Fluid Horizons is the creation of Croatian performer Morana Novosel, winner of the 2023 Site-specific Performance call, and the lack of secure horizons seems to afflict the existence of the spectators as well, theirs, ours; a condition in which we seek to find shreds of meaning in the deflagration that has put a distance between us and the Other.
If it is true that happiness lies elsewhere, as Chekhov suggested, in the climate of misunderstandings and failings in today’s communication, Novosel revolutionises the premise of performance by engaging the spectator, at this point a prostrate user of aesthetics with the same attitude – passive, overwhelmed – imposed by streaming entertainment platforms, to take upon himself the role of director of a cultural reflection by becoming a performer himself, the audience, with a revealed force that is the close relative of a psychoanalytical process of awareness; an unfinished, rugged path, made fragile by human uncertainty and its hesitant attempts at direction.
Recorded voices, sound sources, shreds of notes, keys to press on the telephone: suggestions, fragments of a rudder to attempt to recompose the pieces of a puzzle that don’t fit together. Wars, pandemics, ignorance, and a cowardly lack of interest for what lies beyond our personal boundaries, have turned us into spectators attentive to an imposed form; Morana Novosel slaps us with her theatrical device that forces us into action.
The spectators, left in the limbo of a jumble of sources, observe one another in the action of appropriating other spectators; in this fossil riptide of literary hints, the speleological attitude of the audience conveys a pattern of meanings that expands depending on the aggregations dictated by the transhumance underway.
Novosel thus seems to be uninterested in storytelling in the well-known sense of the term, but in a synchronisation of events, like a mathematical formula that finds continuous reactions; the artist thus places us in an almost divine condition, choosing events and giving them meaning.
We have tried to govern the world, to act as the administrators of a superior divinity but we have failed; we watch unperturbed, unaware of the destruction we ourselves have incurred.
What is therefore an appropriate epitaph for a civilisation?
Novosel uses the city of Venice to mourn the loss of humanity; climate change, sea level rise, greenhouse gasses and global warming are dragging this humanity so serene in its deafness towards a renewed concept of Atlantis.
Perhaps Novosel’s encampment of communication devices will arise as an expanse of sunken treasure, to tell us what we had become, testifying to man’s future: the end of civilisation is not the end of the world; the loss of our communication habitat has turned us into distrustful molluscs. Morana Novosel’s performance restores the residual capacities we can throw back into the fray towards a human revolution.