MILAN LOVIŠKA

Milan Loviška

Slovak artist based in Vienna. His work focuses on areas of art related to human body and movement – dance theatre, performance and multimedia art. As a choreographer and a graduate in psychology and philosophy, he strives to place his work in a profound and multidimensional context. His art expresses eternal human dilemmas, such as egoism and individual as well as social limitations. His inspiration are contemporary issues, pop culture and industrialization phenomena and their influence on human behavior. However, the focal point of his projects is always human beings with their problems and continuous confrontations with complex everyday reality. The aim of Loviška’s residency in Poland is to get to know new places and exchange intercultural experiences. During his stay in Poznan, he would like to simultaneously work on the individual project and collaborate with other artists, including those not directly connected to drama and dance. He hopes the artistic cooperation will offer him a chance to go beyond the limits of his own specialization and discover new aspects of visual art. Loviška hopes to put up in Poznan one of his choreographic projects, which will examine the social and mythogenic aspect of death.

Body of work

Milan Loviška graduated from the Faculty of Psychology at the Masaryk University in Brno, and from the Faculty of Psychology at the Charles University in Prague in Art and Philosophy. He studied dance at Duncan Centre Conservatory in Prague (Modern Dance and Dance Theatre) and at the School for New Dance Development (SNDO), De Theaterschool, Amsterdamse Hogeschool voor Kunsten (AHK), Amsterdam, the Netherlands. He mastered several dancing techniques, including the Duncan technique, improvisation, folk dance, the Graham technique, classical dance, the Hawkins technique, modern and contemporary techniques, choreography, composition and others. Major art projects created and choreographed by Milan include:

  • „My Art: Who’s Frank?” – performed among other places at the Ponec Theater in Prague; the Mikro Hybaj ho! festival at Studio Alta, Prague; the Kiosk w Stanicy festival in Žilina, the Off Europa festival in Leipzig,
  • „Re-S.A.L.E. (Sporty Animal-Loving Extrovert)” – performed among other places at Studio Alta, Prague, produced by www.jedefrau.org, at the Nultý bod festival, Prague, at the „Happy Days” festival, Hradec Králové.

In 2008, Loviška won the Molitan Trophy– an audience award for a series of shows („My Art”, „My Art II: My Name is Frank”, „Spider”).

The Artist’s statement

I think all my choreographic projects are related to the widely defined current social, cultural and politic context. My project Re-S.A.L.E. is connected to human relationships and the way we treat, use and abuse others to achieve our selfish goals and needs. “My Art.: Who’s Frank?”reflects the way pop culture and consumerism influenced the personalities of contemporary people. The primary focus of my art is therefore to examine diverse psycho-social aspects of modern human behavior, including human perception as well as identifying and processing various stimuli and information which constantly surround us. My work often tackles the issue of various limitations which constrict us, the ways of coping with them and the opportunity to overcome them through becoming an active individual in society. As an artist, I don’t offer ready-made solutions. I rather try to ask questions and make space for the viewers to look for the answers. I’m inspired intellectually by my Psychology studies and artistically by film and the esthetics of visual arts, especially my studies at SNDO, where I have been confronted with many different ways of approaching contemporary drama and alternative art. Moreover, I look for new ideas and innovative forms, I examine various ways of movement and try to go beyond my own physical limitations. As far as theatre is concerned, I’m also fascinated by its formal aspect, its limits and various ways of appealing to the audience. I try to confront the viewers’ subjective expectations with a broader social context, attempting to show things we fail to notice in everyday haste. What I’m interested in the most are new creative impulses, intriguing ideas and possibilities of artistic collaboration, not only on projects related to dance and drama, but in a more general sense, as an interdisciplinary project reaching beyond the existing limits of art. I have a strong need to search for new ways of artistic expression and I welcome collaboration with other artists specializing in all kinds of art, which may make my works even more genuine and unique. I appreciate the potential of each human being, their skills, personalities and socio-cultural background, which bring energy to vtery collaboration. More precisely, I’m fascinated by the model of artistic cooperation which allows everyone involved to derive inspiration from the others’ experience and give them a part of themselves in return. I perceive an opportunity for an international collaboration as extremely important, because it is a chance to meet interesting people, develop as an artist, find out about new trends and gain a new perspective on art. I’m ready to use all my knowledge, ideas, energy, personality and experience to create the project and engage in international cooperation. Although I have a specific artistic vision, I’m open to discussion, offers and suggestions. I’d also like to create a space for each collaborator to express him- or herself as an artist. I’m ready to rediscover myself and present the results to the audience. I would be grateful if you would kindly consider my words and give me an opportunity to achieve my goals with all the professionalism, responsibility and humility I feel towards both art and life. Thank you very much, Yours faithfully, Milan Loviška.

