Conference of the Absent
by Rimini Protokoll
Conceived, written, and directed by Helgard Haug, Stefan Kaegi, Daniel Wetzel
Co-production with Rimini-Apparat, Staatsschauspiel Dresden, HAU Hebbel am Ufer (Berlin) and the Goethe-Institut
There is a crisis! And in times of global crisis, global cooperation is key. On behalf of the world, the crisis is handled locally this time: at a conference that no one needs to book a flight or mount a train for. This is a performance to which the invited experts and speakers do not appear physically, but are represented by local people who only receive their script at the beginning of their presentation. In “Conference of the Absent,” the audience observes people from their own city as they take on the identity of an absent conference speaker. Completely without carbon emissions and bad Skype connections, but with all the performative means of the theater, the contradicting contributions on the consequences of globalization will be delivered into the theater space – and settled within it. The advantage of not being there – not having to be everywhere at once – becomes playful interaction that can be experienced afresh every evening. At the center of this game are people who become carriers of ideas. They acquire biographies of experts as well as their thoughts in a ludic fashion. In this way, absence becomes an added value because it creates space for new and unexpected perspectives. Behind the scenes, Rimini Protokoll operate as ghostwriters and speechwriters, co-authors and directors who turn documentary co-authorship into remote directing.
The concept creation was funded by Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung.