London - the one and only* by fariba mosleh

Brussels, I felt so much in love with you! Going to Gare du Midi and taking the train — 2hours later you are in the heart of the simply coolest city ever - LONDON, for me still the most dynamic, inspiring, craziest city in Europe. It’s the total materialization of capitalism. Money is simply running out of all your pockets but there is so much going on in the field of urban development, art and culture production and that on all societal levels and in many areas.
Happy about the opportunity to visit our friend, the artist Catharina Bond from Vienna, who does her MA in sculpture at the Royal College of Art and sneaking through its artist’s studios :)
Currently I am quite content to have returned to BXL but took something of the atmosphere with me and I am looking already forward to my next visit.

YOU WON’T BELIEVE WHAT COMES OUT OF YOUR MOUTH WHEN YOU’RE WEARING A GORILLA MASK!
— Guerrilla Girls

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Don’t forget to vote …

for EUROPE this weekend***

*finally in the intoxication of KUNSTENFESTIVALDESARTES 2019* by fariba mosleh

What exciting times for experimental theatre and performance enthusiasts, professionals and those who will become it - the unique kunstenfestivaldesartes opened its 3-weeks program this weekend with many premiers, encounters, parties in cultural spots on many places all over the city and at this year's festival centre Recyclart in Molenbeek and the adjacent Charleroi danse

Besides my own work for the festival I saw Norwegian theater maker Mette Edwardsen's new piece Penelope Sleeps with composer Matteo Fargion and the singer Angela Hicks at Kaaitheater. It’s a perfectly staged, calm poetic work with an appealing touch of humor. Not only dealing with literature referring to Odysseus' Penelope waiting for her husband, but also coming up with questions on contemporary opera with the aria of the singer.

Personally most thrilling was obviously the Belgian premier of Federico León’s work Yo escribo, vos dibujas with my daughter Flora :) … I like this complex piece on synchronicity each time a see it even more.
See also*

Meanwhile also the Wiener Festwochen have been opened - first time under the artistic direction of former kunstenfestivaldesarts maker Christophe Slagmuylder. Serveral productions from kunsten will also be shown there, as Federico León’s work for instance.

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KNUST not KUNSTEN by fariba mosleh

There is a new festival in this town of festivals! This week the doors of former Design Depot at Quai du Hainaut opened its doors for the first addition of KNUST Festival, Brussels Transversal Arts for which about 60 artists and collectives from diverse disciplines were selected for a 5-weeks residency and the development of sight specific interrelated artistic production. During this weeks the artists gonna work in this huge abandoned building with an incredibly thrilling architecture and on weekends a whole lot of program will be presented full of performances, concerts, exhibitions, workshops and exciting interventions. The whole festival relates somehow to this year’s Bauhaus’ anniversary and its Gesamtkunstwerk approach. I am very curious what there is to discover over the coming weeks … and definitely also because of the participation of Florian Nitsch with the project Recto Versus Verso.

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GENK not Ghent by fariba mosleh

Juhu* Genk again! At the train station the guy from the info office asked me 3times if I not want to go to Ghent, but I told him no to Genk, I’ve already been there.
Today is the first day of my second trip to the city of Genk in the Flemish province of Limburg with a population of about 66.000 people. I am assisting the Italian artist Francesca Grilli with the artistic research for the EU-project Acupuncture in cooperation with C-Takt and In-Situ. I have to confess, it’s surprisingly exciting. We have the pleasure of having a plentitude of thrilling encounters and get to know manifold picture of this city, a wetland area where a hundred years ago lived about 1.000 people.
For the first 3-day visit in April we were diving into the exciting history of the city from the urban development, industrial and social perspective - the landscape painters settling down here inspired by the natural surrounding at the beginning of the 20th century, the history of the 3 coal mines which made people from all over Europe to migrate to Genk and then the huge Ford company employing up to 12.000 people in Genk producing around 2.000 cars per day … crazy place this town! The mines were closed in the late 1980ies and the last Ford was produced here in 2014 before transmitting the production to Spain. Hence, Genk is an innovative place investing into opportunities for the people also after social disasters like thousands of people suddenly loosing their jobs … so we also got to know Thorpark specialized in new technologies and education or C-Mine, an wonderful cultural center - both are former mines transformed into sites of the 21st century…

