NAVINKI 2000 - 2ND INTERNATIONAL PERFORMANCE FESTIVAL
Minsk, Belarus 8-11 September, 2000.
By Denis Romanovski
The festival was conducted by the Association for Contemporary Art in partnership and support of OSI, PRO HELVETIA Reseaux Est-Ouest, under the auspices of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, the Polish Institute in Minsk, the Goethe Institute in Minsk, the Swedish Institute, the embassy of Lithuanian Republic, and also with thanks to Wladyslaw Kazmierczak (Castle of Imagination performance festival in Poland) and CRAC. As the previous Navinki99, this festival was not supported by any Belarusian state institution. The festival spaces were the Pall Mall club, The Centre for youth creativity, and a site of ancient settlement -- Gorodische (5 km from Minsk). The thirty-three participants were from Poland, Germany, Spain, Ireland, Sweden, Finland, Japan, Czech Republic, Lithuania and Belarus. The curators of the festival were Victor Petrov and Denis Romanovski.
We suppose that the Navinki performance festival is currently the most impressive event in contemporary-art-life in Belarus. That was proved by a real interest in two festivals: Navinki99 and Navinki2000. Last year and this year, more than 20 articles were published in the press and local TV and radio broadcasts dedicated some of their programs to the festival. Most of the publications show lots of misunderstandings, nevertheless this is a big step to involve Belarusian mass media in contemporary art-life. Performance art in Belarus began in the middle of the 80s. Until recently, it was mostly out of mass attention and understanding of its self-dependent significance as art. Even now, we often encounter the same opinion of the authorities, and it still exists as unofficial art in spite of the great support from audiences and artists. Here, performance remains the most free form of art and has a strong attractive power in the conditions of the Belarus situation. With a financial scantiness and an
absence of independence from gallery pressure, the unspoken energy of art comes out in performance. Certainly, it's not just sublimation. It also deals with deep and fast changes (up and down, back and forward) in different spheres that brings, so to say, "inner carnival", and that's not only the artists' privilege to feel. On the other hand, by organising international festivals here, we're contributing to the creative atmosphere (the art environment) which is seriously damaged by mass emigration of artists, a depressive loss of possibilities and contacts. And this is one of the most important strategies of the Association for Contemporary Art, along with developing art infrastructure and international partnership here in Belarus.
Navinki2000. Performance festival homepage.
The first announcement was made to release who's coming to the festival and describe the program, since these are the most frequent questions asked by participants, journalists, and visitors. Then, to provide information about the participants, we linked to artists' homepages and web-publications, as well as to other festivals and performers networks. Certainly, having the homepage allows the festival catalogue and articles to be kept online and also overcomes the limitations of printed catalogue issues. Festival is a very important form of performance existence as art. If one looks at the performance festivals map, one can see performers both organising and participating in festivals. This kind of connection has existed for many years and is based mainly on the event as a meeting, the event as a contact. It's not a closed network, but rather depends on personal acquaintance. The Web-based networks of these artists and performance festival homepages could not reflect performance art completely, but could bring its connection idea. Actually, attempts to transmit or to document performance art have failed because every other media actualises its own kind of event. For example, a performance event is not symmetrical, it's escaping conventions and symmetry: even repeating the action, you are making another performance. On the contrary, the Web is symmetrical links, or text is symmetrical relatively to publishing and copying video and photos. That's why a performance festival homepage is created mainly not as documentation or as a catalogue, but as connections site. It should not be a dead-end. And it could be a wonderful opportunity to grasp the idea of a performance, at least, the nature of performance, passing by from one festival site to another, from one person to another. This spindle travelling deals more with performance terms, the terms that could started long before you see a performance. In this way, the very simple idea of a performance festival homepage as an information medium turned to the task of integrating with and developing net structure.