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.

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!

For the whole blog of the brusselsARTproject click here.

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***

For the whole blog of the brusselsARTproject click here.

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!

For the whole blog of the brusselsARTproject click here.

C'est pas grave la grève - a plaidoyer for the culture of STRIKING by fariba mosleh

My daughters have been attending school in Bruxelles for 5 and a half months now and today their both schools are on strike for the 4th time already. Schools, administration services, public transport, postal service, refuse collection service as well as commercial enterprises and centers are on strike today in all areas of Belgium.
I am new here and not sure about the outcomes of these strikes, but what I meanwhile realized is that this kind of citizens taking their right to demonstrate something profound concerning their working environment is not the way it should be, is widely excepted and a fundamental part of their democratic consciousness.
It means quite a lot if once a month public schools and kindergartens are not operating (there is a possibility to put them into a common nursery in some of the schools, what is quite chaotic and not most fun for kids new to town like ours).
By incident there are currently also warning strikes of the private maintenance area and social services in Austria. About 100.000 workers are on partly strike as their negotiations concerning salary increase and reduction of working time didn’t have the desired results.
What those workers here in Belgium and in Austria are doing is extremely important and a fundamental instrument of expressing worker’s rights in a democratic society. We should not forget this in turbo-capitalist times. And, these actions - often lead to better working conditions for the ones striking - at least on the long run.
I find it very alarming that as a culture producer I am working in a field without any labour union negotiating our worker’s rights. In Austria, there aren’t even existing collective labor agreements defining the income of my colleges and me, neither fighting for salary increase, working conditions, labor time questions, etc. Yes, your income as an employed cultural manager depends on individual employers. In the field of performing arts (management) for instance - only one example: there is no existing minimum wage!?! People are dependent on individuals decision in a hierarchical and highly competitive field! There will always someone be found to do that job (good or not). BUT still, nobody ever thinks on stopping working … the art sector exposes itself as super emancipated!?
Yes, there do exist IGs (Groups of Interest) for several fields of the art, articulating those problems, needs and coming up statistics, creating transparence and targeting politics … but the art and culture sector in Austria urgently needs something more mandatory!
Nobody ever comes to the point stopping to work and go on STRIKE in order to fight for necessary changes in the field.


For the whole blog of the brusselsARTproject click here.

workspace*rosas by fariba mosleh

That building and above all what’s going on inside and around that institution, founded by choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker and De Munt Opera director Bernard Foccroulle more than two decades ago, might be the reason why Belgium is the main producer of outstanding contemporary dance and performance work.
I had the great pleasure to occupy one of P.A.R.T.S. rehearsal rooms as my office last week as the artists Francesca Grilli, for whom I am doing production assistance currently, is having a residency there via workspaceBrussels.

*the holy halls of rosas are spreading their energy*
… probably as they all are unique in the sense that they are having a window front linking the rehearsing performers with the outside …

For the whole blog of the brusselsARTproject click here.

the schnormal way* by fariba mosleh

Friday Night with babysitter means that we start the evening with the double opening of the exhibitions of US artist Ellen Gallagher and Belgian artist Benoît Platéus. Under the title Liquid Intelligence Gallagher, who’s partly living in Rotterdam, presents her wide spanning painterly œvre as well as works she developed together with cineaste Edgar Cleijne. I very much appreciate the diverse materials and her special use of those. In the upper floor one can find the audio-visual installation Osedax from 2010 with a fantastic soundtrack Message From a Black Man by the ’70s soul group the Whatnauts.

Under the title One Inch Off Platéus presents a far-reaching body of works as well, whereas for me his photographic gaze is the most interesting one.

Always a bit oscillating between the visual and the performing arts, as I am, we left WIELS for the opening at Beursschouwburg of the NORMAL SCHNORMAL Festival. The months February, March and April they opening up their house with its diverse spaces (Stages, Black Box, Exhibition space, Café, etc.) for A multidisciplinary programme on normality and other deviations inviting a countless number of (inter)national artists sharing their artistic practice on this discourse …

What is normal?
Am I normal?
Do you think X, Y, and Z are normal?

