This is the third letter in a cycle of Open Letters to the Circus. This letter is written in the context of ‘The Circus Dialogues’, a two-year research project led by Bauke Lievens, Quintijn Ketels and Sebastian Kann. ‘The Circus Dialogues’ expands on Bauke Lievens’ previous research project, ‘Between Being and Imagining: towards a methodology for artistic research in contemporary circus’. Both projects are financed by the Arts Research Fund of the University College Ghent (BE).
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.*
In ‘Deep Present’ (2018) Seoul-based director Jisun Kim stages four artificial intelligences (AIs) that either dialogue or ruminate about ‘outsourcing’ and its implications, i.e. the displacement and delegation of the production of goods or services to subcontractors, typically in regions where labor is cheaper.
Acclaimed director Milo Rau knows like no other how to deal with collective traumas. In La Reprise, however, he overplays his hand as he tries to combine the violent murder of Ihsane Jarfi with a meta-theatrical reflection about reality on stage.
Nationalist questions have been addressed regularly in performing arts over the past years. Etcetera asked curators Nat Muller and Sandra Noeth to enter in conversation about the connection between the body and identity politics. During the editing process Tunde Adefioye, member of Etcetera’s circle of advisory editors made some notes alongside this dialogue.
The lack of black choreographers/ black voices in Contemporary Dance has created a large gap in the understanding of blackness, allowing that label to be thrown at any choreographer who bears the racial marking of being black. In the solo work Mercurial George by the Montreal-based choreographer Dana Michel, she confronts this racial imposition heads on, creating an anarchist ecology of things where identity and blackness can emerge in this illegible yet affectively charged mode of experience.
The American director Annie Dorsen has been working for some years on a series of projects she calls ‘algorithmic theater’. Etcetera asked Dorsen to ellaborate on this notion. What inspires her? What problems or questions arise when working with algorithms?