Extravagant Bodies: Extravagant Age

Zagreb, Klovićevi dvori Gallery, October 4-November 3, 2013

The concept and realization of the project: Kontejner| Bureau of Contemporary Art Practice (Zagreb)

Curators: Ivana Bago, Olga Majcen Linn & Sunčica Ostoić | Kontejner, Milica Pekić | Kiosk, Lois Keidan | Live Art Development Agency

Partners: Kiosk (Beograd), Live Art Development Agency (London), Klovićevi dvori Gallery (Zagreb), Modern and Contemporary Art Museum (Rijeka), Galerija12 HUB (Beograd), Foundation “Zajednički put” (Zagreb), Retirement Home Bezanijska kosa (Beograd), Atelier Frankfurt (Frankfurt)

Activities: exhibition, performances, symposium, workshops, social activities

Jonathan Swift once said: “Everybody wants to live forever, but nobody wants to grow old.” Although it is a part of the natural sequence of life, old age is often perceived through aversion or even as an insult – almost as if we have used it to diagnose a type of disorder. Due to the physical and psychological changes that come with it, and the very fact that it leads to death, old age and its signs provoke fear comparable to the one provoked by a body or mind that lies outside social norms. The contemporary art festival Extravagant Bodies: Extravagant Age deals with precisely this rift within the norms.

Extravagant Bodies is an international arts festival held every three years since 2007, and it discusses the ways in which the society defines the boundaries of the normal and pathological, regardless of whether it is the body, physical appearance, sexuality or lifestyle. The existence of the other as the one who does not fit in socially rooted ideologies of the normal often results in socio-cultural and economic isolation, discipline, fear and hatred. Starting always from the deviant position of the extravagant other, the festival dealt with physical disabilities in its first edition, with mental health in the second, while the theme of the upcoming festival is old age: individual experiences, social implications and cultural conditionality of what we call the third age.

The festival Extravagant Bodies: Extravagant Age recognizes the issue of old age as that which makes visible the assumptions underlying modern society, and as the place which opens the possibility of its criticism. Old age takes the obsession with climbing the social ladder, frenetic accumulation of profits and the hierarchy of constant economic competition, and contrasts them with minimal production and consumption, un(re)productivity, but also the possibility of analysis and reflection. Old age looks at the young, energetic, ever beautified and age-defying body and opposes it to the body that is increasingly moving away from the ideals of health and beauty, and which can nevertheless continue being the source of pleasure and satisfaction. These are just some of the starting points of the festival, where authors approach the problem of old age and longevity through the exhibition, performances, workshops, symposiums and a theoretical publication. The variety of subtopics encompass intriguing views on the issues of old age and ageing from a series of different perspectives: from health, memory, dementia, socio-economic status, beauty, loneliness, idleness, boredom, love, sexuality and death, to progressive scientific innovations in prolonging life, prosthetic devices, regenerative medicine and the issues of immortality.

Extravagant Bodies: Extravagant Age presents exciting, inspiring, sensual old age. Contemporary art is changing taboos about old age and relocating them from the area of stereotypes, marginalization and discrimination, revealing at the same time so much more than just the ways how senior citizen can improve the quality of their own life. Extravagant age presents old age through unconventional, different and stimulating perspectives on the body and mind in constant transformation – an ecstatic and liberated old age in the fullness of all its capabilities and potentials.

Click on the link below and find out the details of the project and the content of the festival.