8 December 2008–6 February 2009 / Casco HQ
Opening: Wednesday 10 December 2009, 18:00
Generale Staten (General States) revolves around the story of a quarantined town in the middle of an as yet unidentifiable, virulent and deadly pandemic. This story was played in the form of a physical game by a group of recruited participants. During the preparatory workshop and subsequent performance, the participants actively shaped the game as a collaborative and performative inquiry into the organization of power, imagined and enacted from different points of view, including authorities, individuals and unlabelled collectives. The result is recomposed and presented at Casco, accompanied by a “game manual” that is also distributed in the city, anticipating its replay.
Referencing the “Staten-Generaal,” an assembly of representatives of the Dutch provinces that became the parliament of the new Dutch Republic in the late 16th century, Generale Staten (General States) proposes to rethink the power of gatherings, meetings and communality from the bottom, particularly under the threat of an invisible danger that could contaminate and affect anyone, any social organ. Instead of being fully scripted, the game is designed with a rudimentary storyline, a minimal set of rules and a stripped-down setting, which serve as tools for the players to exchange and negotiate their different “states” – psychological, ideological, intellectual, physical – as they are gradually transformed during the play. Operating within a loose structure that allows a new temporary reality to be imagined and practiced, the players become active performers who double as citizens, acting and making decisions for the forms of their co-existence, breaking the borders between reality and fiction, between playfulness and seriousness and between pain and joy.