Rathsaran Sireekan schrijft onder andere voor Etcetera en Art Asia Pacific. Hij studeerde kunstgeschiedenis aan het Londense University College. Zijn onderzoeksveld ligt op het snijpunt tussen kunst en politiek, en tussen Azië en Europa.
After several projects which look into ways to expand performing art’s notion of ‘spectatorship’ beyond the predominance of the visual, Vera Tussing’s new project at the Kaaitheater, though still relying on it, goes beyond just the touch of the hand.
South Korean artist Eunkyung Jeong’s interdisciplinary work at TAZ#2019 recalls the structure versus agency debate in social sciences—whether we are the product or disruptor of the society we grew up and live in. But by yoking elements and strategies not immediately associable with one another (such as a flashlight, a basement, drawings and personal family stories) she effects agency in relation to one’s own place in cultural arrangements which frame one’s choices and opportunities. This results in a refreshing and empowering artistic contribution to the debate.
Anyone associating ‘De Keersmaeker’ and P.A.R.T.S. mainly with ‘dance’ is surprised by the fact that over three quarters of the ‘choreography’ and performance informing Somnia pivots on the narratives adapted from William Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream (1595/96) and Johannes Kepler’s Somnium (1608)—the former being much more recognizable in the show than the latter.
American dancer and choreographer Trajal Harrel marks his first appearance at Brussels’s renowned Kunstenfestivaldesarts (KFDA) with a show which borders performing arts and visual art. Made up of two parts: Dancer of the Year and Dancer of the Year Shop—the former, a dance performance, the latter, an installation-performance—the show’s interdisciplinary nature resonates with the recent 2019 edition of Performatik, the Brussels biennale for ‘live art’, which has just ended.
Contemporary art’s desire to be ‘contemporary’, for many practitioners, interestingly comes with the impulse, or some may say necessity, to bring back the past to the ‘now’. Major trends in contemporary dance, Yvonne Hardt observed, have seen not only reconstruction of or reference to historical dance pieces, but also conversion of the stage into a site for archiving dance performatively. But the nexus between the new and the old in performing arts is rarely considered in the context of globalization and postcolonial debates. This text wants to be part of a growing body of work aiming to fill this gap.
The sixth edition of Performatik, the Brussels biennale for ‘live art’, this year continues with its legacy to explore the interface between performing arts and visual art in today’s artistic practices. While the fourth edition focused on the disruption of viewing positions inherent in cross-boundary practices, and the fifth on the shrinkage of social space and how live art could make use of the body to intervene with ‘social sculpting’, Performatik19 is more ambitious than ever. The 2019 curatorial, while keeping the preoccupations of the previous editions intact, foregrounds two related elements integral to the field. On the one hand, the performativity of performance and the possibility to intervene into that condition where authority governs articulations usually taken as ‘natural’. On the other, the unravelling of the disciplinary boundaries which separate different fields in the arts as well as the institutional spaces in which they are embedded, hence its emphasis on trans-disciplinarity. This includes the undoing of the dividing lines between stage, museum, gallery, the outdoor public space and the everyday life.
Het verlangen van hedendaagse kunst om ‘hedendaags’ te zijn, gaat voor veel makers samen met de ingeving – of de noodzaak – om het verleden terug te brengen naar het ‘nu’. De trend in hedendaagse dans om te verwijzen naar historische dansen of ze te reconstrueren, gaat gepaard met een transformatie van het podium tot een site waar dans op performatieve wijze gearchiveerd wordt. De band tussen het nieuwe en het oude wordt echter zelden in overweging genomen in de context van debatten over globalisering en het postkoloniale. Deze tekst wil deel uitmaken van een groeiende verzameling werken die die leemte willen opvullen.
War and revolution are two terms almost interchangeable. They appeared in the titles of the double bill on the inaugural night of the 2018 edition of the Bâtard Festival at Beursschouwburg. With no hierarchy suggested, the programming flexibly allowed the audience to start their evening with either Cezary goes to war by director Cezary Tomaszewksi or Tell me about the revolution by artist Farbod Fathinejadfard. Both are totally different in moods, but they set out for the same thing: politics.
At their first encounter with director Alice Bogaerts’s and dramaturg Marleen Ilg’s stage adaptation of Howard Buten’s When I was Five, I Killed Myself, spectators of the first part of Stadsnomaden2 are first put into disorientation. For those who already know the storyline of Buten’s novella on which the play is based, they might wonder how a lone tantalising adult male body and a minimalist scenography would spatially play out the story of Burt, a troubled eight-year-old boy who, while being placed in a mental institution, is caught having sex with Jessica, his fellow child patient from the same ward.
The Kunstenfestivaldesarts (KFDA)’s commitment to promoting ‘cosmopolitan vision as an antidote to intolerance of all kinds’, at least for its 2018 edition, has gone beyond the fashionable inclusiveness. The incorporation of the Singaporean artist Ho Tzu Nyen’s One or Several Tigers and, especially Macaquinhos from Brazil in its 2018 programming shows KFDA’s engagement in redefining ‘cosmopolitanism’ as a condition which involves self-criticism, ‘resist[ing] all kinds of self-centredness’—the most hegemonic and perennial of which is Eurocentrism.*