano, Bologna, Genoa and Reggio Emilia that took place in April 2015.
Creation Ole Frahm, Michael Hueners and Torsten Michaelsen; artistic coordination and Italian production: Elena Basteri; Emanuele Guidi; Elisa Ricci Co-production partners: ar/ge kunst Bolzano / Bozen; Festival Transart Bolzano / Bozen; Santarcangelo 2015 Festival Internazionale del Teatro in Piazza 45th Edition; On; Fondazione Luzzati – Teatro della Tosse; Terni Festival Internazionale della Creazione Contemporanea / Teatro Stabile dell´Umbria. Supported by: Goethe – Institut Genua; Goethe – Institut Mailand; Nationales Performance Netz (NPN) International Guest Performance Fund for Dance. Support for the residency programme: Goethe – Institut
The LIGNA collective has existed since 1997 and is made up of artists Ole Frahm, Michael Hueners and Torsten Michaelsen, who began working at Freies Sender Kombinat (FSK), a non-profit public radio station in Hamburg, in the early 1990s. Since 2002 their work has focused on creating ephemeral situations that involve the audience as an active group, a combination that produces unpredictable and uncontrollable effects that challenge the management of space. One of the examples of LIGNA’s use of media is Radio Ballet (2002), in which radio listeners are offered a choreography of forbidden gestures in places that previously seemed public and are now under control, such as stations or shopping centres. Other projects such as The new Man (2008) or Oedipus (2010) question the space of theatre as an apparatus that shapes subjectivity. The latest works The last Commune or Secret Radio (both 2014) instead invite participants to stage complex interactions in a public space that only gradually reveals itself as such.
“Supported by the Nationales Performance Netz (NPN) International Guest Performance Fund for Dance, which is funded by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media on the basis of a decision made by the German Bundestag.”