We had the opportunity to see the artist Ntando Cele’s piece Black Off , a performance in three parts, first white-facing in the role of a stand-up comedian, then becoming very intimate and personal with her “natural” appearance uncovering her face from the white mask in several monologues, ending in a punk-rock concert … all offering a personal perspective on racism and socio-political topic, supported by live sound of a trio around the musician Simon Ho. I like Cele’s humorous as well as very serious approach a lot, but still I believe that the whole performance, taking 2 hours, lost a bit of its power by not stopping at the right, earlier, moment.

For the whole blog of the brusselsARTproject click here.

Beurs' BIG Conversation* by fariba mosleh

And it was REALLY big - a lot bigger than I was prepared for - fantastic*
Last Saturday THE BIG CONVERSATION on Safety and Freedom took place in Beursschouwbourg, organized in cooperation with Goethe Institut and Panoptykon Foundation. It was such an inspiring, in-depth and highly professional organized event, which gave the participants a lot of strength and new ideas for their diverse practices … 12 very diverse experts and protagonists from a multitude of disciplines of topics of interests were present to share their expertise in conversation groups of up to 15 persons. The participants had the chance to choose one out of 8 conversation tables and to attend 3 of such session á 50 minutes. There were artistic interventions during the evening and a lot of space for discourse …
Globe Aroma, an open house for art and people was invited for such an artistic intervention, reading out poems on the human rights declaration in the White Cube of Beurs. A super project*

I attended the conversations of Dietmar Kammerer about surveillance, Eva de Beardemaeker about (un)safe & playful environments and with Kritikos Pandelis Mwansa about ethnic profiling. Each of them so different and unique. This format of gathering, input, dialogue and exchange is fantastic and I am sure some sustainable alliances have been developed that night.
I personally would like to get to know far more about Eva de Beardemaeker’s project CULTUREGHEM, a community engaged experimental organisation in a huge market hall in Anderlecht … let’s check that out!

For the whole blog of the brusselsARTproject click here.

@ S.M.A.K. Ghent: Raoul de Keyser … by fariba mosleh

Finally I made it to Ghent for the first time. It’s so easy to communicate within Belgium, it only takes half an hour to go from BXL to Ghent! And once there I used the last day of exhibition to see the works of Flemish artist Raoul de Keyser, who died in 2012. I like his kind of easy accessible œvre, but especially his early works - abstract and formal at the same time, reflecting probably his own obsession with sport … quite interesting that you already in his works of the 70ies you see the occupation of the space, which is currently quite popular - when he puts paintings into the open room or puts them onto the floor leaning onto the wall.
But S.M.A.K. itself? it’s a huge and cool building with great light situations letting light in via roof lights and huge windows.
The presentation of the collection and as well the photo exhibition at the ground floor level feels a bit arbitrary … And, there is the Broodthaers Cabinet, which is quite funny to visit with kids. The humor of that artists, who by the way was born in Saint Gilles, where we currently live, is simply accessible to a certain degree.
We will come back and are curious about the upcoming exhibitions … BUT also for the many other cultural hot spots in Ghent!

surprise*surprise by fariba mosleh

Exactly when you are completely fed up with those boring and mediocre gallery presentations, you enter a high-end Brussels gallery for the first time and can’t stop stunning!
This happened to me last Thursday at the opening of the artist’s couple Martine Feipel & Jean Bechamail at Galerie Valérie Bach. In the Saint Gilles neighbourhood street you enter a nice building and can’t believe which architectural treasure is situated behind this walls!
More than a 100 years ago this fantastic hall with wooden ceiling has been a skating rink - La Patinoire Royale. Beautiful*
Well, there war also an exhibition … and that one was surprisingly good showing Constructivist, Bauhaus and Modernism inspired installations in the space and on the walls which deal with the industrial robotic under the title Automatic Revolution.

And, in the end happened something so us, which I dare to say barely would happen in all the other cities I’ve been visiting exhibition openings at galleries like those (where the personnel is just looking into their MAC-computer and neither drinks nor finger foods is offered) - the two renown artists start approaching and an interesting conversation with you. Therefore I really love Brussels! So diverse, open minded, accessible and friendly people are living here, locals, internationals, and from all kinds of social backgrounds … That’s one thing what makes Brussels for me a European city, the capital.

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.