This time we are focussing more on the contemporary live in Genk getting to know the underground hip hop scene talking to 3rd generation Italian migrant rappers, visiting one of the big mosques, interviewing former Ford-workers and 1st generation Italian migrants …
Let’s see what comes out of this research - we gonna propose an art piece in public space - and I am already happy about the opportunity to get to know this city, its past and current plans for the future; quite inspiring for a woman grown up in an culturally poor industrial area on the Austrian countryside …

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*an exciting journey* by fariba mosleh

Meanwhile the rehearsal for Federico León’s production Yo escribo, vos dibujás at Les Halles de Schaerbeek has started. 23 locals are going on a journey with 2 professionals and a team of theater makers from Argentina and Belgium. It is always exciting and very special for every participant to be part of an community engaged art project. This piece is one of them and I can tell you that much - it’s a unique piece for actors as well as for the audience.
Flora will perform within this piece the 11th and 12th of May 3pm and the 13th of May 8:30pm.
See also here.

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ART*BRUXELLES*ART by fariba mosleh

Oh WoMan, what a week - if you are into contemporary visual art and in BXL!?!
With Brussels Art Week in autumn this is the second week of the year when the city is full of art enthusiasts, artists, curators, gallerists, collectors and so on - it’s the week of ART BRUSSELS, the most important art fair in Belgium with all it’s satellite projects and parallel fair like Poppositions (nicely referred to as “poppo”), Gallery Night on Wednesday etc. Those who know me and art fairs, know that this is not really the place where I feel super comfortable and appreciate how art is handled … it’s of course a concept to be critical about. BUT it’s my second time here at Art Brussels and it’s surrounding program and I have to underline that I haven’t felt as comfortable on any art fair so far as I do in Brussels. It is staged in the beautiful atmospheric Tour and Taxis building next to the canal. It’s international, not too big and not too small. They try out different formats like inviting artists and galleries, giving juried solo shows to young artists or presenting rediscovered gallery positions. One can feel as a visitor that the exhibitors are enjoying their time at this fair, there is an open atmosphere, vivid bar life and you can easily get into conversations with one another.

Also the atmosphere in the galleries in town with an incredible amount of exhibitions starting this week is a unique one … a lot of people from the fair take their time to go and also see those. What I like about it most is the cooperation between the many art institution in this city and beyond. If you have a look into to the booklet of Art Brussels you get information about diverse art institutions - on- as well as off-spaces - and their program of these days. That’s really special and I appreciate it a lot. They are kind of working together - from so called commercial high end to non-commercial art facilitators.

It was special fun to meet several artists exhibited with whom I already worked with and from my time at ISCP New York***

Have a look to the pics which give a little impression about what’s going on these days artwise in Brussels.

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Greetings from kunsten ... by fariba mosleh

… it’s official, after the casting the end of March Flora will be part of Federico León’s production Yo escribo. Vos dibujás at this year’s kunstenfestivaldesartes, opening the 10th of May. Greetings from the kick-off at the kunsten office in a welcoming atmosphere full of pleasant anticipation. Rehearsal starts next week … so does my work for the festival …

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Back in sunny Bruxelles*** by fariba mosleh

After a great and intense trip to family, friends and colleagues in Austria, I am extremely happy to be back to Brussels. Another 10 hour journey and Brussels shows itself from its most beautiful side. Springtime, flowers bloom and smell wonderful. People are spreading an even better mood than already the rest of the year. Although we’ve been traveling north-west, it feels like going to warm south.
So much looking forward to the upcoming intense working time and exciting projects***

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Today* casting... by fariba mosleh

