Temporary National Theatre
a continous statement (under construction)


Possible Headlines:
A Map To Get Lost
Feedback Loop
House of the People
Text and Law
District 9

They had asked me: Tell us ”just exactly” what happened. – A story? I began: I am not learned; I am not ignorant. I have known joys. That is saying too little. I told them the whole story and they listened, it seems to me, with interest, at least in the beginning. But the end was a surprise to all of us. ”That was the beginning, ” they said. ”Now get down to the facts.” How so? The story was over!

Maurice Blanchot, The Madness of the Day

A National Scene can be understood as a sort of circular movement, where the institutions Theatre and Architecture are attracting each others spheres of power. Using the concept of the Monument the institutions perform a manifestation of our culture as permanence. We understand this as an arrogance towards any given alternatives.

Our objective is not autonomy in relation to the organisation of the institution. We fully accept that our position is within the system. We work our way towards the middle to make visible and activate the potential of the institution to create alternatives – not necessarily in reality, but in the shape of a multitude of parallell virtualities.

In the poem The Hunting of the Snark from 1874 Lewis Carroll writes about a hunting party that sets out to catch the enigmatic Snark - a creature that can only be found by navigating from a blank chart. This nonsense poem manages to convey the score for a true adventure. Only by allowing ourselves to let go of convention can something unknown be revealed, only when we are lost can true adventure take place.

We do not constitute a collective; we also have no wish to do so. We understand TNT as an organisation with the objective to create an ”aswell”.

TNT is a field rather than a path. The field should present a multitude complex enough to make comparison impossible; thereby we aim to defy the hierarchic tradition of dominant quality criteria.

National institutions are good at creating paths, but bad at creating fields. Our first task therefore is to insist on building weak systems; i.e. there isn´t any ”us”. Weak fields constitute a high risk, but innovations can only be found in landscapes where there are no paths.

We wish to direct our capacity and knowledge towards the act of diffusion and destabilization of the institution Det Kongelige Teater – both as architecture and theatre – until the field has turned so weak that it becomes possible for us to get lost.

Every dog has like me the impulse to question, and I have like every dog the impulse not to answer.

Franz Kafka

The potentiality, the not-expressed, can never appear through expression, only as virtuality. In other words, that what happens when we start to imagine what could happen since we don´t know what will happen.

Everyone has the right to say both "yes" and "no".

In music interpretation is not about bringing to life a ”complete” tone, structure or meaning. Rather it deals with a sound-becoming as such. This sound-becoming in turn constitutes a listening. The enigmatic power of music lies exactly in the fact that there is not first a sound and then a listening. The sound is the listening in the same way that the lightning bolt only exists in the lightning.

Marcia Sá Cavalcante Schuback, Eulogy to Nothingness

The illusion of totality and survey that I create with the tools and stilistic utensils I have to my disposal, moulds the world in a shape that I don´t believe in – neither in reality nor in art. The form of the genre in itself creates a content I regard as a lie.

Reality is built upon contradictions; souvereign power has he who lets his perspective become directive and glue. TNT, in this context, can be understood as a solvent.

Economy acts through the media of Money. It operates with numbers. Politics act through the media of Language. It operates with words - with arguments, programmes and resolutions. The communistic revolution meant the transcription of society from the media of money to the media of language. It was a linguistic turn of the level where the society has its practice. (...)
In capitalism, the ultimate confirmation is not linguistic, but economic - it is not expressed in words, but in numbers. That way the language is deprived of its power. (...)
We must therefore first change society, by transcribing it into language, to then be able to criticize it in a meaningful way.

Boris Groys, Das Kommunistische Postscriptum


What are the peculiarities of theatre? Many a book has borne the title “The Art of Theatre”, but it usually contains information about technical things, about representation of texts and acting. Temporary National Theatre, too, is an “art of theatre”, but it treats, not delivery but ways of behaving. It does not ask “what is this about?” but “what does it do?” It is thus essentially functional and behaviouristic. TNT takes an interest not only in the presentation of text but in the whole environment that we understand as theatre. -"Theatre as an art is finger-painting compared to theatre as an art of environment."

In Kafka’s unfinished novel The Man How Disappeared, published posthumous as Amerika in 1928, we come to visit a familiar and still somewhat uncanny place. Tiny aero planes shearing through the sky above a 100 000 seat sport stadium, brass bands playing in illuminated hotel foyers, an Italian delegation outside La Guardia immigration hall all wearing cowboy boots. A whole universe of impressions of a world never visited. America was at the time Kafka wrote about it still understood as a mythical place in Europe, embraced as a land of dreams and promise. Close and simultaneous but just out of reach, mediated through gossip, speculation, images, stories, movies, posters and whispers. Imagine if those sort of places still existed, if there were still these unchartered territories were dreaming was not just understood as something childlike and naive. Today we witness how such places, such islands of potential, are continually shrinking, becoming more and more inscribed in a increasingly tighter and tighter network of protocols and economic strategies. In this project for a Temporary National Theatre we can share an idea of resistance, not so much a revolution as a friendly invitation to say yes to the possibilities to get lost. This project is not so much about looking to the past to define what is national, but rather to seek little clearings were other futures are tangible.

An institution of neoliberal hegemony is consequently an institution that identifies with neoliberal ideas, openly articulating and systematically disseminating them in its activity. In other words, it is an apparatus of neoliberal hegemony. However, an institution under neoliberal hegemony does not necessarily affirm neoliberal ideas or possibly put them into practice. It may even despise or openly question them, but even if it fights against neoliberal hegemony, it cannot elude it. This hegemony determines the manner of its reproduction as an institution. It is in the nature of a hegemony that one cannot simply avoid it or voluntarily take up a position outside it. It is specifically because it defines its own outside that it is a hegemony. In this respect, and only in this respect, all institutions are neoliberal under neoliberal hegemony, even those that resist this hegemony.

Boris Buden, Is a Cooperation with Neoliberal Art Institutions Possible?

Remember those walls I built
Well, baby they're tumbling down
And they didn't even put up a fight
They didn't even make up a sound

Beyonce, Halo

What frightens me with this film, is its way to block my imagination with prefabricated images, clichés that I later probably never will get rid of. It is a way of grafting me with images to defy experience, to prevent me from experiencing anything. If you immediately transcribe music to images, then you will never reach into the structures of the music. I.e. you will experience it totally one-dimensional. A metaphor is never reducible, you can not shrink it to fit into one single signification, and these images of the Disney movie are so simple that they instantly turn allegoric, i.e. can get reduced to a meaning.

Heiner Müller, on Disney´s Fantasia

to be continued...