THE COUNTER INSTITUTE was established in 2014 as a not-for-profit art and cultural organization that is set to produce artistic projects and facilitate cultural activities that are innovative, relevant and experimental both artistically and productionally. The Counter Institute is an offspring and the result of transformation of a previous organization, called Goossun Art-illery (2008–2014).
The System of
Training, Research & Pre-formance
Pre-foramnce is a new kind of theater, a particular approach to performing arts that has been invented at The Counter Institute by Vahid through the HamletZar, The Maids and Uncle Fool projects. It draws inspiration from numerous experiments in the field of education, social movements, organization theories and performing arts, in particular Theater of The Oppressed of Augusto Boal and Paratheater/Art as Vehicle of Jerzy Grotowski. Pre-formance is an artistic platform of participatory active culture for communities of practice, collective learning, knowledge sharing and communicative rationality. Pre-formance does not offer a commodifiable object of entertainment for consumption to an anonymous ‘public’. It rather encourages and facilitates inter-active participation of individual citizen/artist/spect-actors in the process of artistic creativity. The objective of this approach is to make an artwork of excellent quality, which is relevant to and engaged in socio-political reality.
HamletZar was an international research, exchange and education performance project that set the first step stone for the notion of pre-formance. The project set Hamlet in a Middle Eastern Zar ceremony and explored questions of citizenship, migration and refugees. The project included a series of workshops, masterclasses and work demonstration which developed from 2008 – 2011 throughout 7 residencies in the UK, Denmark, Greece, Canada, Lebanon etc. HamletZar was funded by National Lottery through Arts Council England, The Danish Art Council and in partnership with Goldsmiths, Odin Teatret, The Barbican Center, Laboratoriet, Modern Times Stage Co, Visiting Arts, Maqamat, Dance Base and many more
The Maids is a pre-formance based on Jean Genet’s play, adapted to the a number of social and historical contexts in Turkey, China etc., dealing with issue of mater/slave relation. The adaptations were made possible by employing local artists in each country and conducting Fieldwork sessions with citizens of each city. The Maids was a Swedish, Turkihs and Chinese coproduction trhough a partnership between The Counter Institute, Penghao Theater (Beijing), Teater Sláva (Stockholm) and A Corner in the World Festival (Istanbul).
Uncle Fool is the latest and the smallest pre-formance project of The Counter Institute. A collaboration between Chinese, Danish, Greek and Russian artists, hosted by Sydhavn Teater in Copenhagen during winter and spring 2018. The project served as a very important mile stone in defining many details of the system of Formative Theater and pre-formance.