Today casting at MILL STUDIO, the rehearsal spaces of the renown Need Company for Argentinean author, theater and movie director Federico León’s production Yo escribo. Vos dibujás. It will be shown at this year’s edition of kunstenfestivaldesartes in May. León works with two Argentinean professional artists and with 23 local performers, professionals and non-professionals, kids, skaters, elderlies, etc. They’ll work together and develop the piece on-sight within ten days. Besides Brussels, it’s gonna be staged in Buenos Aires, Porto and at the Wiener Festwochen, at each location with 23 locals.
Well, it’s not me, who came for the casting … it’s my daughter Flora … she says, she has a good feeling*
to be continued ;)

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BIG small talk* by fariba mosleh

I love Small Talks at Beursschouwburg! These are not academic lectures, but more of kind of spontaneous talk of experts on certain topic, but still are intense and good in respect of content. It’s an accessible format at eye level in the Beurscafé and with such a concentrated and often critical audience it can end up in constructive reflective dialogues. Yesterday so with the invited guest Malika Hamidi, intellectual, activist and expert in islamic feminism, on the topic of Spirituality and activism, hosted by Atefeh Sadeghi.

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*homo deus frankenstein* by fariba mosleh

Wuhu* what a special pleasure to see the wonderful Austrian dancer Martina Rösler performing in the Austro-Belgian production for youngsters 8+ HOMO DEUS FRANKENSTEIN with my daughter Flora at Bronks Theater Brussels. The Austrian director Sara Ostertag (makemake produktionen) and the Belgian director Johan De Smet (Kopergietery) joined for a performance based on the topics of Goethe’s Faust, Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein and Harari’s Homo Deus to bring it into absolute present age. Dance meets drama (with Belgian actress Marjan De Schutter), video projections and a composition by Belgian composer Frederik Neyrinck for the five musicians of I SOLISTI ensemble. These seem to be the ingredients for dealing with the important questions of past and present, constant change, humans versus robots and of how becoming better versions of ourselves.
The great live sound and the perfect scenography are immediately convincing. They let the viewer dive into the piece on a beautiful and light-footed journey through our and especially our young generation’s seemingly most difficult and unanswered themes of a common future***

Check out Schäxpir Theatre Festival for young audience for performances of Homo Deus Frankenstein in Austria in June 2019.
For the whole blog of the brusselsARTproject click here.

Last day Performatik19*** by fariba mosleh

Saturday 3pm at Bozar, the Performatik crowd is gathering in the Horta Hall to see The allegory of the painted woman, a performance by artist and choreographer Alexis Blake. Four musicians and the two dancer Nafisah Baba and Marika Meoli enter the stage. One performer starts with instructions “Magdalena, Anastasia, Cecilia, Salomé, Daphne, Venus, …” , all female characters of classical paintings. The other performer starts to take on the related positions. The oral instructions stop, the music starts and both dancers start to move synchronically according to the sound. The performers are very good, every move and all sound seems to be perfect, but I am not sure if the space provides the right setting. Even though the dancer’s outfits are perfectly fitting to Horta Hall’s marble floor, it may have been stronger in a setting which offers more contrasts, an exhibition space which shows some of the kind of women figures and their assigned roles, issues like gender, representation questions to reflect upon. I am not sure, but I liked this half an hour.


Wow* 10 days of The Brussels Biennial of Performance Art are already over again. It was an extremely broad and comprehensive program, as usual not enough time to see everything I wanted to, but happy about each single event I could make it to.
Looking already forward to 2021***

For the whole blog of the brusselsARTproject click here.

7-storey voices* by fariba mosleh

As a big fan of the unique WIELS building in Forest district, I very much like the idea of former Wiels resident, choreographer and performer Ula Sickle to use the 7-storey staircase as stage for a Bauhaus inspired sound performance or intervention as I consider it. InVoice ascending a staircase Ula Sickle & Hyoid are moving backward from ground to top floor, singing and stroking the handrail. A simple and accessible concept.
The piece Relay by Ula Sickle will also be on view at this year’s edition of Wiener Festwochen, first time under the artistic direction of Christoph Slagmylder.

