In Africa, the Middle East and elsewhere, a generation of young artists are writing their own histories, of their lives and of their homelands. They are creating alternatives, inspired both by current events and by the past. They effortlessly blend languages, forms, and styles, and they don’t shy away from any of the issues.
CONNEXION BXL presents work by both upcoming talent and established artists who have an enormous amount to offer Europe. There is no pessimism here, but energy, creativity, and determination. Surprising, inspiring and… imperative.
This first edition is organised in partnership with Kaaitheater, KVS, Beursschouwburg, Bozar, Jazz Station & RITCS. The opening night and majority of the live arts programme takes place at Kaaitheater.
Rokia Troaré - Dream Mandé – Djata
Rokia Traoré is an icon of world music. She narrates the epic of King Soundiata Keita, the King who based his power on respect and not on greed or violence, and the unifier of the great 13th-century Mandé Empire. Traoré blends classic songs by the Mandé griots into her narrative. These poets and singers were responsible for a unique form of oral history.
Kaaitheater | 14/12 | music/theatre | in French (surtitled in Dutch and English)
Pepe Elmas Naswa - Dans la peau de l'autre - première
August 2016, a spring fair somewhere in Kinshasa. The young choreographer Pepe Elmas Naswa is watching an impressive snake dance, performed by a group of street kids and gang members. Afterwards, he convinces the kids to teach a group of contemporary dancers the snake dance during a workshop. This was when Dans la peau de l’autre was born.
Read our interview with Pepe Naswa here.
Kaaistudio's | 15>16/12 | dance
Boyzie Cekwana & Danya Hammoud - Bootlegged - première
In the American Midwest in the 1880s, white people hid illegal alcohol in their boots when they traded with Native Americans – an effective strategy to neutralize rebellious Native Americans through drunkenness. ‘Bootlegging’ was born. Now we are presenting Bootlegged: an encounter between Boyzie Cekwana and Danya Hammoud: two bodies, two stories, and two histories.
Kaaitheater | 18 > 19/12 | dance
Jeannot Kumbonyeki - Le Kombi
A kombi is the typical private taxi-van that determines the street scenes of Kinshasa and many other African cities. In his first solo, Jeannot Kumbonyeki is using this kombi as a premise to talk about everyday reality, public provisions, and the position of artists in his country, the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Kaaistudio's | 22/12 | dance
Rochdi Belgasmi - Ouled Jellaba
In this solo production, Rochdi Belgasmi brings the swinging twenties in Tunis back to life. In the evening, the bakeries, fish shops, and butchers’ shops were transformed into café chantants, and men transformed into ‘Ouled Jellaba’. They poured tea, juggled, and sang, but more important than anything else, they danced – as women.
Kaaistudio's | 22/12 | dance
To Authenticity & Beyond
CONVERSATIONS #2 Philipp Blom en #3 Mogobe Ramose
Throughout the season, we are bringing artists and intellectuals together to focus on our desire for 'realness'. Where might the search for truth and origins take us, if we are prepared to look beyond authenticity? To Authenticity... and Beyond is a series of performances, 7PM talks preceding performances and encounters with thinkers.
Philipp Blom - CONVERSATION #2: A History of the Self From the Age of Enlightenment to Climate Change
Understanding the crisis today based on Enlightenment thinkers: that is how you might describe most of historian Philipp Blom’s books. Journalist and philosopher Anna Luyten will join him for a discussion about the journey of the Enlightenment’s rational, emancipated and authentic self. How far has it come?
Philipp Blom (Hamburg, 1970) s a German historian, philosopher and author. He is best-known for his historical non-fiction. He has been a guest of the Kaaitheater twice before, including during Ecopolis 2015.
Kaaistudio's | 3/12 | debate | in English
Mogobe Ramose - CONVERSATION #3: On Ubuntu Philosophy
The South African philosopher Mogobe Ramose wrote the standard work on Ubuntu philosophy: a vision of existence as a continuous stream in which everything is constantly searching for balance and is inseparably connected with everything else. This is true of human communities, but it also applies to various aspects of social life, such as politics, religion, economics, law, medicine, ecology, and globalization. This is an ‘ethic of coexistence’ in profound contrast with Western models and the radical individualization that characterizes capitalism.
Kaaitheater | 17/12 | debate | in English | during Connexion BXL
Julian Hetzel questions the aestheticization of violence and the explosive power of images of war. Based on the principle of ‘creation through destruction’, he imported several kilos of war rubble from Syria. In Europe, he transformed this debris into art. In All Inclusive, he juxtaposes art and war, tourists and refugees, and connects reality with imagination. Hetzel guides you through an imagined universe – an extension of the battlefield – where reality hits back.
All Inclusive premièred in Amsterdam in September and has been touring in Belgium and Europe since.
Chesterfield - Belgian première
For Chesterfield, Alix Eynaudi and her team were inspired by the collection of the Austrian Museum of Folk Life and Folk Art. Using poetry as a choreographic device, Chesterfield presents a maze of signs and materials. It is a patchwork of movement, sound, bodies, books, fabrics, and light, woven with leather thread… and all composed to a sensual cadence.
Alix Eynaudi studied ballet at the Opera of Paris and dance at PARTS. She danced with Rosas for seven year and also performed with Boris Charmatz and Kris Verdonck, among others. Chesterfield premièred in Vienna.
No trouble or expense is being spared during the centenary of the Great War. But what exactly are we commemorating – and especially, why? Using quotations from politicians, marketeers, and re-enactors, Thomas Bellinck exposes the mechanisms behind the centenary. What exactly is the relationship between commemoration, politics, tourism, and big business?
Thomas Bellinck created Memento Park in 2015 at KVS. Now that the commemorations of WWI are coming to an end, he is reprising Memento Park at Kaaitheater.