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Tomaž P. alienated brand

Tomaž P. alienated brand

This blog was written on the occasion of Tomaž Pandur’s Funeral on April 17, 2016. Everyone who knew Tomaž was there. I was not. I could have been, for I had nothing important to do on that day. Or not so: I had to pay a memetic tribute to Tomaž. Why memetic and not physical? I tried to explain then, and I think it is even more important today. For that reason, I have not changed a word.

Memento from 2016

When writing this post, funeral ceremonies for Tomaž Pandur take place 130 km from my computer, cats, and breeze outside. Not a distance I could not take on a day that I have nothing to do, but write. For a friend that was so close that I could perhaps become a real friend, but at the same time, too much from another space that I would dare to approach.

I first met Tomaž in 1987, producing his Totenfloss (Harald Mueller) performance in Cankarjev dom in coproduction with Ljubljana Academy for theater film radio and TV (AGRFTV).  5 years older only than Tomaž I only had an opportunity to secure funds for the construction of quite complicated floating raft that served as a stage resembling Géricault The Raft of the Medusa painting. Not much later, my Cankarjev dom coproduced Tomaž first internationally acclaimed Šeherezada with Mladinsko T eater. Securing funds was not such a big deal in times when being commercial was something a decent artist would never dare even to think about.

I was not such a big fan of Tomaž then. I have recently introduced Flemish theater aesthetics in Slovenia with Jan Fabre, Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, and Wim Vandekeybus. I would very much like to invite Bob Wilson for that same reason, but Wilson was out of my budget reach. Even though it was not my type of theater Tomaž did, I never really understood quite the harsh resentments that most Slovenian theater inner circles had against him from the beginning. Regardless of the international success Tomaž gained from the very beginning, this resentment grew until he was quite soon expelled from Slovenia for many, many years. And even after my good friend Darko Brlek, spiritus agens of Ljubljanafestival, brought him back, reactions from the intellectual elite were reluctant, while the lay audience loved him from the very beginning. I never could explain myself this until…

Until I read an obituary from Dragan Živadinov today. Not for what he wrote but for who wrote it.  I suddenly realized that both Tomaž and Dragan made/make a theatre of ab olute. They produce anti-modernist, anti-relativistic statements all the time. They fight against the “small people” ideology that we are all equal, that some undefined naturalistic forces play with us, and that “it doesn’t matter” since everything is relative and each and everyone can become a president of the United States. They show us each in a completely different theater language, but the ideology behind it is the same: it DOES MATTER. They show us that we have different capabilities and that we should praise values that are important and disregard unimportant ones; that our role model should not be “average common” to whom we should devote all our public funds to equalize with better than, but those that have! Those who have the power, wisdom, and sense of beauty to add value. They show us that our role model should be 1% and not 99%, those who have and not those who do not. That 1% are prime movers and not second-handers. Those that, in exchange for values, bring in more than they take.

In the (western) world, which, for the last 100 years, was dominated by an intellectual elite that praised egalitarianism, relativism of values, and subjectivism, there is not much place for Tomaž, not for Dragan, since they went/go for ab olute. They go for real heroes, so in that sense, they are purely romantic. Faust, Dante, Tesla, Herman Noordung Potočnik, and the Universe… are heroes that average-minded get afraid of.

There are brands that are not understood because there is nothing much to understand. Such brands can have commercial success or not—who cares! There are brands that are too soon and can thus not be evaluated on the market despite being ingenious. And there are brands that are misunderstood and reluctantly appreciated. Tomaž is such an alienated brand.

This was my ceremony for Tomaž. Memetic ceremony.

p.s.

Years later, Artsy.net contacted me. Their mission is to make art more accessible. What a strange but positive coincidence.

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