Time out Croatia 2012/ Jonathan Bousfield

Damir Bartol Indoš

A veteran of the Kugla glumište, Zagreb’s multimedia practitioners of urban ritual in the early eighties, Damir Bartol Indoš (born 1957) is one of Croatia’s most legendary performers, a pioneer of experimental musical theatre who is famous for constructing his own weird instruments from scrapyard metal and salvaged junk. Together with actor and film critic Tanja Vrvilo he heads the DB Indoš Extreme Musical Theatre, whose frequently incomprehensible but never less than hypnotic performances mix performance art, contemporary dance and washes of deliriously squeaky-scratchy abstract music. Indoš’s pieces often involve a degree of narrative theatre (2010 production Cefas was built around quotes from the diaries of early 20th-century anarchists) although those who understand neither the Croatian language nor the cultural context will still find much to enjoy. In spring 2012 Indoš picked up the T-HT Prize (Croatia’s version of the Turner Prize) for displaying his Schachtophone (šahtofon), a metal console with a row of cylinders sunk into it – inside the cylinders are a mixture of clanking metal bits and boing-producing springs. ‘Kriegspiel’ presents a version of chess based on Von Clausewitz theory of warfare and Napoleon’s specific campaigns. Although the patent of ‘Kriegspiel’ did not become more popular than chess, in tight circles it remained a fascinating example of a combination of game and theoretical insights. Damir Bartol Indoš has been for decades a unique phenomenon in the local performing scene, gazing into the horizon of philosophy and performance outcomes. Regardless of whether the priority is the movement, gesture, music or text, his pieces were always a game, and everything that is much more serious than the game.Hydraulic, water-powered versions of the Schachtophone were used in Indoš and Vrvilo’s 2012 production Water Wars, which dramatized the growing scarcity of water around the globe through a combination of gloriously dissonant music, shouty texts and accompanying videos.
Water war a new play by artistic team: Damir Bartol Indoš and Tanja Vrvilo / Music Biennale Zagreb 2012- Newsletter
A new play by the artistic team: Damir Bartol Indoš and Tanja Vrvilo, Water War, in the production of DB Indoš extreme music theatre, in co-production of Theatre &TD and Perforations Festival, will be premiered in the second part of June in Cinema of the Student Centre.In addition to the mental hygiene, one of the constants of Indoš’s work is ecology. Water issues – a media essential for sustainability of all life, are here treated as a political as well as an artistic issue.Citing the source material for the reflection: W. Reich, V. Čerina, F. Bertini, V. Shiva, A. Olivera Foronda, G. Deleuze & F. Guattari, G. Bachelard, K. Whittfogel, G. Petrović, and Gang of Four slipped through the musical machines: šahtofon, will bring new images and associations. Indoš’s šahtofon was also presented at a musical performance Kriegspiel (Game of War), premiered at the 26th Music Biennale Zagreb in 2011.
The team of authors together with Damir Bartol Indoš and Tanja Vrvilo (hydraulic šahtofonija), also include: Ana Husman (film and video images), Ivan Marušić Klif (surveillance cameras and sound).The performance was accomplished with the support of: Ministry of Culture, the Office for Culture Zagreb and with the support of the IPA of the European Union.

"Water War"
Damir Bartol Indoš, a legend of the Croatian performance scene, in collaboration with Tanja Vrvilo created the „Water War“ focusing on one of the most important elements in the functioning of the human body, and for maintaining life on Earth at all: water. Water, like all other natural resources, slowly becomes a commodity in many parts of the world and is increasingly privately owned by powerful corporations, causing riots and various "war games". According to some of the predictions, the wars of 21st century will be led because of the water. Indoš and Vrvilo treat water as a political and artistic issue through natural and emotional deserts, inspired by many revolts against the privatization of water in the Bolivian city of Cochabamba and card controlled access to water in southern Africa.

26th Music Biennale Zagreb, 2011, Kriegspiel
When, in 1977, Guy Debord and his partner Alice Becker-Ho began to play their version of chess based on Von Clausewitz’s theory of warfare and the specific campaigns of Napoleon, the world was a different place than it is today. Debord’s patented ‘Kriegspiel’ did not became more popular than chess, though at first it was also expected to overtake Monopoly, but in small social circles, is still considered a fascinating combination of game and theoretical insights. Each match of this game is a kind of performance – something that Damir Bartol Indoš knows very well. In this new production from The House of Extreme Musical Theatre, which borrows the name of Debord’s invention, Indoš and Tanja Vrvilo repeat 55 moves in a game from 1977, and this consecration of the father of society of spectacle leads to an anti-spectacle in their distinctive style. Accompanied by unrestrained electronic music by Helge Hinteregger, the performers do battle with models and words, pronouncing Latin and Sanskrit palindromes. A living legend of Croatian alternative theatre, Damir Bartol Indoš has, for a few decades already, been a truly unique phenomenon not only on the domestic performance scene. Looking to the horizons of the philosophy and origins of performance, he builds his performance strategy around impossibility of political engagement. Regardless of whether they are primarily movement, gesture, music or text, his works are always both games, and at the same time, far more serious.

