Jan Rozman: MEMEMEME


Jan Rozman: MEMEMEME Foto/Photo: Nada Žgank


Who is 'me' in 'meme' in 'MEMEMEME'?

MEMEMEME is the space of a community's flow of association, a clash of an infinite number of memes* and their reverberations. Through the performers' bodies, their mobile phones and digital video and sound references and associations, the performance layers gestures, movements, images and expressions. Its performative score plays with and around the mechanics and aesthetics of internet memes. As a living mimetic organism, the stage actions are multiplied and repeated, diversified and mutated to open up the potential semantic splits and gaps that reflect the fragmented and alienated nature of modern communication and the internet society.

*A meme is any idea that is, despite its potential randomness or nonsense, repeated and multiplied through variation and selection. The term meme (from Ancient Greek mimeme, 'imitated thing') was coined by biologist Richard Dawkins as a cultural equivalent of a gene to designate language, stories, knowledges, habits, styles and behaviour that is transmitted through imitation. As a consequence of the near universal use of the internet in the digital age, the most widespread, flexible, resilient, and circulated are precisely (viral) internet memes.


Technical rider >>


Concept, Direction & Choreography: Jan Rozman (janrozman.net)
Performers: Peter Frankl, Kaja Janjić, Julija Pečnikar, Daniel Petković
Dramaturgy: Varja Hrvatin
Sounds and Video: Vid Merlak
Costume Design: Tanja Pađan (Kiss The Future)
Light Design: Urška Vohar
Set design adviser: Dan Pikalo
Graphic design: Matija Medved
Video documentation: Hana Vodeb
Photo documentation: Nada Žgank
Executive Producer: Sabina Potočki

Biographies of collaborators >>


Producer: Emanat
Partner: Bunker / Old Power Station, Ljubljana, Mediterranean Dance Center, Svetvinčenat
Financial support: City Municipality of Ljubljana and ministry of Culture RS
In collaboration with: CoFestival 2019, Ljubljana


“Are memes our modus operandi? Are memes the pinnacle of creativity of our generations? Are memes our resistance? Are memes an expression of our egotistical preoccupation with ourselves? Are memes the communication code of our generations? Jan Rozman is not preoccupied with this (too much). And (thank goodness) he is not moralising. He just – imitates. He takes mimesis as the main driving force/method and creates a performance in which half of the audience – those younger than 35 – is cracking up while the other half is wondering what they are looking at and what's the whole point? And what HALP means. (…) This is a group of performers that feasts on imitating contemporary metaphysical nihilism, seasoned with self-pity so prevalent in “today's internet culture”, in which we are allowed to make cynical-critical evaluations of everyday life, alleviate our anxiety by watching clips of the Kardashians and celebrate our carpe diem way of life – YOLO. YOLO is also what the performance says – feeding the audience copiously with almost forgotten viral hits from Slovenian pop singer Anžej Dežan to hilarious Chinese songs from Youtube.“
December 2019, Kriterij.si, Memememe mememe meme me m e, Klara Drnovšek Solina

“The performance manages to constitute the stage as a space sui generis and bring out the alienation of social networks precisely through this constituted space. It doesn't strive for an articulation that is discursive, which would then envelop what's there, cushion it, make the next blow less painful and therefore more acceptable. It by no means hides the hysterical side of the given situation. Although this is a dance performance, the work done by the face is much more important than the work done by the limbs. The face – faced with the phone's camera, projected onto the screen on the edge of the stage. This proves to be an excellent idea; by doubling the performance space, the stage itself breaks away as an independent space. (…) The grotesque, hysterical faces of the dancers, opening up to the gaze of the camera on stage as something discreet, projected onto the screen, distance the supposed privacy of the spaces through which we launch ourselves online, thus underlining the grotesqueness of behaviour we are forced into by being constantly observed. The stage – this most conspicuous civilisational site of being observed – becomes the space of intimacy, but one we can now voyeuristically watch, while the new site of being observed becomes the screen.”
27.11.2019, Kriterij.si, You hate Mondays not capitalism, Muanis Sinanović

"The millennial generation might be the first one with the software already woven into their synapses; therefore it could say something about that. Perhaps to the boomers, who still think that the young generation itself is responsible for their attention disorders, narcissistic tendencies and world-weariness and that they can simply shut down their computers and smartphones.”
3.12.2019, Neodvisni, Dance of the Millennials, Pia Brezavšček

“There are four smartphones, attached to microphone stands, positioned on the white dance floor in front of the white projection screen. Each is sending images onto a separate portion of the screen. An upbeat dance song is heard and four performers with exaggerated smiles on their faces come marching onstage. It’s showtime! The flood of popular, endlessly played early 90s dance hits, evergreens and R&B monstrosities carries the dancers into a collective rush, a groove, partying. The performers imitate each other’s moves, copying the actions executed a moment ago, flirting with the camera, keeping an eye on what the others are doing. The smiles come on and they come off their faces. The letters on the screen, spelled out as internet memes, dictate the mantra of enjoyment: You only live once!”
21.2.2020, Radio Študent, Where is my self?, Samo Oleami

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