Poor EU dedication to ART by fariba mosleh

After seeing the presentation of Austrian artist’s works at the Parliament during their European Presidency last year, I now thought it might be interesting to follow the invitation for the opening of the exhibition of Romanian artists in the Parliament correlating with the start of the Romanian Presidency of the European Union. Well, it was quite sad to attend this non-spectacle — the accreditation for “visitors” took more time than the whole opening. The “Minister of Culture and National Identity” of Romania, Valer Daniel Breaz, was present to speak after British Catherine Bearder, in charge of the artworks of the European Parliaments, last opening speech (due to Breakshit or so). The minister cut a no-story tremendously short, spoke uncomprehensibly and declared the exhibition for opened without mentioning any of the artists, who even where present … after this quick procedure no one went through the exhibition but everyone to the drinks and finger food in another area of the floor.
Well, as Robert Menasse stated in his book Die Hauptstadt culture seems to be the less important departure of all of the European institutions …

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.

BUNCH OF KUNST by fariba mosleh

Musique au cinéma, an exciting format at Cinéma Aventure in Brussels.
I saw them last year at their first concert in Vienna at Flex and it simply blew my mind away - fantastic sound by beatmaker Andrew Fearn and incredible lyrics plus performance by Jason Williamson. Together these two English guys form SLEAFORD MODS and with their manager Steve Underwood they took on the music business on their very own grass-roots terms. They’ve won ever growing attention throughout Britain, Europe and beyond within the last 4 to 5 years through creating a simply unique and contemporary form of punk rock.
Christine Franz, German director, accompanied them at the perfect period of time on the edge of bedroom recording, part-time musicians performing in tiny bars till their absolute break-through at Glastonbury Festival 2016 - which concluded in a fantastic documental portrait.

by Christina Franz 2017

For the whole blog of the brusselsARTproject click here.

The art guru* by fariba mosleh

Last Thursday I went to the first gallery opening in this very young year and it was also my first time at this gallery called Damien and the love Guru in my neighborhood, which I pass nearly everyday.
10th of January - when I reached the building and saw the incredible big crowd in front of and in the gallery it seemed that these young hipsters literally were following the call of a guru. It was hardly possible to enter the gallery or walk through the group show, see the works or to realize what’s going on in the performance … I can see the works another day … I assume the party mood is linked to the fact that there is an art school in the same street and it’s students are part of the show … the works itself don’t tell anything so far, except that I can’t find a link to the stated curatorial background of Timothy Morton’s thoughts on the future.

I know - it’s always a lot easier to criticize (in a non-constructive way), but I am gradually getting frustrated about such weak and powerless gallery presentations - even though the huge audience had a great start into a long night.

For the whole blog of the brusselsARTproject click here.

Goodbye 2018 * Hello 2019! by fariba mosleh

(C)armen Subota

Wow, it was a cultural, art intensive, and especially a highly political year! Including a job and country-change … It’s time to submerge myself for some time in order to refuel new energy for 2019.
*Bonne année * Gelukkig nieuwjaar * Happy new year * Gutes neues Jahr *

For the whole blog of the brusselsARTproject click here.

The potential of revolution?! by fariba mosleh

Voilà, my brusselsARTproject, what actually is a kind of an experiment experiencing what’s going on art and culture-wise in Europeans’s informal capital, ends with my first evening at KVS, Koninklijke Vlaamse Schouwburg, and the premiere of My revolution is better than yours, directed by Brussels-based Serbian theater maker and performer Sanja Mitrovic, produced by Caravan Production.
Well, revolution - currently one of Europeans most controversial political topics in times of neo-nationalism, local as well as pan-national movements and Jilet Jaune for instance. Mitrovic takes a look back into European history of revolution in the 20th century around 1968 and stages diverse personalities who’s life had become being revolutionaries. Starting and ending a theatre piece with a refugee from Africa giving a kind of prologue and epilogue and in between functioning as the observer of this euro-centric rehabilitation of revolutionary icons to me seems quite problematic. I would have preferred the refugee, who introduced himself as an artist living in Europe, being part of the performance - not a framework, but a performer, an artist like the others on stage.
Still, what caught my attention was the power and energy this piece broadcasted via it’s play with green-screen techniques and the sound design by Vladimir PejkoviĆ. Somehow they made it possible to put all this in time and space different events and personalities into a contemporaneity, which is quite exciting.