For the whole blog of the brusselsARTproject click here.

Underneath which rivers flow by fariba mosleh

Performatik19 - four days left. It’s a biennial, people interested in the field are focussing and trying to see as much as possible … Jozef Wouters’ work Underneath which rivers flow with people from open house for artists and humans of all background Globe Aroma is definitely the Performatik19 production I’ve heard most so far. Although they scheduled additional performances it was hardly possible to get a ticket. People were stating things like “Jozef Wouters created a wonder” (Mattheu Goeury, artistic directer of Kunstencentrum Vooruit).
I was looking forward anyway to see that production of Damaged Goods and Globe Aroma, co-produced by Netwerk Aalst … but now I went to see it with certain expectations, what in this case didn’t let me down.
Entering the hidden space in Decoratelier in Molenbeek through the meanwhile famous whole in the wall - the starting point of the performative adventure - is indeed a wonder, a miracle, the first minutes have a kind of fairy tale or Alice in the wonderland style … it’s a huge unexpected space or even microcosmos created within the last year in a collaboration between the artist Jozef Wouters and the autonomous artists of Globe Aroma. Even though it’s a highly politicized territory in the midst of urban planning, an in-between stage between factory and park, those people created a fantastic world as far away and as near to political reality at the same time … These artists, poets and dreamers as they call themselves have been creating a garden a fantastic garden or urban landscape giving shape to their thoughts, dreams and wishes and sharing these with the audience. Every artist has worked out his own project ranging form building a wooden bicycle, an outsized two-storey Italian expresso machine up to the replica of ones room within a refugee shelter. Gradually disenchanting this utopian world while letting the audience enter it and starting a face-to-face discourse brings this whole artistic process back into reality. Underneath which rivers flow acts as an inspiring pool of ideas for a common living…

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*to the monastary to fort beau and back - another day at performatik* by fariba mosleh

Well, all of a sudden I kind of stepped into it and found myself in the middle of a ritual area with soil and candle light all over accompanied by video projections introducing the rituals and sound as well as some people participating in the rituals -THE MONASTARY Bardo Stastes, a live ritual by Ella alias Elke Van Campenhout and Rovert Steijn presented by Zsenne Artlab.
In the center of attention a pile of soil with one person resting and mediating buried beneath it already nearly for 6 hours that day and about half an hour before excavation.
I haven’t been involved in formal rituals for an indefinite time. The whole ritual installation was divided into the DIY stations for individual ritual practices (introduced via descriptive video projections and text sheets) dealing with the process of dying and death, and the into soil buried body of the performance artist Ella soon to be excavated through a common ritual of all the people in the space. Even though it was all about the process around death it was such a wonderful atmosphere calming down people’s busy and multi-focused minds. The practice was inspired by Tibetan buddhism rituals of bardo states within the biennale for performance art. It was such a privilege to be part of that practice today*

An hour later a few meters further at Kaaistudio’s a lecture performance by Pieter van Bogaert on his book in progress Fort Beau. Chapter1: The end started within Performatik19.
Pieter van Bogaert introduced himself as being not a performance artist but an art critic and sometimes curator and well, this introduction became program. Although he touched interesting topics and fantastic artists like Bas Jan Ader and his falling and failing series, it was not more than a lecture and for me personally quite inexpressively after the strong bardo states practicing.

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Submission submission by fariba mosleh

