Collective Body Melbourne

Community, diversity and mobility in Rimini Protokoll's '100% Melbourne' and rawcus' 'Catalogue'.


Emancipation begins when we challenge the opposition between viewing and acting; when we understand that the self-evident facts that structure the relations between saying, seeing and doing themselves belong to the structure of domination and subjection (Rancière 2011:13).

For Rancière, ‘emancipation’ refers to the ‘blurring of the boundary between those who act and those who look; between individuals and members of a collective body’ (2011:19). This paper will explore the notion of the emancipatory collective body and Chantal Mouffe’s notion of agonistics (2013) through a contrasting analysis of two models of performance making and scripting: 100% Melbourne, part of the so-called ‘Reality Trend’ theatre of German-based collective Rimini Protokoll and their ongoing 100% series (2008-); and Melbourne performance ensemble rawcus’ recent work Catalogue (2015).

The 100% series – Berlin (2008), Vienna (2010), Karlsruhe, Cologne (2011), Melbourne, Braunschweig, London, Zurich (2012), Cork, Dresden (2013) – draws directly on specific city-sites in the West, often commissioned by city councils, composed of statistical data, and performed by non-actor members of the community. I analyse the Melbourne iteration of this distributed and mobile performance model against the collaborative devising practices of rawcus, an ensemble of performers with and without disability. Both these models are significant for their focus on ideas of community and diversity, communitarian engagement and active participation. Yet these performances also reveal very different notions of how collaboration, mobility and diversity might intersect with the making of performance and the restructuring of relations between saying, seeing and doing.