Damir Bartol Indoš won the first prize on the 5th T-HT award@msu.hr
„Between the man and the nature has grown a new reality – the world of the machine“, this are the words that Kaštelan has written in the preface of the catalogue for the exhibition in the Gallery of the Contemporary Art that was organized for the occasion of the 1st Music Biennale Zagreb. Damir Bartol Indoš & Helge Hinteregger in the music performance Kreigspiel (Game of War) that had its premiere performance at the 26th Music Biennale Zagreb, continued the mission of the shifting the borders between different art disciplines. And the recent šahtofon or how the author calls it Musical machine or collective assemblage as if it is the echo of the “pulse” of the words by Kaštelan.. Within the 249 submitted works international expert committee:  Snježana Pintarić (director of the Museum of the Contemporary Art, Croatia), Evelina Turković (art historian and art critic, Croatia), Radmila Iva Janković (curator in the Museum of the Contemporary Art, Croatia), Dunja Blažević (director of the Centre for the Contemporary Art Sarajevo,BiH), Darko Fritz (art curator and artist, Croatia/Netherlands), Zlatko Kopljar (media artist, Croatia) and Bart de Baere (director of the Museum of the Contemporary Art in Antwerp, Netherlands), has chosen 40 works for the exhibition and in that way entered in the top-competition for the three Museum’s awards.

From a text by Suzana Marjanić, on Schachtophone:
This pastiche-like survey of musical performances that manipulate sound objects/installations/sculptures should by all means include Damir Bartol Indoš and his House of Extreme Music Theatre. It should be noted that Zlatko Burić Kićo and Damir Bartol Indoš originate from Kugla Glumiše (1975-1981/1982) with its alternative music-theatre energies. It is a known fact that instruments in shows and performances by Damir Bartol Indoš are made of recycled materials or civilization waste, thereby functioning as sound installations or, as their author calls them, spiritually recycled garbage.
Thus, in the performances called Kriegspiel / War Game (2011) and Water War (2012), the performing duo Damir Bartol Indoš – Tanja Vrvilo introduced a “musical machine” or “collective assemblage” called Schachtophone (literally translatable as “manholephone”). Art historians have associated performances on that sound sculpture with the prepared piano of John Cage (1938), as well as some of the sound performances by George Brecht. Indoš’s sound installation consists of springs, manhole covers, car lights, microphones, and surveillance cameras, and is presently preserved at the Museum of Contemporary Arts, where it tells the story of its concept of becoming a human Schachtophone, as well as the evolution of the idea of schizophony, created by separating sound and image from their source as yet another mode of rebellion against the heteronomy of the society. The sound sculpture Orgonic Schachtophone is an integral part of the shows/performances Kriegspiel / War Game (2011) and Water War (2012) – D.B. Indoš / House of Extreme Music Theatre – Kugla, by authors and performers: Damir Bartol Indoš and Tanja Vrvilo. 
"It is a Schachtophon model that we call 'Orgonic Schachtophon'. It is organic because of having been inspired by Wilhelm Reich and his discovery of organ, as well as its practical application through the construction of organic accumulators. Our Schachtophon construction consists of magnets adhering to various metals which are used according to Reich's classification of good metals - zinged tin in the form of a tin lavabo saved from decay, iron nets, and two manhole covers, and inside the lavabo there are two iron ribs with three bass guitar strings animated

by means of a magnetic plate. On the upper surface, there are two magnetic columns arranged in a palindrome-like manner, creating drops of magnetic rain when falling onto the Schachtophon construction. The phonic effect is not produced internally, but externally, by means of vibrations: on the one hand through a spring attached to the mouth of the tin bucket on one end and to the frame of the Schachtophon on the other, creating a flow of "water" that has spring-like qualities, and on the other hand the spring holds together the ribs with tin lungs, which are in contact with the Schachtophon and the sprinted budget by means of vibrations. This establishes an interaction of flowing sound water, emitted from one sound sculpture to another, then to a third one, and back again, and that process is operated by a female Schachtophonist and a male Schachtophonist. By filling the tin lavabo with sound water, by irrigating it, we work on moistening the emotional deserts that we create within ourselves in various circumstances of our everyday life." (from an e-mail by Damir Bartol Indoš).

A Schachtophone is a spring musical machine which secret is in collective assemblage of horizontally and vertically strained springs of different length and thickness attached to the inside of the manhole structure for transfering vibration of hands and springs. Interactive audio-visual sculpture Schachtophone, an extreme chamber music for two, four, six and eight hands, evokes the prepared piano and, out of a motionless state becomes active by hands touching the springs, pulling, twitching and vibrating of the springs or moving the instrument itself, which produces a silent schachtophonia.
A number of body parts and its organs takes part in a schachtophonic performance – in relatively short time units, the schachtophonist becomes at the same time a sound body, without and with the organs- foot right legs becomes pedal rhythm, index fingers of both hands navigators counting and monitoring lines of visual audio information coming into the largest closeness of cooperation with the eyes and brain, connection hoses lungs throat products drawn vote, torso and head are constantly swinging and are tapped from both ears, fingers of both hands looking for a pinch sound spring, catching and pulling, closing and opening alternated through performance coloristic graphic scores.
The graphic content plays with graphics warning nuclear threat and the differencies that it establishes are in the intensities of their sonority – a large triangle for loud vibration of the spring and loud voice, a small triangle for silent spring vibration and silent voice. The scores are vocal-instrumental, word cuts for sound cuts and sound cuts for word cuts. Between picture colored icons appear in numbers that determine the pause between vibration voice and steel spiral.