Premiere at Beursschouwbourg yesterday within Performatik19!
I've already heard a few things about the performance artist Bryna Fritz, originally from Chicago now based in Belgium, and I was really curious about this young women trained at P.A.R.T.S as a dancer. What is her approach to contemporary performance art?
The premiere of the 40 minutes stage piece Submission submission was everything but disappointing. She does a portrayal of the four ancient roman and medieval female saints Christina of Bolsena, Hildegard of Bingen, Christina the Astonishing and Joan of Arc bridging them with 21st century's IT.
This she did in such a cool and accessable way. Using our everyday's working tool - the laptop desktop screen as the whole stage design and the element of performance itself. Besides the good sound, some text reading and a short tongue-body movement, which referred to Christina of Bolsena's torture through tearing out her tongue, the projection of her desktop screen and the graphical movements of the elements like letters or desktop folders with its titles has been choreographed.  
Fritz tremendously emancipated herself from the background as a dancer even though the short element of tongue-performance where one could see that she actually knows how move every element of her body in order to express precice messages.
With this kind of digital poetry and choreography reflecting the life and thoughts of important (western) figures of history Bryana Fritz creates a unique performative form of dialogue with the audience.
Want to see more of her works***

For the whole blog of the brusselsARTproject click here.

It's open NOW - Performatik19 by fariba mosleh

Performance vs. Art vs. Performance, an ongoing discussion and the theme of the Opening Salon of this year’s Performatik. Yeah, I was so much looking forward to it and yesterday it was opened at Kaaitheater, THE BRUSSELS BIENNIAL OF PERFORMANCE ART.
For the Opening Salon, one out of seven conversations with artists, curators and academics within the biennial, Catherine Wood (Tate Modern performance curator), Jimmy Robert (performance artist) and Daniel Blanga Gubbay (artistic direction of kunstenfestivaldesarts) talked about Performance in contemporary art, also the title of the publication Wood has been giving an introduction to. The talk was quite harmonious, touching classics and the evolution of performance out of the museums context, being neither visual art nor dance or theatre - another specific medium. What caught my attention most where the thoughts on the contradiction of performance in the white cube vs in the black box. For me working in visual art and the performing art as well this problematic is so tangible. Then again there are existing so many other kinds of spaces where contemporary performance is staged that it becomes way more diverse. Towards the end of the talk the conversation got a bit stuck in question of performance as a medium or as an attitude. I couldn’t really relate to Wood’s point of view that it is an attitude … yes, partly of course, but isn’t then all kind of art an artist’s attitude?
Let’s go from theory into practice. Within the next 10 days there’s gonna be plenty of contemporary performance art, experiments and discourse on performance in 12 different cultural hubs in Brussels. Many questions on performance art will be answered, new one will be popping up. Check out the program*

I assume my joyful anticipation has been one of the reasons why I felt the opening performance We are waiting for you by French artist based in Belgium Laure Prouvost was so disappointing for me. Coming from film she staged objects, images and texts, worked with a kind of ‘expanded cinema’ … I will try to make it to her current exhibition in Antwerp, which possibly helps me to understand more her artistic practice, this deconstruction of the object-based gallery and museum as well as the drama and theater context via performance art. Still, except several interesting details and dramaturgical ideas, the performance didn’t tell me a story of my interest.
Well, for now I am totally looking forward to tonight’s premiere of Bryana Fritz’s performance Submission submission at Beursschouwburg.

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SAME SAME SAME SHAME*** by fariba mosleh

WOW, what an incredible powerful and progressive opening was that yesterday at VOORUIT of Same, same but different - International arts festival on decolonisation and identity !?!
I am still excited about yesterday’s trip to Ghent. VOORUIT, an extremely contemporary arts and culture HUB staging a diverse range of art events from multiple disciplines in a building from the early 20th century, when socialist build it already as an art center with a ballroom and the like - unimaginable that a cultural agenda like this is staged in an building like that in Vienna (till now at least and in that dimension).
Those who attended the welcome words of artistic director, Matthieu Goeury, followed by the powerful opening speech by Heleen Debeuckelaere (Black speak Back) could hear and feel that this festival really wants to achieve and change something.
Directly after the speeches the festival was artistically opened with the screening of the documentary FAIRE-PART by the two Congolese and two Belgium directors ANNE REIJNIERS, NIZAR SALEH, PAUL SHEMISI & ROB JACOBS. The four managed to create an unique portrait about Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, former Belgian colony. Kinshasa is known as a city who doesn’t like the camera, so it ain’t easy to film there in public. Therefore the four directors have chosen a splendid way of capturing the atmosphere on the streets of Kinshasa - they decided to shot a film about Congolese performance artists in public space. And not only that they filmed incredibly powerful performances but they also reflected their approach within the movie. Great*
After that opening part the audience again was invited to move on the café of Vooruit and join the performance ‘#PUNK’ by NORA CHIPAUMIRE staged in the middle of the café and everybody could move around the stage and via the glass front also passersby could see the strong performance with great sound.
It’s convincing that Vooruit and its partner institutions for the festival Same same but different want to DECOLONIZE !!! minds, habits, thoughts, and simply the colonized. Check out the full program!

