(P(Re))Forming Justice: Milo Rau’s Trials and Tribunals

  • Lily Climenhaga orcid logo (Ghent University)


Since the founding of the International Institute of Political Murder in 2008, Swiss German theater-maker Milo Rau has gained international attention for his political theater projects. ‘(P(Re))Forming Justice: Milo Rau’s Trials and Tribunals’ looks specifically at Rau’s trial and tribunal projects: The Moscow Trials (2013), The ZurichTrials (2013), and The Congo Tribunal (2015). It engages with the intersection of the political and the affective in Rau’s re-temporalization of necessary but ultimately non-existent institutions to create utopian, affective institutions that serve as demonstrative alternatives to those of the present. In uncovering the connection between the aesthetic references of affect and politic, this article connects three performance elements within Rau’s projects: (1) the political impulses of these constructed, temporary institutions, (2) their affective power, and (3) the concept and question of justice. Bringing the anarchist concept of prefiguration, Frans-Willem Korsten’s apathy, Olivia Landry’s Theater of Anger, and Robert Walter-Jochum’s Theater of Outrage into contact with affect, this article uncovers how Rau’s tribunal theatre, in its creation of a jurisdiction located in the future – a prefiguration for what these spaces should look like – serves as a call to justice that breaks with the apathy of the present.

Keywords: Milo Rau, NTGent, IIPM, theater of anger, theater of outrage, preformation

How to Cite:

Climenhaga, L., (2023) “(P(Re))Forming Justice: Milo Rau’s Trials and Tribunals”, Documenta 41(2): 3, 53-83. doi:

Download PDF
View PDF



Published on
20 Dec 2023
Peer Reviewed