“Congress of Humanity” is a work that is constantly evolving as a reaction to the current societal processes. When starting in February 2019, we were sure about one thing: in the centre of our work lies the premise that we as individuals are constantly building and influencing the society through redefining what it means to be human. Through the four residencies during the year 2019, also the second important premise became clear: we felt more and more that the culture surrounding memory and thus identity creation would be a powerful tool to access the processes behind society making. The showing in December focused on mortality and the way how different cultures deal with dying and remembering. We decided to concentrate on our personal stories and experiences when devising, to see how sharing the micro-politics behind them would open up the macro-politics around them. Through the first year of working, it became also clear that the form we are interested in developing is post-modernist theatre consisting of storytelling, but also shifting the focus between the fictional and the rea and audience participation that actively annhilates the fourth wall between us and the public.
After the showing in 2019, we found that we would be interested in bringing the work out in two countries. We found production- and collaborationpartners in the Museum of Occupation and Freedom in Tallinn, Estonia and in Dirty Deal Teatro, in Riga, Latvia. The two-faceted working mode would first of all let us widen our work to the Baltic frame and second, work in two similar yet different contexts that could diversify the work monumentally. Due to the pandemia, we were forced to move our next residencies and research period during 2020 into the virtual realm that was proved to be challenging, but at the same time made us find new ways to push both the material and form forward.
As we decided already in the start of the project that “Congress of Humanity” would always react to what would be happening in the society, we felt the need to also add a third premise to the existing two: the third pillar of our work became the interest in societal transition periods, as we felt that we’re living in a time that probably in the future will be considered as a transition period from one type of political regimes to others, from one way of working to another, from one way of remembering to another. These kinds of changes come with apparent examples of power being re-negotiated on all levels of the society.
When working virtually, we felt that we also needed to somehow document the research, therefore, we decided to create an online document that would work as a testament to the work being done. There, we would disclose excerpts of the meeting protocols, share reading materials and document our virtual devising sessions. This kind of a document would be a great starting point for the actual development phase of the piece in November when we can work live both in Tallinn and in Riga.