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Moussem Cities*** by fariba mosleh

As I’ve stated on other occasion already, I’ve to repeat that Brussels has an enormous output of festivals in the art and culture field. And I’ve to confess that I am impressed by the intense programs and high quality of those festivals!
Friday I've been at this year’s festival center Lagrane Points, a Brussels-based organisation devoted to the promotion of arabic literature, music and art. Which festival?
The 4th edition of annual festival MOUSSEM Cities, launched by Moussem Nomadic Arts Center, which every year puts a focus on a different city. 2019 it’s DAMASCUS, following Tunis, Beirut and Casablanca. In cooperation with artists and experts from Damascus they’ve created a multidisciplinary program with performances, exhibitions, concerts, lectures and discussions portraying the “scattered artistic scene” of Syria’s capital.
Partners for the festival are KAAI Theater, Globe Aroma and Bozar. This night’s lecture by architect Saraa Saleh at Lagrange deals with the influence of architecture and urban planning of Damascus on shaping identity. After a quite interesting intro on the history of the city, we had the incredible honor to listen and talk to the Syrian journalist Zeina Shahla, based in Damascus all her live, via videophone. It felt so beautiful and haunting all of a sudden being in a direct connection with Syria. Zeina Shahla is 36 years old and is writing in Arabic and English on humanitarian and social issues for local as well as international media. She talked openly about her life, her personal relation to the city of Damascus, why she loves and hates it at the same time and doesn’t want to leave Damascus. What an impressive and powerful women***

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On Balconies and Utopia* by fariba mosleh

In times of pan-European neo-nationalism, Brexit and co, it is so important and energizing to meet people with inspiring ideas towards a consistent, united and positive future of Europe. So the case at the recent panel discussion On Balconies and Utopia at BOZAR organized by Forum Alpbach Brussels, the European Forum Alpbach and the Austrian Cultural Forum Brussels. After the proclaiming the European Republic the 11th of November 2018 among thousands of culture producers also in our StudioOne Apartment in Brussels, it was great to attend a follow up event discussing A new story for Europe in an refreshing interactive format moderated by Austrian ORF correspondent Tim Cupal. Guest on the panel where Ulrike Guérot (European Democracy Lab), Milo Rau (NT Ghent), Markus Ferber (Member of the European Parliament) and Annamária Tóth (European Forum Alpbach) and there was the chance to take the free seat after the fishbowl-principle for everyone from the audience who wished to discuss on stage.
Besides some refreshing statements and ideas the whole evening turned into a kind of powerful argument between Guérot and Ferber, the one portrayed as a utopian and the other as the realist. Hence, I astonished more and more the insistence of Guérot, an expert and intellectual, on her one single point she insists on and came up with again and again from different perspectives. Yes, in a European Union where it is possible to define a date from which on several countries abandon their old currency and have a shared one, there it is definitely possible to define a date from which on the member states take on a trans-European perspective and abandon nation-based law in favor of equal law for all citizens of Europe. It may sound like utopia but it’s actually possible. I completely go along with Guérot when she says that what weakens the European Union and the political parties who want to strengthen it are having no visions of a future of Europe. It seems that they even don’t dare to think of a Europe of the citizens. What a failur, especially on the eve of the European elections in May 2019!
If Europe want a unity in diversity we need to institutionalize solidarity and come up with a common law***
That’s the only fruitful solution for a united story of Europe!

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