as usual, we published the programme before the summer break. Actually, this was the first „normal“ procedure within our preparations for the festival, and it did not in any way mean that we are returning to a pre-Corona reality. The format of the festival as such, with its lavish abundance, already came under discussion before the pandemic. At the same time, however, (international) exchange, impressions, and controversies from all parts of the world have never seemed to be so important as they are now. The word „festival“ comes from „festivity – meaning a celebration“ – but what can we celebrate – what is there to celebrate right now?
SPIELART 2021 will be familiar and new at the same time. Two co-curators will enrich the festival with their specially developed projects. On the second weekend, Julian Warner will deal with the phenomenon of GLOBAL ANGST in an artistic conference, as well as with a pageant and a ritual in the public arena – a venture that will reach far into urban society. In the culture centre Köşk, Eva Neklyaeva will create a space in which the aspects of the topic „smell“ can be experienced in different formats throughout the duration of the festival.
In the light of the inequality between the countries of the Global South and the Western Hemisphere, which has recently emerged more distinctly because of the pandemic, we considered it indispensable to continue conceiving SPIELART as an international festival. The intensive, common deliberations, which we had during the first lockdown, on the question of how this world-wide crisis will, or will have to, change international cooperation – a question which we will investigate in a conference on the last weekend – gave rise to some curatorial work performed by three artists. In their digital project REST OF THE STRUGGLE, Mallika Taneja and her companions will develop strategies as to how artistic practice as part of our day-to-day life can heal and strengthen us for the ongoing political struggles. Here, they turn the classical audience situation of international festivals around: all the artists involved come from different parts of India and participate from home, while a global audience is addressed. Boyzie Cekwana and Ogutu Muraya initiated mentoring projects in the framework of which they accompany productions of five selected artists from the first idea to the premiere. For Ogutu Muraya, who is a storyteller himself, writing takes centre stage, Boyzie Cekwana focuses on the engagement of the artists with their respective local environments. In the framework of a new edition of NEW FREQUENCIES, both projects will be shown on the last weekend along with further productions.
Another self-imposed task of SPIELART has always been to depict current artistic developments. We will show the world premiere of a digital performance of the South African Bubblegum Club, as well as works by collective punktlive, Forced Entertainment and Raquel Meseguer Zafe, which have already been widely discussed. And there will be Theatre at Home, like MONNULA by Tamara Cubas and an evolution of Mats Staub’s DEATH AND BIRTH IN MY LIFE.
Of course, we are also planning a rich performance programme at well-known as well as new venues. In addition to familiar artists like nora chipaumire, Eisa Jocson, Wen Hui, Nadia Beugré, Nástio Mosquito or Sankar Venkateswaran, this also includes productions by Amanda Piña, Satoko Ichihara, Okwui Okpokwasili, Ülkü Süngün or Alessandro Sciarroni. Together with HochX, we will present Taigué Ahmed’s new work, THE DRYING PRAYER, and in this connection, we will deal with the topic of climate justice discursively. Non-anthropocentric styles of narration will be developed by Manuela Infante and Franziska Angerer. The dissolution of borders, very specifically national ones, but (also) those with respect to queer thinking of spaces and identities, will play a role.
A lot will happen. We do not have all the answers (yet), but we want to try out a lot of things. One of them will be a different way to celebrate. Be a part of it!
Artistic Director and Festival Management
on behalf of the SPIELART Team