INTANGIBLE—Croatian Exhibition at the 2015 Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space. Text: Igor Ružić - catalog Intangible
One of the key figures of the so called Croatian alternative theatre, Damir Bartol Indoš has remained true to his sources as aesthetic and ethical postulates for almost forty years. He was member of the Kugla theatre company, a radical performance collective from the late 1970s and early 1980s that was a rare example of truly radical alternative culture in which music and performance were the inspiration, means and end. After parting ways with Kugla, Indoš continued to work independently via his own organisation DB Indoš House of Extreme Musical Theatre.
Instead of taking the supposedly next logical step and growing in terms of production and climbing the hierarchical latter of success and institutionalisation, he decided to, metaphorically and quite literally, stay in place. This, however, does not mean that within his artistic vocation he is not permanently interested in innovation, searching continuously for new subjects and associates or improvements of his own artistic production. Considering that his theatre generally includes substantial amounts of used or reconstructed retro technology, which simultaneously functions as scenography, props, musical instruments and his partner, it seems quite fitting to use the term production in his case. On the other hand, he approaches his subjects with an exceptionally humanistic attitude, believing that the artist must, with his personal attitude and engagement, earn or deserve the moral and metaphysical right to the subjects he uses as inspiration or foundation.This is not the only paradox surrounding Indoš. A sworn pacifist, who began doing theatre because, as he himself admits, he was not brave enough to become a radically left or anarchistic terrorist, he creates performances filled with scrapings of metal, loud or too loud noises of machinery powered by the energy of the performers, deafening avantgarde music and speeches on the verge of barking, causing fear and disgust to the unaccustomed ear. He is also an applied ecologist, recycling materials, parts of machinery and discarded technology, and creating from them his astonishing, almost post apocalyptic stage imagery. Permanently infected with the theatrical and theoretical propositions of Antonin Artaud and antipsychiatry, a discipline that promotes a different way of relating to mental disorders and a different treatment not  of disorders, but of those afflicted by them, Indoš is obsessively searching for the ideal expression of theatre that can express the frustrations and challenges of today, because he cannot deny them, at the same time refusing to be reduced to them.

Among the constants of Indoš’s poetics is also certainly the athletic performative aspect, a Spartan discipline and physical fitness needed to endure the high physical demands of his performances that he himself has set. Indoš’s parallelism of an ethical foundation and aest hetic realisation, philosophical education and performative and authorial experience always results in a critical attitude, expressed indirectly and affirmatively via the subjects he had to earn a right to use; potential correspondences with current issues are merely incidental. The documentary trilogy Every Revolution is a Throw of the Dice, which he created and performs in collaboration with the actress and film studies scholar Tanja Vrvilo, deals with the assassinations of high ranking officials of the Austro Hungarian administration in Croatia before World War I. It is precisely when the world was marking the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the socalled Great War and the notorious shot fired in Sarajevo and heard all over the world, that the last part of this trilogy entitled Tosca 914 had its premiere, thematising the unsuccessful assassination only one month prior to the one in Sarajevo, in the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb at the premiere of the opera Tosca. Instead of thematic historiographic and geopolitical analyses, the play offers a different vantage point and discourse, raising the issue of the need to react to political and institutional violence. For Indoš, the answer does not lie in reacting with violence, but in the artistic, personal and collective freedom, achieved only through rigorous artistic and personal convictions structured through the musical, scenographic, choreographic and performative abundance of the sound (and) the fury.

Wundergrund festival 2015 Copenhagen is organised by: SNYK – www.snyk.dk
Behind Mao Tze are distinctive figures such as the actor and performance artist Zlatko Burić, Søren Kjærgaard, Henning Frimann, Dragana Milutinović in a powerful interaction with the artists Tanja Vrvilo and Damir Bartol from Croatian D.B. Indoš (House of extreme music theatre).The Danish-Croatian performance group creates captivating, imaginative sound via coloristic graphic music scores that dictate hands, springs, voice and cut-up technics. Mao Tze unites body and instrument when this evening they present their own interactive, AV juggernaut of a home-built instrument called the schachtophone for the first time in Denmark. This ingenious instrument has been made out of springs of various lengths and thicknesses which, with the aid of the performers’ bodies and hands, vibrate and transform KoncertKirken into a magical sound universe this Sunday, with warnings of nuclear warfare, colours and symbols that change in time with the schachtophone.