Performing Arts Forum (PAF) comes to London
with Jan Ritsema, Mårten Spångberg, Bojana Cvejić and Jonathan Burrows
On 28-29 March 2015, Independent Dance, in collaboration with Siobhan Davies Dance, hosted the Performing Arts Forum (PAF) in London – this was the first time that this unique environment had come to the UK.
PAF, based in St Erme, northern France, was set up by Dutch theatre maker and performer Jan Ritsema in 2006, as a place of self-organised exchange and study for anyone working in the performing arts, visual arts, literature, new media and internet, theory and cultural production and science.
Located in a former convent, PAF has become a vital focus for many people across the world, providing a space where a younger generation, often excluded from the crowded global art market, can develop and distribute their work. 750 people pass through PAF each year, working on their own practices and taking part in bi-annual meetings. There are three rules in PAF: don’t leave traces, make it possible for others and the do-er decides.
People from the UK are slowly finding their way to this oasis of artistic activism and thought, but London remains in many ways out of the loop. Choreographer Jonathan Burrows and Independent Dance conspired therefore to invite the three main founders, Jan Ritsema, Mårten Spångberg and Bojana Cvejić, to occupy the Siobhan Davies Studios for two days in March 2015, with a cast of 90 participants.
This gathering was not a workshop but a place of open exchange, accessible to students as well as teachers, cultural leaders, curators, commentators, academics and artists of all persuasions.
PAF has three rules
1. Don’t leave traces
2. Make it possible for others
3. The do-er decides
PAF has three principles
1. Reversibility: The things in PAF ( whether they are objects, subjects or institutions/organisations) are there for you and you are there for the things as well. I.e. PAF or the coffee machine, the other or a corridor is there for you as much as you are there for PAF or the coffee machine, for the other or the corridor.
2. Exchange. Of whatever: knowledge, machines, expertise, spaces, times, things.
3. Liquidity. You are kindly invited to make fluid what is fixed, whether this concerns your mental (I am like this) or your material property.
PAF has three ‘no’s
These apply to the residential home context of PAF in St. Erme, and are listed here for context only; they underline that PAF wants to be a production place, not a social or leisure one.
1. No partners (unless the partner has a project to work on)
2. No animals
3. No kids