Text topic: Art
Text author: Маша Сеничић и Огњен Обрадовић
Applying interdisciplinary theoretical analysis within a framework that cross-references studies in the fields of performance, cultural policy, film and screen media, this paper examines transformations of festivals in digital environment during the Covid-19 pandemic. Festivals are cultural and artistic showcases that present and value certain content, as well as places of public gathering and critical debate, on which we particularly focus in this study. After a brief theoretical remark on what theatre and film encounters represent as places of real physical meetings, we move on to online festivals and events of similar nature which take place in digital surroundings. We then set out to analyse two online festivals, using the case study method on FIST – Festival Of International Student Theatre (2020) and My Darling Quarantine– Short Film Festival (2020). These examples help us examine the potential advantages and disadvantages of online festivals, and also their specifics: by moving to the digital realm, online festivals lose their exclusivity given by space-time and geographical limitations. Thus, it is necessary to find new models of functioning that can contribute to having quality collective discussions and transnational exchanges of knowledge and ideas. FIST has accomplished this through opening a space for debate through live online chat, making viewers an integral part of the performance. Likewise, My Darling Quarantine has proven itself as a place of collective effort through its creative cooperative programming. We conclude that the critical and socio-cultural potential of online festivals is exceptional, therefore they should not necessarily be thought of as surrogates or extensions of live events, but as authentic cultural practices.