*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.

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.

For the whole blog of the brusselsARTproject click here.

Back to the future* by fariba mosleh

Very simple from the concept and questionable if necessary (except to economical and marketing questions), but I did it - joining Rosas & tg STAN at Kaai Theater to see the anniversary re-staging of 1999’s QUARTETT after 20 years.

Entering the space the sound took you immediately onto a trip back into the late 90ies (if you’ve experienced them as not the whole dance enthusiastic audience could state - even though there’ve been many who had seen the performance already when it premiered). TECHNOOOO … I thought of style, aesthetics, age, physical appearance when I thought about the piece that had been shown with the original performers Cynthia Loemij and Frank Vercruyssen, but I didn’t think of was the very obvious fact of sound. Even though it played only a role around the beginning and in the middle of the piece, it was a crucial element. The two performed the text by Heiner Müller perfectly and probably even better than 20 years ago - I don’t know. What I could see is that Cynthia brought her body language even into more perfection. It’s interesting to think of rivals of contemporary dance history’s classics, but I’ve to confess that I couldn’t feel the immediacy and relevance the piece might have had a 20 years ago … After the performance I noticed big applause as well as relief around me in the audience.

While the text used to overwhelm me, I have now become much more aware of its layers and contradictions. It is simultaneously complex and simple, sad, cruel, but also funny. Our performance is less serious than it was twenty years ago.
— Cynthia Loemij, BRUZZ 18/1/2019
“I want to be your midwife to death.”
— Heine Müller "Quartett"

For the whole blog of the brusselsARTproject click here.

BRIT(ish)*AUThenticity by fariba mosleh

Somehow, I didn’t make it to the 3rd talk, but the happier I am to have had the chance to attend the incredibly good and inspiring Conversation #4 on Authenticity of the KAAI Theater series … This time on race, identity, and belonging with AFUA HIRSCH. Among others, especially with the meanwhile bestseller BRIT(ish) the Guardian journalist, author and, human rights activist Afua Hirsch contributed an way important body of discussion of the hyper-contemporary discourse on the question of how long it’s gonna take that an immigrant becomes a part of a society without being asked “from where are you"?” or “the question”, as Hirsch states it, again and again.
I’ve to confess that I’ve been a bit doubting before the talk as I’ve had been occupied with that topic of P.O.C. a lot and recently was not so pleased about the direction of the discourse in the situations I heard and read about it. BUT Afua Hirsch already completely caught my attention with the extract reading out of her book. And listening to her talk afterwards made me falling in love with her and her british approach to the topic. I ended up buying the book from this inspiring lady even though I did plan not to. Now I can’t wait to start reading.
Afua’s contribution to the discourse on race and belonging within the western society has something very refreshing and contemporary as well as something down-to-earth. She combines her personal experiences and history with so much knowledge and interest for the common question lying beneath this personal question. More then emphatic she created her own space for the question of identity and opens it up for the broader discussion. I very much appreciate that*

Afua Hirsch in conversation with Heleen Debeuckelaere.

For the whole blog of the brusselsARTproject click here.