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EUROPALIA Arts Festival Trains & Tracks 2021-22
EUROPALIA TRAINS & TRACKS arts festival takes place in Belgium and neighbouring countries from 14 October 2021 to 15 May 2022.
Every two years, EUROPALIA compiles a diverse artistic programme focusing on a country or a theme. For four months, in Belgium and its neighbouring countries, EUROPALIA, in collaboration with a wide network of cultural partners, presents a biennial with a myriad of artistic and socio-cultural projects that bring together visual arts, performing arts, film, music, literature and debate so as to stimulate an exchange of ideas. Newly commissioned projects and artistic residencies hold a central place in the programme that engenders a unique interaction between heritage and art.
This year marks several train anniversaries: a spectacular opportunity for EUROPALIA to dedicate an edition to a world in itself, an invention that shaped society and appears to be playing a leading role again today.
EUROPALIA TRAINS & TRACKS presents more than 70 different projects—mostly new creations and residencies—spread across artistic institutions but also, and especially, to be discovered in stations and on trains, in Belgium and in neighbouring countries.
The multidisciplinary programme revolves around three themes. It starts with the impact of the train on society, explains Dirk Vermaelen, Artistic Director of EUROPALIA. The impact was huge when the train was invented, and its role seems to be growing bigger and bigger again today. Originally a symbol of the acceleration of society, the train is now becoming a symbol of slowing down. In addition, we work on the themes of time and motion and meetings and farewells, concepts that are closely linked to the world of the train, which provide starting points for wider perspectives.
TRAINS & TRACKS looks at the intriguing past of the train and thus of Europe, questioning and examining the public space of the station and those passing through it. To this end, EUROPALIA has invited artists of various disciplines to engage with a broad audience—casual passers-by, railway buffs and train spotters, commuters, tourists, art lovers, children, and families…
The programme also addresses the future of the train and its growing role in sustainable travel. Young people can participate in interactive workshops and debate with policymakers on what they think the railways in Europe could or should look like in the future.
TRAINS & TRACKS also celebrates mythical train journeys such as the Orient Express (Train World, Brussels) and invites the public to embark on imaginary journeys.