Thinking without a Banister


This year's Festival is dedicated to Hannah Arendt (14.10.1906 – 4.12.1975), a German-American political theorist of Jewish origin, and this October will mark the 100th anniversary of her birth. So who was - and indeed who is - Hannah Arendt? Without doubt she was one the greatest political minds of the Western world. By way of her works – The Origins of Totalitarianism (1951), The Human Condition or Vita Activa (1958), Between Past and Future (1961), On Revolution (1963), On Violence (1970) and The Life of the Mind (1978) – she single-handedly created one of the most influential corpuses on political thought of the 20th century, which reached far beyond her time. Arendt’s work was marked and motivated by the terror of the holocaust, which she escaped by fleeing first to France and then to the United States, where she was engaged in writing and lecturing at the country’s most prestigious universities and, until her death in 1975, the New School of Social Research in NYC. In 1961, as the New Yorker reporter in Israel, Hannah Arendt covered the Adolf Eichmann trial, and in 1963 published a book entitled Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil. This work incited ongoing controversy as to the ‘banality’ of evil and drastically changed the notion of human action, evil, terror and collective crime, as well as provoked a debate that continues to this day. As with The Origins of Totalitarianism, Arendt relentlessly exposed the structure of institutions and the actions of people which led to catastrophes such as holocaust. The ever-more pertinent questions posed in Hannah Arendt's works represent a radical recapitulation and a brand new establishment of the relationship between the role of political thought and political experience.
Vlasta Jalušič

Thinking without a Banister

˝In November 1972, a conference ‘The Work of Hannah Arendt’ was organized by the Toronto Society for the Study of Social and Political Thought. Hannah Arendt was invited to attend the conference as the guest of honor, but replied that she would prefer to be invited to participate. In the course of numerous exchanges over the three days of the conference she spontaneously revealed aspects of her thinking and the style of her thinking in response to direct questions, or statements, or challenges, as well as in response to the papers read. Fortunately we arranged to record the discussion with a view to later publication.˝ (Melvyn A. Hill, in his editor’s introduction to the conference transcript) 

In the context of such discussion we have decided to revive the genre of ''reading performance'', which over recent years has become an increasingly common method of presenting dramatic texts in Slovene theatres. Despite that this composition is not as such dramatic; it is structured in the form of a dialogue which has the traits of an exciting event, and also provides us with the possibility to relate to Hannah Arendt as a living person and in this instance Arendt’s intellectual universe through the transcript of her contribution to the debate. Thus we have decided to reconstruct the actual events of November 1972, but using experts on her work rather than actors. The discussion is divided into four parts entitled Thinking and Acting, Thoughts on Society and Politics, The American Constitution as the Ideal Model and Political Thinking without a Banister. The event will be followed by a discussion by participants.
Rok Vevar

Concept and adaptation: Vlasta Jalušič; direction: Rok Vevar; expert collaborator: Aldo Milohnič; readings by: Savina Frangež, Gorazd Kovačič, Andrej Marković, Maja Pan, Dušan Rebolj, Miro Samardžija

Organisation and production: City of Women, Mirovni inštitut
In collaboration with: Klub Gromka/AKC Metelkova mesto 


Date and time of event: 
Oct 10th 21:30
Place of event: 
Klub Gromka, AKC Metelkova mesto