(c) Martin Argyroglo

(c) Martin Argyroglo

One of my wishes for 2019 - let’s become more revolutionary on stages of institutions like the KVS! In front of as well as behind the scenes - stage socio-political realities, which means diversity!

For the whole blog of the brusselsARTproject click here.

La danse avec le canard* by fariba mosleh

Chesterfield - sofas, sometimes endlessly long, always leather … the Austro-Frensh dancer and choreographer Alix Eynaudi with history at Rosas and P.A.R.T.S. showed her latest piece Chesterfield at Kaai Studios. Based on the research at Vienna’s Volkskunde Museum she developed an object based dance performance for brut Wien last year, now touring. Lucky me that I could see the production my Alix whom I know from Vienna. She performed with the 3 other dancers Mark Lorimer, Quim Pujol and Cécile Tonizzo. It is a strong, partly silent and poetic as well as intimate performance. Absolute highlight for me was Alix’s appearance performing with a leather duck with luminous eyes.
Take your chance to see it at BUDA in Kortrijk in February for instance.

(C) Christine Miess

For the whole blog of the brusselsARTproject click here.

From exhibition to meeting the author* by fariba mosleh

This week’s Wednesday eve was divided into exhibition opening and lecture.

First, I passed the opening of the current artist’s in residence exhibition at WIELS. For the exhibition on the myth of The Divine Goat the Greek resident Yiannis Skarimbas did a collaborative work with all the other residents currently working at WIELS. I think that’s a really nice approach, even though the presentation didn’t really say a lot to me … yet, it produced a nice winterly atmosphere.

Well, we hopped further and had the great pleasure to attend a reading by Austrian writer Arno Geiger and a conversation with Belgian writer and philosopher Geert van Istendael at Bozar, organized by the Austrian Cultural Forum. Geiger’s latest book Unter der Drachenwand has been published in Flemish Onder de Drachenwand - this was a good occasion to talk about the genesis of this piece, which he has been working on for more than 10 years and about his remaining œvre. It was such a good in-depth talk about Geiger’s research for the book, which is a kind of “Gesellschaftsroman” counting the story of people in a small village near Mondsee in Austria in the year 1944, from the perspective of not knowing that the war is going to an end. Though Geiger is an historian he tried to completely fade out his knowledge, didn’t research with secondary literature but only reading primary sources as thousands of pages of letters from that time. That’s what makes the novel is so special, thrilling and recommendable. In conversation with Istendael Geiger was so well reflected and quick on the comeback - also when it came to contemporary (Austrian) right and nationalist politics.

For the whole blog of the brusselsARTproject click here.

the history of the SELF !? by fariba mosleh

The day after the largest demonstration on the topic of climate change Belgium ever had seen, Kaai Theatre invited to the second conversation with experts on the 2018/19 season’s leitmotif Authenticity and Beyond: Conversation #2 Phillipp Blom From the Age of Enlightenment to climate change: a history of the self.
After Didier Eribon for the first talk in September, they now invited German historian Phillipp Blom and introduced him as the chronicler of the self. Guy Gypens, artistic director of Kaai Theater, welcomed with words on how similar we people are becoming, forcing a same lifestyle, buying and consuming the same products etc. … as a result of the longing for authenticity? What is the self meant to be in a time of hyper consumerism, globalization and neoliberalism?

Phillipp Blom is one of the scholars you listen to and find each sentence striking (at least I am) … it was a pleasure to follow his remarks and diving into the topic of the self, which he underlined to be a product of enlightenment. Blom stated that modernity has created a new kind of person, who could read, write, and earn money - a middle class, which also claimed political rights for the first time in history. The self in western oriented society has become a contradiction. Especially for artists the self seems to be so important on the one hand, but art is so much produced in a hardly reflected canon of neoliberal structures. People thriving for identity in a digital world - doesn’t that feel paradox?!
Well, I love the in-depth framework program on the season’s topic of Kaai consisting of performances, conversations, debates and a symposium. They even invited scholar Rudi Learmans to write an essay on the issue, which is freely availably for all people interested. Looking forward to the next one.

For the whole blog of the brusselsARTproject click here.