In the wake of performing Mythos of Company in 2020, we now ask: how is it possible, in “1 AD” of this new epoch, to gather once more in the museum and the theater? After all, we artists have encountered newfound pleasures during this temporary collapse of the cultural industry. At the same time, public and liberal forms of becoming an audience still provoke great anxiety, as they are unstable, resting on statistics and dubious politics.
Truth be told, if one thinks rational thoughts of the future of the crowd one sees a worn out assembly of refugees, fleeing from coastal cities or burning forests.
The once sacred image of the public gathering around the work of a lone genius artist – an almost pure and super perfect rendering of the liberal idea – has lost its potency. Artists have retreated into their packs to reimagine culture, to dream up new fantasies and set a new agenda - the future, wherein the art world no longer serves the wealthy nor the state. The smokescreen fades away: what’s left is the very real desire for art to ceremoniously carry the present. Letting go of the idea of art representing trumped up democratic ideals of self fulfilment or personal safety, and allowing spaces of survival, radical thought and spiritual virtues to be reinvigorated and reborn. In times of crisis, it is easier to sense the aspiration of the avant-garde to demolish the autonomy of art, as finally, the continuation of the art world consolidates with the continuation of the human race.
And so, towards the festival, we were called for rehearsing modes of Ekklēsia itself. Emboldened by the guiding principle of “BeCompanying,” rehearsing Ekklēsia entails research, practice and orientation – all directing us to imbue belief and fidelity to the art world. Rehearsing Ekklēsia suggests one should perform and realize various radical, intimate and imaginative possibilities that exist in the union of the artistic act and its audience so that we can manifest a shared culture. Rehearsing Ekklēsia proposes that any formation of an audience ought to linger in the utterances and vanities of our fleeting existence as the biblical Ecclesiastes suggests. Now, we may begin to imagine an audience gathering in the light of our finitude “under the sun.” We therefore let sadness soak our presence, allowing our existential communal nature to saturate and delineate the artistic event. You, the audience, are also requested to rehearse Ekklēsia and unearth an updated contract with the art world, one that celebrates the style of singularity that Ecclesiastes proposes, and at the same time the gathering that should always feel like a festival: diving into rehearsals of the coming together itself.