Nadia Tsulukidze
Nadia Tsulukidze (1976) was born in Georgia. After finishing Music College, she lived and studied dance in Germany. Coming back to Georgia in 2004, as a freelance artist she collaborated with visual artists and co-founded the multimedia performance group Khikali Juice. She took part in international projects and exhibitions in Turkey, Armenia, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Slovenia, France and Germany. In 2010 she finished the Master of Theater studies at DasArts in Amsterdam with the documentary theater piece ‘Ready for Love or Seven Fragments of Identity’ and was nominated with this work for the Neu/Now Festival 2011 in Tallinn. The same year she worked as an artistic assistant with Edit Kaldor (The Work) and Jochen Stechmann (The Critical Piece).

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Dirk Verstockt
Dirk Verstockt (°1960) is an autodidact Brussels based allround performing arts (hu)man who works as director, theatremaker, mentor, coach, critic, writer, translator, organiser, curator, etc.

He actually works for Boris vzw, Rits/DK Free University Association of Brussels (Brussels), Toneelschool / Dasarts (Amsterdam), Stichting Traum A ('A'dam), Bellas Estrategias (Rio de Janeiro), Fomenta Producoes (Rio de Janeiro).

 He was up untill today a member of the Advisory Board for Music and the Advisory Board for Youth Culture, both for the Flemish Government, Ministry of Culture

In the past he worked for Kaaitheater (Brussels), KVS (Brussels, Kinshasa), Beursschouwburg (Brussels), Arts Centre nOna (Mechelen), dAda and many other artsorganisations.

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Me and Stalin
Research for a documentary performance.
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written, created and performed by
Nadia Tsulukidze (GE, NL)
co-written and directed by
Dirk Verstockt (Bxl, B)
Stef Van Alsenoy (Bxl, B)

production: Stichting Traum-A (A'dam, NL) & Boris vzw (Bxl, B)

coproduction: Belluard Bollwerk Festival (Fribourg, CH), Frascati Producties (Adam, NL), Kaaitheater (Bxl, B), BIT Teatergarasjen (Bergen, NO), Slachthaus Theater (Bern, CH)

with the support of wp Zimmer (Apen,B), FondsCultureISud (CH), Theater Zeebelt (Den Haag, NL), de Vlaamse Gemeenschapscommissie (Bxl,B), het Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst (Adam, NL), Open Society Foundation, DasArts (Adam, NL).

Me & Stalin is a House on Fire co-production, realised with the support of the Culture Programme of the European Union.




22- 23.01.14

31.01.14 - 01.02.14

Dates tbc

Info and bookings: + 32 498 19 44 92

My fascination with Stalin goes back to a memory of my childhood, when my grandmother told me that she had also been crying when Stalin died. I was shocked. She suffered so much from his regime. Her sister was sent to Siberia for 10 years, when she was 20. Her father was killed in prison and the family only found out about it during the Perestroika time.
She was neither religious nor communist, but in spite of that she was crying when Stalin died.
She couldn’t even explain to me what was the reason for her grief. She just said: “Everybody was crying and so I was crying too.”
But what about me? Not so long ago, while I was watching the film ‘The funeral of Stalin’ by Michael Tchiaureli, I suddenly realized that I was crying too.
The film is a one hour documentation of how people from the Soviet Union and abroad were coming to say farewell to their leader. I still don’t understand why I cried. Was it the huge scale of crimes that this person has committed? Was it the amount of lies that a vast population was blinded by? Was it the massive spectacle that caused my admiration? Was it my disability to grasp something ungraspable? Was it the struggle inside me to acknowledge the reality behind the spectacle? Was it a fear that had been passed on to from generation to generation?
Was it the smell of the death and catastrophe that made me feel small and identify with the masses? Is it the myth of Stalin that makes it impossible for us to deal with the subject, even as a horribly glorified hero?
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This photo is from Sergei Eisenstein’s film ‘Ivan the Terrible’ where he portraits Stalin as a shadow of Ivan the Terrible over the globe. Stalin’s figure is more complex than that, but the shadow of his created myth spans over decades and is full with contradictions. My fascination lies in the space between those contradictions. My attempt is to create a performance that will bring this myth down to ‘here and now’. That will deal with the contrast of the immense historical past and the now, the contrast of me, a 35-year old woman and the absurdity of the tragic spectacle of Stalin.
Stalin created several identities for himself throughout his life. As a young poet he was known in Georgia under the name Soselo. Koba was his revolutionary name. Stalin was the creator and Father figure of the Soviet nation. He realized a dream of the soviet artistic avant-garde that declared real life as the material for their artwork. Society had to be constructed according to the state’s artistic master plan. Stalin brought to life ‘social realism’ that combined art and power, becoming the tyrannical author of this ‘Gesamtkunstwerk’. The breakdown of this utopian plan brought the self-doubting state culture of today in the post-soviet countries.

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During the research period I want to investigate the above-mentioned ‘Gesamtkunstwerk’ and to deconstruct the way art was used for creation of the Stalin personality cult in relation to the construction of the socio-political life in the Soviet Union.
I am interested in Stalin not only as a private person, but also as a staged cult, an object or a concept of manipulation. I see the ‘Gesamtkunstwerk-Stalin’, as a theatre play that influenced lives of millions. This play is not over in the mentality of post- soviet population, whose understanding of power is identified with sacrifice of the individual for the ‘bigger narrative’. The ideology that was supposed to strengthen the weakest (the proletariat) in the social class hierarchy implemented from top down has created exactly the opposite result. After the fall of the Soviet Union the ‘soviet narrative’ has been replaced by another narrative from the winner West: a ‘liberal market narrative’, the concept of an invisible hand that will regulate the needs of individuals, using democracy as a tool.
I see myself, as a product of both of these narratives and I can’t stop myself from comparing both spectacles, looking for similarities and oppositions. I go layer by layer inside of my own cultural construct to understand how these both narratives influenced my understanding of power and freedom. I believe that by asking questions and pouring the gained experience layer by layer into a form I will arrive to the moment where I will have an overview of my path and see the end form of the process.
Working method
For the performance I want to develop parallel ‘time lines’, that will function as independent story lines, but in the way they will be edited together as a ‘parallel montage’, they will create different meanings.
One of the lines through the piece will be the projection of ‘ The funeral of Stalin’ by M. Chiaureli, divided into pieces and interrupted by documentary interviews (existing documentary movies, as well as my own made ones) and other video found footage through the whole work. Another line is me constructing a small scale model on stage that will be projected on the screen; the model will be used for telling the stories with collages. A third time line is myself, present on stage, as an author and performer going through different transformations, changing and creating identities (dancing bodies, roles, characters, texts) – connecting it to my actual life and situation. All of these through their relation to Stalin will create different portraits of him and me.
I am the center of the work, I tell my personal stories or other people’s stories of about Stalin, but I transform into different characters or abstract figures, the way I imagine them. The images and video material will not only be performing partners in the scene, but they will have their own constructed narratives. I want to show deconstructed abstracts of Stalin through personal stories and alienated images.