After 43 editions of the festival, this BITEF will be the first without a logo. We do not use the term ‘subject’ deliberately because, regardless of the logo, BITEF always has a subject or subjects, which more or less impose themselves since the art of theatre has always been inextricably linked with its social and political context and, whether consciously or not, has always responded to it. This decision is, in fact, a response to the curious situation in which BITEF has often found itself of late, namely the counting of productions suited or not to the chosen subject of the festival, frequently at the expense of a detailed assessment and analysis of those productions. This, at the outset hampers the opportunity for a serious and analytical professional discussion about the festival programme. Futile are the selector’s explanations that the subject always has a bearing on only one part of the selection, that it is always arbitrarily set on purpose to leave room for further interpretations and readings into its meaning. As futile are comparisons with other similar events in the country and abroad the subjects of which are never addressed in this manner.
Wearied by the luckless position in which we usually find ourselves at the close of the festival regardless of numerous important theatre productions invariably shown at BITEF, and longing for true subjects to be debated with the public, we decided that the subject/slogan of this year’s festival should be BITEF itself, i.e. its programme. We wanted to, at least for a moment, relinquish the role of ‘selectors-interpreters’ and let the productions establish a direct dialogue and uncertain, i.e. non-mediated communication with the audience.
This year we were intrigued by the idea to let the theatre speak for itself and for itself, to place in the forefront subjective statements of theatre artists, free of subsequent interpretations of the selectors. The absence of the subject/logo is not and should not mean that we shirk the responsibility and should be interpreted instead as an anti-mercantile and anti-marketing strategy as a part of the no logo aesthetics.
To avoid that everything boils down to the issue of logo or its absence because it is, in out opinion, only a formal reason for a much more profound and substantial debate about other, much more important questions which BITEF has confronted since its inception to this day, like the issues of the mainstream and the alternative, art and commercial theatre, institutional and non-institutional and the like, this year BITEF shall be a place for the examination of the society and social conventions and a place of self-examination.
Anja Suša i Jovan Ćirilov