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In Solidarity & Hope (Festival)

Artist Statement:

“In Solidarity & Hope is a festival that arises from the forced exclusion of cultural activities with the ultra-local in the international community. It makes use of the forced isolation as a means of inclusion - inclusion of the citizens of the city, both artists and curators but also ordinary citizens. It is a call for solidarity to everyone that has been isolated....”

About the festival:

In times of corona, where the world is suddenly different: inclusion becomes the exclusion. The physical distance became a reality. Isolation is becoming an everyday life. Going out of the house has become a sin. Not just the artists curators, engaged in cultural production for the society, but also the people, are feeling alone and left out in the capitalist world. The theatres and cinemas have to shut and their flow of...people/audience/art(?) is stopped.

Understanding the situation, what can we individual artists/curators do? What is the role of the artist/curator now? How to continue working while also abiding rules and safety? How to be with people and create spaces to fight the feeling of isolation?

So, we decided to do something about it. Not only through online distribution but also to respond to the current scenario in a safe and responsible manner. We are proposing a new festival especially in the context of art and the current crisis: In Solidarity and Hope.. We, as artists and curators want to be with the people, want to

connect, want to cry, want to laugh with the people.

In Solidarity and Hope, is an attempt in the context of theatre and the current crisis. It’s also a response by individual artists, going beyond the big structures of theatre, cinema, festivals and taking the audience at a very personal level through designing personal experiences with and for the people.

The festival is ultra local as well as international. Amsterdam being a city of multi-culturally and multi-nationality, the home of artists from various countries. This festival is an engagement with those artists, living in Amsterdam from different countries.

Since theatres are shut and no one can perform there, this festival is also in conversations with local residents of Amsterdam, including them as collaborators, and their backyards as venues. This act will create ownership for themselves in this festival. Which will eventually build a very new and different relation to the people in the festival. The programme of the festival ensures that this festival goes beyond the usual suspects of theatre-goers and tries to make it’s reach to new audiences.

But going beyond online distribution, the festival isn’t restricted to work with online performances: But those that have organically been designed in the online medium.

Festival programme: Here is the rough programme.

Leaving traces:

One of the programmed shows for the festival Leaving traces, is a work by three artists. The collective-consists of singers and musicians. The collective proposes that each of the artists will go to six streets in a day without previous announcements. They will perform a small piece on each street. Before even people will recognise, they will leave. Maximum 15 minutes at each space. While leaving the spaces, they will leave some signature trace at the space. So each day there are 18 spaces covered by these artists. In three days there will be 54 streets covered by these artists.

Balcony Project: There and Now

The second performance is 2 hours curating consisting of 3 artists, currently living in Amsterdam. As the festival is already in conversation with local residents, we are trying to see potential spaces and local venue partners. The festival identified 3 houses with backyards. These backyards are surrounded by 40-68 houses. There now will be an evening with these three artists curated for the neighbourhood. Each evening consists of one dutch artist. There are a total 3 evenings within the festival.

Going back to schools:

We are in conversations with the schools of Amsterdam. We have an artist collective called Yellow Moons. They designed a performance piece for the school children's with interaction from distances. The design of the performances involved experience sharing during the pandemic as well as creating stories of superman and its fictional solutions around the current times. The students also get a chance to design their own stories. It’s a performance cum sharing workshop.

The worker’s Cinema:

Worker’s cinema is a flexible designed experience around food and cinema for people of amsterdam. This cinema is mostly a personalised experience designed for 2 to 3 people. Each day there will be 4 shows of the film. The worker’s cinema has 5 venues across the city of Amsterdam.

Dinner Performances: The gastronomical Esseyes

This performance is designed around food and storytelling. It is designed as a dinner performance, where through food and its microbiology, the politics of right wing fundamentalism has been discussed. This performance takes the audience in a conversational joyful yet politically strong content and emotion. Each day 2 performances are designed. Total 6 performances will be performed during the festival. All the performances are happening in an open public space in Amsterdam Noord. Each performance can accommodate 25 people within the norms or physical distancing and other circumstances.

Struggle and hope from the globe:

This is a series of conversations and sharing with artists/curators and activities from different countries.The first day is scheduled with five artists coming from different realities and backgrounds. The conversation will try to understand and unfold the situation of these artists. What are the challenges in the current time? What are their survival strategies? What do they expect from the state? What is their role in society at the current time? The second day is with five curators. Three curators are festival directors while two are young individual curators. Having a conversation with them and trying to understand how they all are dealing with the situation? How institutions are getting impacted, what are new strategies they are coming with and what is the future they imagine? The third day is with activists, who will be engaging in a dialogue regarding their issues and struggle especially in the context of the current crisis. What happened? What could have been better? This space also has Karan and Prabhash(migrant labourers from India), who walk for 1800 km, to go back to their houses during complete lockdown by the indian government. They both will talk about their experiences during this pandemic. We also have Prof Jiwon Chung, a US based, Korian theatre activist and professor. Who works with the migrants living in the United States. We also have curator Arthur, who works with the city councils in Amsterdam, on various community building projects. Indian activist Medha Patkar, will also join, from her ongoing hunger strike, against the changes in labour laws by the government during the lockdown.

Public Spaces:

The festival is working with four visual artists. Coming from different countries, these are artists resident at various institutions in Amsterdam. These artists agreed that they will be working with installation at various public spaces. These works will be made during the festival in the night. The installation will be there for next two months. The people of the city will interact, when they go out. One of the artists shows interest in making installation on the ferry of the canals.

Swinging on the Tree of Life:

(An IVR based workshop/performance) Pranjal has suffered from a particular type of blindness, that has grown on him gradually since the age of fifteen and now settled in for good. Pranjal now lives with his (inner) voice assistant, Sanjay Gupta. As a blind writer, Pranjal relies on Sanjay's explanation of objects and notes he collected over the years in preparation for his next book. Sanjay's voice makes his blindness disappear and his archive visible. In between Sanjay's lucid accounts, Pranjal pulls out his stories.

Pranjal's next book, Swinging on the Tree of Life, will be a collection of charming stories about entanglements of the human and the microbial world. That of Tardigrades and Love Letters, Slime Moulds and revolutions. During this workshop/performance, the audience will play Pranjal Munshi, a Delhi based writer of short fiction.

>>Press any key to hear descriptions of objects and press # to record your story.

This performance will happen on cell phones, during the whole story.

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