A bust of Aristotle stares out at the audience. A vaguely Romantic-style landscape depicting men riding horses next to snarling dogs hangs from the ceiling. I have no idea which exact painting it is but that hardly matters. It’s familiar, as if it were from any gallery in Europe. In amongst this miniature impression of a museum, Thomas Bellinck sits on one of those typical minimalist-style benches commonly found in museums. Bellinck is no stranger to these spaces, having already created a future museum to the former European Union in his previous work ‘Domo de Eŭropa Historio en Ekzilo’ (‘House of European History in Exile’). This new work provides ample critique of the cultural institutions that uphold the Europe’s problematic version of history.
‘Penelope Sleeps’ begins in medias res. Three performers, lying as though dead onstage, and a small harmonium plus, I suspect, a Casiotone await you when you enter. You too take a seat onstage, the audience forming a semicircle around the performers, and you look out into the darkened auditorium where you usually sit during a theatre performance. Still lying with her back on the floor, Mette Edvardsen starts telling a story about a small spider in her parents’ guest room and the fear that this type of arthropod fills her with. Telling comes down to reading aloud: both Edvardsen and the audience see the text projected in three languages on a small screen that hangs front right.
Deux spectacles annulés dans le même festival à Gand à cause de refus de visas: il y a un problème avec la mobilité internationale des artistes. Surtout quand ces artistes adressent dans leur travail des questions importantes concernant le passé colonial de la Belgique, tout en montrant la richesse de la scène congolaise. Gia Abrassart nous propose ici une déambulation réflexive en compagnie du chorégraphe Faustin Linyekula et du metteur en scène Michael Disanka. Deux générations au coude à coude. Le corps et la respiration comme territoires ultimes à occuper et le Congo comme acte vital pour honorer des héros anonymes : les danseurs du ballet national du Zaïre dans Histoire(s) du Théâtre II et la jeunesse congolaise dans Sept Mouvements Congo.
In August of 2014, artist, writer and storyteller Ogutu Muraya moved from Nairobi to Amsterdam to begin a Master’s degree in Theatre at the Academy of Theatre and Dance. During his stay in the Netherlands, both as a student and a graduate, he started a practice of writing at least 200 words a day. He was not always successful in reaching his target, but he maintained the practice periodically and plans to keep it going until he moves out of Amsterdam, back to Nairobi, on July 5th 2019, when his current residency permit expires. This exercise started as a way to map and locate his inner self against an unfamiliar backdrop and over time grew into a personal archive with over 150,000 words. Muraya is in the process now of returning to this archive with the aim of reconstructing the texts into a kind of fragmented memoir essay where he seeks to understand the challenges of his diaspora experience.
Since October 2018 Dries Douibi and Daniel Blanga Gubbay form, together with Sophie Alexandre, the new directors of Kunstenfestivaldesarts. Since 1994, the bilingual festival brings performance artists from all over the world to Brussels. How does the new team deal with the relationship between the local and the international in a superdiverse city? How to make sure that international artists can really leave their trace and avoid exotification?
According to Bruno Latour, the defining cultural-political issue of our time is not the struggle between the Left and the Right, but that between the Local and the Global attractor. In Down to Earth (2017), the philosopher tries to put his finger on a new reference point: the Terrestrial. At the centre of his reflection is the question as to how, in times of global warming and increased migration flows, we can make habitable territories together, beyond splendid isolation and beyond the abysmal globalization impulse. What do his insights mean for the connection between the performing arts and their geographic context? An attempt at coherence.
I can give two accounts of Sachli Gholamalizad’s solo performance Let us believe in the beginning of the cold season, which premiered on May 11 at KVS in the frame of KFDA. First one: It is a show by a very virtuosic performer, sliding back and forth between semi-autobiographical storytelling, video interviews of Gholamalizad’s mother, spoken poetry of Forugh Farrokhzad’s verses, and singing; a show that is built on the hyphenations of the performer’s identity across Iran and Belgium, with the modular light and screen fixture as a material aid for, as well as a metaphor of, such division of sense of belonging. This account is not necessarily untrue, and it wouldn’t spoil the work’s pleasure for the potential viewers. The other story I might tell is less pleasant, and precisely about the problem of pleasure.