The Institutional Practices of a Festival | Keil | Polish Theatre Journal

ISSN 2451-2966


Kunstefestivaldesarts 2017 in Brussels. Photographer: Bea Borgers.
Marta Keil

The Institutional Practices of a Festival


Taking as my starting point the assumption that art is a social practice, and how it is made and perceived is always determined by the socio-political and economic context, I would like to propose that a festival be regarded as an art institution – and consider the implications of that perspective. The political ontology of the festival; the political and economic entanglements of curatorial practices; economic (self-)censorship and its recent manifestations at theatre festivals in Poland will be the main facets of my study. I will also enquire about how the festival today can be ‘taken over’, regained a space for critical activity. My consideration of the institutional practices of present-day festivals will be based on my own experiences as a curator; they will also be situated in the context of practicable institutional-critical activity as proposed by Gerald Raunig, and take as their point of reference the concept of an institution as a common good. The concept of the ‘performativeness of the art world’ formulated by Ana Vujanovic will be of primary importance to my study.


festival as an institution; economic censorship; instituent practices; public art institution; performativeness of the artworld; curatorial practices; self-censorship; the political nature of the festival; institutional order the canon; the common good;

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Marta Keil

(1983), performing arts curator, based in Warsaw, Poland. Since 2012 she curates together with Grzegorz Reske Theatre Confrontations - international performing arts festival in Lublin ( She created and curates the East European Performing Arts Platform ( Worked as curator and dramaturg with i.e. Agnieszka Jakimiak, Rabih Mroué, Agata Siniarska and Ana Vujanović. In 2014 and 2015 she worked as curator at Teatr Polski in Bydgoszcz ( and co-curated Festival of New Dramaturgies ( One of the initiators and curators of the Identity.Move! project ( Editor of the book “Dance, Process, Artistic Research. Contemporary Dance in the Political, Economic and Social Context of “Former East” of Europe”, published in 2015. PhD student at the Polish Academy of Science's Art Institute. She writes a blog