The residential project – description

I would like my future project to delve into my current issue of interest, which is the social concept of death. I wish to create an artificial, almost clinical space, where the fear of dying and dreams of escaping death could be analyzed in details. To achieve this aim, I will use a phantomlike figure of a superhero, a symbol of immortality and “superstrong” existence. Superheroes are a projection of human dream about unlimited abilities and power. They epitomize unrestrained freedom, perfection in and of itself. However, my goal is not to examine the superhero as a savior, although this (pop)cultural aspect is interesting and should not be completely omitted. Still, I’m more interested in using the context to present a concept of weakness. Weakness, expressed as the superhero’s fear of death, is an inherent part of the superhero’s character construction; it’s what makes him more relatable. The possibility of surrendering to this weakness, which would mean surrender to death, poses several questions. Can a superhero die? Would his death be only physical or would it be also cultural? What are the consequences of the death of such a symbol? I’d like to present these reflections in the context of power and the dystopian idea of society, to determine at the same time whether superheroes should die. That’s because I’m fascinated by superheroes turning into antiheroes, who use his supernatural powers and control over others to harm the weak. It calls for an analysis of a superhero’s death in the context of his total transformation as well as the death of the symbolic imagery related to the character. These issues may be used as a context for contemporary homophobic social tendencies. Superheroes embody masculinity in its purest and perfect form. What may happen when this heteronormativity is destroyed? Will it provoke a reflection on the society’s lack of tolerance for otherness? What influence will the distorted order have on the audience? Can death be a form of punishment for unacceptable behavior? Or perhaps it becomes a kind of subversive social therapy? What are the consequences of a death, be it the death of a man, a superhero, a villain, an anti-hero or just a symbol? Is there another world, another state of (non)existence, or are we doomed to everlasting ruin both in life and death? The reason for my interest in superheroes is contemporary society’s fascination with superheroes as modern versions of gods. The film industry turns out a great number of such phantomlike figures in response to the human need to escape from reality into the world of imagination. Apart from the fact that the technological progress supports the development of the superhero genre, it should be noted that the current political, cultural and economic background boosts the interest in such productions. Living in a world of information overload, a world of technological development where systems of beliefs are being incessantly questioned and former idols and heroes fall, is making people more and more confused. Fantasy is a new religion, superheroes are the new gods and projection is a new form of penance. As an artist, I feel compelled and obliged to react to the artificial nature of the modern world and ita social and psychological consequences. My aim is not to object against the fantasy of supernatural perfection but to transfer the center of attention and responsibility form the superman back to man, from the world of dreams back into reality. We seem to have forgotten that all power is in our hands… Collaboration on the residence project: Costumes/Set design: Otto Krause (*1983) An Austrian set designer and costume designer working in Vienna. His career started in Volkstheater in Vienna, where he worked as an assistant for set and costume designers. In 2007, he began his studies at the University of Applied Arts Vienna in Set Design and Decoration under the guidance of Professor Bernhard Kleber. Since 2009, he has been designing decorations and costumes on his own for various independent operas, show and films in Austria. He worked as a set design assistant at The Schauspielhaus in Vienna and has started working as a personal assistant to Professor Kleber at the Burgtheater and The Akademietehater in Vienna. Since 2011 he has been working at Opernhaus in Zurich. In June 2011 he received a scholarship from the University of Applied Arts Vienna. Graphics/video-art, sound, light design: My plan for the project is to collaborate with local artists. It could be one person capable of handling all areas of performance art or a few of them specializing in a specific art form. Since I’d like to use 3D projection, I would be very glad to collaborate with an artist who has worked with laser technologies and has the necessary technical equipment. Should it be impossible, I would welcome collaboration with a person who specializes in visualizations seen as a complement to traditional set design. Of course, the end results will depend on many factors, including financial and technological resources as well as the nature of the Poznan art scene. The project is not a closed form; I’m open to all ideas. My aim is to work with local artists, therefore inviting Czech performers was not my priority.

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