what does the absence of a cultural center mean to ıts ınhabıtants?*
Not only but there are two common characteristics of these theatres that Atatürk Kültür Merkezi and Festspielhaus HELLERAU are both cultural centers and they were out of operation for some time. I will not copy-paste any information here where you can easily reach through the internet search but I suggest diving into the information there to know the history more deeply. Both the past of the buildings and the current institutional treatments are very unique and revolutionary, as well as absurd too.
My intention is here to focus on and think about how the absence of a theatre affects its inhabitants?
At the age of 15 and 17, I performed in AKM as a student, then the theatre became abandoned in 2008. Not only as an artist afterward, but as a part of the public sphere, I wonder what people really think about to be deprived of culture. Thirteen years now the biggest opera house in my hometown doesn't exist anymore. We all used to be part of it by seeing, observing, performing and criticizing.
What does it mean to not jump into the Festspielhaus HELLERAU's garden for its inhabitants for years and years too? For some reason, the place wasn't closed but has been not acting as a cultural center between 1939 until 1990thies. In the nineties, many artists and cultural activists took back the building -which was quite destroyed at that time- to keep it as a cultural venue and gave lots of effort to re-open it. These endeavors lead to its opening in 2004 as HELLERAU - European Center for the Arts.
And as a dancer, these thoughts arise from both the embodied experience of space/public space and need of it.
A small contribution from a local artist.
I'm always interested in performing the memory in different forms and contexts and trying to find ways of bringing them into the present. Since I've been here in Hellerau for several months I wanted to use the form of "twin cities" to bring the past into the present. It's interesting that I'm experiencing the Festspielhaus HELLERAU in a pandemic situation, Where I look out of my window every day, and theatre is closed. It's apart from its audiences.
I wonder and dream about the random possibilities that had been missing in these thirteen years. Seeing a cultural center as a place of togetherness, the reflection of AKM's thirteen years of absence can also lead us to the current situation.
I hope this way of knowing cultural practices and events that have been around a place does help us to question how to keep, transform, or make these places alive.
As you can read in Rachel Hann's article "Hellerau Returned", she is mentioning the relation between Adolphe Appia, the theatre's architect, stage and light designer, and choreographer William Forsythe and their intention about the continuity and transformation of the vision they created for the house.
I'm mentioning this kind of availability of transference of knowledge, that we need to open between people. I don't speak about the necessity of the traditions or legacies that have to be transmitted to present but about reflections of them.
What kind of theatres for tomorrow?
The theatres gather people and bring them together, there are millions of possibilities there. Places of encounter, contemplation, unity, criticism...