The Japan Foundation
Performing Arts Network Japan
Archive Index Home
May 31, 2010
Presenter  Topics
This year’s lineup for Brussels’ Kunstenfestivaldesarts (May 7 – 29, 2010)
 True to the festival’s proclamation that “The Kunstenfestivaldesarts does not have a theme,” the 2010 program presented a lineup of works each unique in method and subject. After a series of individual projects in recent years, director Tim Etchells returned with the premiere of a new work titled The Thrill of It All with his company, Britain’s Forced Entertainment. Tomi Janežič (Serbia) presented a staging of the play Putujuće pozorište Šopalović (The Travelling Troupe Šopalović) written in 1985 by Yogoslav poet and playwright Ljubomir Simović in a production that questions the role of theater in wartime and the relationship between theater and real life in a way that causes reality to intervene in the theatrical illusion. Jorge León (Belgium) presented To Serve, a three-part project in film, lecture and performance that examines the present mechanisms and worldwide branching of ‘domestic personnel’ as a social phenomenon. Christophe Schlingensief (Germany), known as director of the film The German Chainsaw Massacre and for his recent efforts to establish an “opera village” in Burkina Faso with the construction of a Festspielhaus (opera house), presented a production of composer Luigi Nono’s political opera Intolleranza 1960 with a group of 20 African dancers. Boyzie Cekwana (South Africa) explored the mechanisms by which people are classified and suppress on the basis of their physical and racial identities, both at the personal level and the global level. To take responsibility for a statement he once made in an email exchange with a friend that “It would take you only a couple of hours to become a Butoh dancer,” Xavier Le Roy (France) presented a lecture/performance work Product of Other Circumstances based on his research of Butoh. Amir Reza Koohestani (Iran), known to the Japanese audience for creating one of the Utopia? series works at the Festival/Tokyo 09 Spring, presented the allegorical fable Where were You on Jan 8th? that reflects on power and violence in society. Lia Rodrigues (Brazil), a prominent dancer who has set up a center for artistic training in Rio de Janeiro’s favelas (slums) presented a work titled Pororoca born of this experience and exploring the notion of “community.”

In addition to a presenting his chelfitsch company play Hot Pepper, Air Conditioner, and the Farewell Speech that premiered at the HAU theater last year, Toshiki Okada also collaborated with the illustrator Shinji Abe on a picture play titled Kamishibai that was performed on the streets of Brussels. For details about all 33 works on this year’s festival program, refer to the festival’s website.

[Festival Summary]
This contemporary arts festival held in Brussels, Belgium each May is known for its progressive, cutting-edge program focused primarily in the performing arts that always draws the attention of the contemporary arts world. It is also known for its large number of independent productions with promising young artists actively sought out not only in Belgium and the rest of Europe but also in developing nations where the systems for arts support are still lacking. In order to help nurture the careers of the artists it works with a long-term perspective, collaborations are usually stretched over a several years. At the same time, the programming involves world premieres of new works by established artists based in Belgium and other parts of Europe. These policies make this a festival that creates new trends in the performing arts world. The festival’s independent productions and collaborative works make up more than 50% of the program each year, and about half of the works presented are world premieres.

The festival’s founder, Frie Leysen, retired as artistic director after the 2006 festival, Since then, her former chief assistant, Christophe Slagmuylder, has taken over the responsibilities of programming as the festival’s artistic director. In recent years, works by Japanese artists including chelfitsch, Zan Yamashita and Shiro Maeda (Gotandadan) have been invited to the festival with support from the Japan Foundation performing arts support program (PAJ) and the Saison Foundation. For more information, see this website’s interview with Mr. Slagmuylder.
Dates: May 7 – 29, 2010
Venue: Kaaitheater, etc.