Imaginary Friends is a project in several episodes, focusing on the relations between culture and politics and the ambiguousness of friendship.
For the first chapter, Het Veem Theater in Amsterdam had sent Andrew Fremont-Smith and myself on a ‘mission’ to Forum Freies Teater in Düsseldorf to investigate whether the conversation between artists and politicians could be more engaging, if it would be more public. I called the project Imaginary Friends, as a commentary on the desire to improve a relationship that is traditionally tense, and perhaps rightly so; at the same time, the title expressed a certain faith in fiction as a tool to loosen up fixed positions between art and politics.
The Russian episode explored the friendship between nations on a micro level: two years after the celebration of the Dutch-Russian Friendship in 2013. In March 2015, Brian Mckenna and I spent 3 weeks in Yekaterinburg collaborating with local artists, poets and musicians. The experience resulted in a media-performance which uses the format of a radioshow, inspired by the "Radio Moscow"-programmes broadcasted from Yekaterinburg during WWII. Free-flying between the past and the present, this performance discovers new meanings in events by alternating between archival audio fragments and remixed video-reports about the artists' personal experiences in Ekaterinburg.
Concept, development & performance Imaginary Friends Düsseldorf/Mannheim 2014:
Andrew Fremont-Smith and Sarah van Lamsweerde
Concept, development & performance Imaginary Friends Yekaterinburg/Düsseldorf 2015/16:
Sarah van Lamsweerde and Brian Mckenna
Veem, House for Performance and Katja Sokolova in coproduction with FFT Düsseldorf
FFT Düsseldorf, Zeitraumexit Mannheim, Ural Industrial Biennial for Contemporary Art in Yekaterinburg (RU)
Cultural Transit Foundation