*fAstiWELL* / by fariba mosleh

… bam, bam, bam. Though BXL is not the largest city, everyday starts another interesting festival in another exciting venue with a worth to checkout program. I absolutely can’t catch up with it. But well, that’s not the aim of this experiment, this blog. One never can have a holistic quantitative approach to culture and art production (and consumption), especially not if in favor of several (partly overlapping) fields. So I’ve to make choices.
This week’s highlights are definitely the Tashweesh Festival at Beursschouwburg and Festival des Libertés at Théâtre National de la Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles.

Tashweesh comes up with a very tense program in performing art, poetry slam, discussions, concerts etc. highlighting female artists with relation to the Middle East and Northern African Arabic world. I had the pleasure to attend Small Talk on feminist artistic practice by the poetry slamers Mona Moon (based in Berlin) and Samira Saleh (based in Brussels) before they and 6 other slamers rocked the house at the Slam Night.

Festival des Libertés host critical and reflecting events on a dialogue in the formats of screenings, debates, conference, exposition, DJing and concerts, all of them also in one spot which spreads a great vivid and on the topic festival affair.
Yesterday’s concert of political reggae singer Protege with The Groundations was fantastic. Full house, smaller concerts afterwards, and in the frame of the photo exhibition focussing the topic of becoming a widow in different areas of the world.
I am extremely looking forward of tonight’s highlight - Afro Beat with Femi Kuti! It’s gonna be my third concert to see from him, and I am sure it’s gonna be intense like ever.

The impression that the festivalisation of culture is tremendously far developed here in Brussels and beyond, is also approved if I am looking onto the upcoming program of diverse institutions, culture hubs and so on in the region. I am not sure, how I think about that. It is going into that direction in all major cities. Due to financing, merchandising, focussing, foregrounding the respective topics. That is highly interesting, intense and important on the one hand. It is possible to create a very focussing atmosphere for a certain period of time and therefore create a sensitivity and platform for these themes. On the other hand, it’s getting harder and harder to catch up with the multitude of festivals with more and less important and qualitative contents. It is such a speedy thing, either you jump into it or you just miss it. You have established festivals of high quality, fix starters for years, then those which are popping up and shutting down. How sustainable are the contents highlighted for a few days or weeks for the rest of the year? Where is all that energy going to? … It’s a huge topic I am addressing here, and I won’t further discuss it at this point. It’s certainly something culture producers as consumers are confronted with.

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