From 4 June until 27 November, the new work Supposing I love you. And you also love me by Wendelien van Oldenborgh is on show at the Danish Pavilion of the 54th Venice Biennale. The work is co-commissioned by If I Can’t Dance and functions as a prologue to the new project by van Oldenborgh that If I Can’t Dance will present in fall 2011.
To ‘act’ is related to the classical notion of Action in the way that Hannah Arendt has re-visited it in her 1958 book The Human Condition. Action, as one of the classical subdivisions of human experience into Labor, Work and Action, is immediately meant as the political, defined by the fact that it involves, to use the words of Arendt, “the presence of others”. When thoughts are expressed between people in the public sphere, we are in the realm of Action. Some voices, however, can be heard more actively than others, and will have more resonance. In the Netherlands, which is an open and democratic society such as other Northern European examples where censorship is not a governmental policy to silence the opposition, inconvenient voices are cut short by the way other forces in society react to them.
Supposing I love you. And you also love me is a montage of still images with dialogue. The work brings the voice of the Swiss-Egyptian philosopher Tariq Ramadan in exchange with a group of five young adults from Belgium and the Netherlands, against the background of a ‘de Stijl’ inspired broadcast building by Dutch architect and friend of Gerrit Rietveld, Piet Elling. Set up as an polyphonic mini-tragedy, with unrehearsed forms of performance and speech as the building stones in the argument, the youngsters act as the chorus in a playful interchange with the notions that are brought to the foreground by Tariq Ramadan. He shares his thoughts on diversity, fear and conflict and his short-lived engagement in the city of Rotterdam. The cast’s own experience and forms of expression and knowledge are guiding the script, whilst they address each other and the public.
With: Tariq Ramadan, Hanane Driouchgril, Alberto Mvila, Annye de Santos, Ahmed Chouyouhi, Janne van Eynde. Filmed on location in Muziek Centrum voor de Omroep, Hilversum (NL) and Royal College of Art, London (UK). Camera: Ben de Wandel, Sound: Jan Samson and Rob Entwistle. M-Objects programming: Ludo Engels.
The work is co-commissioned by the Danish Arts Council, If I Can’t Dance, I Don’t Want To Be Part Of Your Revolution, and Wilfried Lentz, with the support of the Culture Programme of the European Union, Flamin, and the Mondriaan Foundation.