So, by now you’ve checked the À la Cart Performance Webshop and the How it works in 6 steps instructions. But what were the aims behind this project? Why did Jan and Sekirnik set out to develop a performance webshop? Have a look at what the authors have to say about it!

Urša: We were firstly looking for a new way of creating, executing and marketing performance art works in which the final outcome depended not only on the artist but also on the festival programmers, artistic directors, curators and other “buyers” of the performance. To a certain extent, we wanted to include them in our artistic process – we wanted to offer them a chance to contribute their ideas and thereby decide on the final version of our performance.

Nina: We were curious if an option that the “buyers” of performance works become more involved with the works they are ordering changes something, if they were even interested in co-operating with artists in this way. Moreover, we wanted to find out to what extent this customization possibility triggered creativity, active participation and new ideas and where was the limit that this freedom and taking part became an uncomfortable responsibility (for example, when people don’t want to be credited for certain curatorial decisions).

Urša: Exactly because of this it was so interesting to work with the system of customization. Because it operates between the freedom of buyer’s decisions and control and power that remains in the hands of the manufacturer/producer of the goods/work. But the research into customization couldn’t be done without looking into the marketing and advertising strategies as well.

Nina: It was intriguing to see that applying these marketing and advertising elements (such as promotional stickers, commercial slogans, personalisation of content to the buyer’s taste, easy access to the offered goods via webshop, etc.) on an art project like ours provokes different collisions. It becomes unclear if our commercial attempts are serious or not. And exactly through this questioning the real subversion of our project begins.

Urša: Because we are using these commercial strategies for real – they are there to address the buyer and to attract attention, but also to provoke him, to make him wonder if something is really possible. For example, how can certain performance chapters be out of stock, why are certain chapter tags added for no other reason but to make them look more appealing and special, what does it mean to be brave enough to watch/order a certain chapter, ect.

Nina: The webshop on one hand invites the buyer to be more involved in the project on a very personal level, to propose concrete decisions and to work together with the artists. On the other hand, it invites the buyer to enter this procedure through a very distanced and standardised protocol.

Urša: But when this (for us super interesting) webshop mechanism was developed, we were still not exactly sure what the performance content would be about.

Nina: We were unclear how to create content that can be combined in whatever order but always make sense, no matter how many performance chapters you put together.

Urša: We are not exactly sure how and when the theme of Post-Fordism came about. I guess coincidentally, as a consequence of a very focused research of themes that were connected to our webshop mechanism.

Nina: The connection between Post-Fordism and the position of an artist in Post-Fordist times also reflected our personal circumstances of working far too much, on far too many projects and side jobs with very little financial gains. Perhaps this project was also a little therapy for us - making us far more aware of our self-exploitative practices in the artistic and other aspects of our lives.

Urša: We felt it was a topic worth addressing. I mean, this topic has been addressed again and again, but looks like not enough because we are all still blindly leading such lifestyles. It is hard to step out.

Nina: This project doesn’t really offer answers or propositions on how to step out of the self-exploiting workaholism. But to us personally, the research process really opened our eyes quite a lot. And we believe this is what the project is doing, or at least trying to do as well.

You can read the À la Cart Performance Webshop press release here.