Special Event Leader: Janez Janša
Everybody has a name. But what is a personal name? What is its role in the society? The personal name is a conventional label used by people to differentiate a specific individual from other individuals.
But, what happens when the personal name of a known public figure suddenly multiplies and starts to appear – locally and internationally – in contexts other than the original ones?
Does this multiplication lead to the “devaluation” of the original name or does it rather contribute to its popularity and dissemination?
In what way does the multiplication of a personal name render the communication confused and unstable? Is this having any “hacking effect” on it?
What does a personal name mean – in terms of brand – in our society? What kind of move is it for a public figure to give up his established brand and start his career anew, with a brand new name? Is it a marketing “suicide” or a smart move?
And finally: what would happen if we all have the same name?
Name Readymade is a project presentation dealing with a wide range of issues related to the “name changing” gesture perpetrated by three Slovenian artists who, in 2007, officially, and with all the papers and stamps required, changed their names and assumed the name of the Slovenian Prime Minister at the time, Janez Janša. Ever since, all their works, their private and public affairs – in a word, their whole life – have been conducted under this new name.
It is a parcours through different stages and aspects of the act of name changing and its consequences, including public, relational and intimate ones; it is an investigation of how, in western society, the concept of personal name coincides with (or differs from) the question of personal identity.
Bio of the Participant
Janez Janša is a conceptual artist, performer and producer from Slovenia. His work has a strong social connotation and is characterized by an inter-media approach. He is co-founder and director of Aksioma – Institute for Contemporary Art, Ljubljana and of Aksioma | Project Space.
His first public artistic project was the urban installation “I Need Money to Be an Artist”, which was presented first in Ljubljana, Slovenia (1996) and then in Venice, Italy. In 2001 he became President of the Management Board of “Problemarket.com – the Problem Stock Exchange”, a virtual platform on which shares of companies dealing with problems are floated. The following year Janša produced “machinaZOIS” an electromechanical patron that financially supports contemporary artists and artistic productions. Then he started the development of “DemoKino – Virtual Biopolitical Agora”, a virtual parliament that through topical film parables provides the voters with the opportunity to decide on issues that are becoming the essence of modern politics: the questions of life. In 2005 Janša established the platform “RE:akt!” that examines media's role in manipulating perceptions and creating (post)modern historical myths and contemporary mythology.
Parallelly to these socio-political projects Janša investigated the field of Virtual Reality and neurofeedback technologies.
Between 2000-2002 he developed and performed with Darij Kreuh “Brainscore – Incorporeal Communication”, a performance for two operators, which act in a virtual reality environment through their avatars and between 2004-2007 he led the project “Brainloop”, an interactive performance platform which allows a subject to navigate a virtual space merely by imagining specific motor commands.
Janez Janša is editor of the book “La Carta del Carnaro / The Charter of Carnaro” (Študentska Založba, 2009) and co-editor of the textual and pictorial reader “DemoKino – Virtual Biopolitical Agora” (with Ivana Ivković, Maska/Aksioma, 2005), of the book “NAME - Readymade” (with Janez Janša and Janez Janša, Museum of Modern Art Ljubljana/Revolver, 2008), “RE:akt! - Reconstruction, Re-enactment, Re-reporting” (with Antonio Caronia and Domenico Quaranta, FPeditions, 2009) and “Signature” (with Janez Janša and Janez Janša/ Aksioma and Koroška Gallery of Fine Arts).
Janez Janša is author, director and performer of interdisciplinary performances. He has studied sociology and theatre directing at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia and performance theory at the University of Antwerp, Belgium.
His pieces have been shown throughout the world a.o. WE ARE ALL MARLENE DIETRICH FOR – Performance for soldiers in peace-keeping missions (with Erna Omarsdottir), the reconstruction of the piece from 1969 – PUPILIJA, PAPA PUPILO AND THE PUPILCEKS (2006), SLOVENIAN NATIONAL THEATRE (2007) and THE MORE OF US THERE ARE, FASTER WE WILL REACH OUR GOAL (with Janša and Janša, 2010). He performed in the improvisation project At the Table curated by Meg Stuart and collaborated in projects by Tim Etchells and Boris Charmatz. The works by Janša contain strong critical dimension, reflect responsibility of performers and spectators and deal with the status of performance in neoliberal societies. His performances have been awarded at national and international festivals.
Janez Janša’s work includes also visual, media and performance art works. Among others are THE WAILING WALL, a tear donnor session, performative installation LIFE [IN PROGRESS], interdisciplinary artistic and research project THE FIRST WORLD CAMP (with Peter Šenk), interactive performance MISS MOBILE, and NAME READYMADE (with Janez Janša and Janez Janša). He regularly curates interdisciplinary workshops and he is the initiator of the organization P.E.A.C.E. - Peacekeepers' entertainment, art and cultural exchange (with Mare Bulc).
He has published numerous essays on contemporary theatre and art including the book on Flemish artist and theatre maker Jan Fabre (JAN FABRE - La Discipline du chaos, le chaos de la discipline, Armand Colin, Paris 1994; published in Dutch, Italian and Slovene as well). He has been editor in chief of the performing arts journal MASKA (1999-2006). He has edited a reader of contemporary theatre theories (PRESENCE, REPRESENTATION, THEATRICALITY, Maska, Ljubljana 1996), a reader of contemporary dance theories (THEORIES OF CONTEMPORARY DANCE, Maska, Ljubljana, 2001) and several other titles.
Since 1999 he is the director of Maska, non-profit organization in publishing, production and education, based in Ljubljana, Slovenia.