What if? Is it possible to change History? In August 1914, a congress of the Second Socialist International was supposed to take place in Vienna with the objective of organizing a general strike to hinder the potential beginning of the Great War, with the intention of collapsing the infrastructures of the countries involved and thus preventing the conflict to begin. The congress and the strike never took place. The participant’s speeches and interventions had already been written and the permit requests had been transmitted, but the war began earlier than anticipated and none of the planned events ever came to pass. In the year of the hundredth anniversary of WWI, “Il grande rifiuto” focuses on individual and collective possibilities of refusal by re-enacting a story that never took place and thus without a true ending. The audience is invited to partake in a historical fiction: The congress of the Socialist International will take place in Terni, opening up a parallel universe where the war as an ineluctable destiny is called into question.
LIGNA is an artistic collective consisting of the media – and performance artists Ole Frahm, Michael Hueners and Torsten Michaelsen. Since 2002 their work devotes itself to creating ephemeral situations involving their audience as a collective of producers – an association that can produce unforeseeable, uncontrollable effects that challenge spacial organization. An example of LIGNA´s media usage, the Radio Ballet (invented in 2002), provides radio listeners with a choreography of excluded and forbidden gestures in formerly public, now privatized spaces like train stations or shopping malls. Others like The new Man (2008) or Oedipus(2010) question the space of theatre itself as an apparatus that shapes subjectivity. It’s more recent works like The last Commune or Secret Radio (both done in 2014) invite their participants to stage complex social interactions in a public space, which discloses itself as truly public only gradually, through their actions.