Brussels | Kunstenfestivaldesarts 2016
The 21st edition of the Kunstenfestivaldesarts
takes place from 6 to 28 May 2016 in 20 theatres and arts centres, and in surprising locations across Brussels
. This year, the focus programme puts the spotlight on Thai filmmaker and visual artist Apichatpong Weerasethakul
There are more than 30 projects this year, of which 20 are in world premiere.
This year, in collaboration with Cinema Galeries, the Kunstenfestivaldesarts places Thai filmmaker and visual artist Apichatpong Weerasethakul
in the spotlight. From 12 April until 29 May, you can attend Memorandum
, an exhibition of Weerasethakul’s video installations. Running in parallel with this is a retrospective of his short and feature films. One of these films, Tropical Malady
, was awarded the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 2004. It will be screened outdoors on 16 May in a special location in the Sonian Forest. And from 21 to 25 May, the Kunstenfestivaldesarts presents Fever Room
in its European premiere, the first-ever theatre production by this exceptional filmmaker.
Among other significant festival highlights from Asia and Europe are:
After the attacks in Brussels, at the end of March the Artistic Director and team wrote an open letter to all the artists and professional visitors from abroad to invite them to come to the Kunstenfestivaldasarts.
Following the events in Brussels last week, we want to send you this message.
The attacks that took place on 22 March have had some dysfunctional consequences. The intention was to destabilize a state and a society, and this is what we experience now.
Nevertheless, we want to reassure you. Police and military guards are present in public places and security checks take place all over the city. However, this doesn’t mean we cannot keep living in the city as an everyday inhabitant – walking the streets, taking buses and trains, going to bars or theatres. In fact, that is what we have been doing the whole time ever since the attacks. The airport is expected to start operating again soon. In the meantime, most train and subway stations have reopened and public transport is being restored. All over the city you see people coming together to create peaceful situations. We have no other option than to keep doing what we are doing, to continue being a citizen of this city and this world, and not give into feelings of fear, resentment, aggression, and hate.
What happened in Brussels echoes a far bigger problem that extends all over the world, and it should be related to global political, social and economic issues. Belgians have a tradition of being critical toward their own political and social system. This country has since long been experienced as ‘divided’ or ‘diverse’, a change in vocabulary that has resulted in changing perspectives. We have the feeling of being a ‘failed state’, a state where the complexity of political powers makes it difficult to coordinate, speak and work as one entity and with one voice. This isn’t new, but the limits of the systems are being experience in a very painful way at this moment.
Yet we still believe that, in comparison to other European countries, our complex context prevents us from becoming radical and taking extreme measures of repression and security against the terrorist threats. There was no ‘state of emergency’ after the attacks, and there was no aggression by the police in their search for the suspects. We can only be relieved by this.
To conclude, you should not hesitate to come to Brussels in May, quite the contrary. We need to be together. We need to be able to understand all the cracks in our societies. Our attitude is first and foremost constructive, and there is no bigger risk in Brussels than in any other place in the world at this moment. It is not less safe here than in any other metropolitan city today. Brussels feels hurt, mocked and insulted, and the next weeks will be crucial for the recovery of the city. We believe it is more important than ever to come and share this process with us, since it is more about human beings in general than it is about the citizens of just this city.
We hope to see you all soon in our city.
and the team of the Kunstenfestivaldesarts
is an international arts festival dedicated to contemporary creations
: theatre, dance, performance, film, and visual arts. It takes place in May of every year and lasts for three weeks, with presentations in some 20 theatres and arts centres, as well as in public spaces throughout Brussels.
The Kunstenfestivaldesarts comprises a selection of artistic works created by Belgian and international artists
: remarkable new projects that translate the artists’ personal visions of the world, communicating these to audiences prepared to challenge and broaden their perspectives.
Images: top - Philippe Quesne; bottom - Jisun Kim