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Say yes to performance Conjugations by the plural

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Say yes to performance Conjugations by the plural


An introduction to the spring programme by our performance programmer Elisa Liepsch.

Knowledge always refers to a hierarchy of knowledge production, which invariably disqualifies certain forms of knowledge while producing dominant ones, as Gayatri Spivak has stated so clearly. Colonialism has left its mark – the universalisation and prioritisation of white Western knowledge systems over others, the destruction, erasure and suppression of knowledges in colonised territories. This is what Boaventura de Sousa Santos calls ‘epistemicide’. The continuity of colonial occupation is visible in Europe today through racism, sexism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and homophobia.

In the context of our spring programme, we at Beursschouwburg ask: how can we continue producing and presenting art in the framework of colonial histories and within its systemic, ongoing brutalities? According to Spivak this is only possible by the radical unlearning of the parameters that surround us, by dismantling the European canon and its power structures, by listening to the unheard and their suppressed knowledges.

This involves rethinking our working practices in the arts in order to realise a true decolonisation of art institutions and their programmes. The process of decolonisation, which must be a decolonisation of the mind, can only be conducted by us together. By involving the voices and perspectives of the colonised and therefore marginalised. By acknowledging our differences and putting plural knowledges at the centre. By deconstructing the idea of quality criteria. Various contexts generate diverse articulations of this process, but can be seen as an emancipatory common practise of the many.

Beursschouwburg will therefore place the focus of its spring programme on the artistic epistemologies of the South and situated knowledges, with dance productions, performances and performative readings. In times of revived nationalisms and its canons within globalised societies, we need to think about international solidarity, a globalised idea of the arts and a critical curatorial practice. This might lead to the proposition of a new canon for our times or even to something we can’t even imagine yet. Let us think together with Achille Mbembe, who once said: “From now on, the world will be conjugated by the plural.”

Elisa Liepsch - performing arts programmer

La Fleur - NANA ou est-ce que tu connais le bara 
FR 07.02 & SA 08.02 20:30

Let Me Know’s opening production, La Fleur’s Nana ou est-ce que tu connais le bara, casts a critical eye on the European literary canon. By deconstructing Émile Zola’s novel, the African-European artistic team proposes a contemporary reading of the figure of Nana involving Coupé Decalé and dance styles from Ivory Coast. La Fleur brings the story up to date, seeing contemporary Nanas in the likes of the Kim Kardashians, Emma Lohoues and Diaba Soras of this world. Capitalism and physical freedom, bourgeoisie and proletariat – who’s really got the power? find out more


Rosana Cade - Walking:Holding
FR 21.02, SA 22.02, SU 23.02

What happens when two strangers come close to each other in public? What does your city look like from someone else’s perspective? Rosana Cade invites audience members to hold hands with strangers and walk through the city of Brussels. In Walking:Holding local performers share their stories and experience what it means to hold hands together in public. Participants get to know Brussels from a different angle and negotiate (in)visibilities. find out more


Mamela Nyamza - Black Privilege 
FR 06.03 & SA 07.03 20:30

In her work Black Privilege Mamela Nyamza focuses her attention on the hypocritical structure underlying our societies, in which everyone is constantly judged and subject to prejudice. Switching back and forth between a ritual in which she summons up various aspects of strong women and a court process in which powerful figures are held to account for their horrific deeds, Mamela Nyamza blurs the boundaries between spirituality and the law. Rejected and unrecognised heroines of the African struggle for independence are brought back to life. find out more


Ogutu Muraya - On Thin Ice
FR 20.03 & 21.03 20:30

On Thin Ice is a performance reading of an excerpt from Ogutu Muraya’s ongoing book project. What started as an exercise to map and locate his inner self against an unfamiliar backdrop after his move from Nairobi to Amsterdam in 2014 has, over the years, grown into a complex personal archive. Back in Nairobi now, he is in the process of turning his ever expanding diary into a kind of fragmented memoir by which he seeks to understand the challenges of his diaspora experience. find out more 


Selina Thompson - salt.
FR 27.03 & SA 28.03 20:30

Selina Thompson’s salt. is a solo performance about sorrow, ancestry, home, forgetting and colonialism. It deals with the continued presence of colonial history in the everyday and the politics of grief. Developed during a three month voyage – in collaboration with artist collectives in Accra and Kingston – salt. is part of a wider body of work exploring Black identity, being part of a diaspora and the changing and healing that is still to come. find out more


Rodrigo Batista - The Furious Rodrigo Batista (Side A) + The B-Side
FR 03.04 & SA 04.04 20:30

Political desperation is the impetus behind Rodrigo Batista’s work and his performance The Furious Rodrigo Batista (Side A) + The B-Side, which he sees as performative revolt. Revolt against, among other things, the decline of democracy in Brazil, a development which has radically changed Batista’s understanding of his role as a theatre practitioner. If democracy has failed, what does that mean for representation in and of itself? How can political statements be staged, and what kind of artistic attitude can trigger real insurgency? find out more


Carolina Mendonça / Catalina Insignares -  useless land
SA 25.04 23:00 - 08:00

Finally, with useless land, we invite you to spend the night with us, to lay down and listen together as Carolina Mendonça and Catalina Insignares read texts until sunrise. The night gives us all some time to digest. A large soft-surfaced island awaits you. You’ll enter a space where sleeping is a way of understanding the world. Where voices trickle gently into the ears, weaving stories. A vigil state where we can be together in dissension, with our different languages and dreams, in a state between alertness and sleep. Let us occupy the stage of Beursschouwburg together and listen. find out more