Revolutionary Bodies is a project of network collaboration initiated and headed by the Carovana association, from Sardinia, in August 2011 and due to culminate on 30th and 31st May and 1st June, 2012, with the Cos i Revolució programme proposed by L’animal a l’esquena, in Celrà, Catalonia.
Revolutionary Bodies set out to arrange encounters between creators and artists invited from Egypt, Tunisia, Sardinia and Catalonia, so as to explore and reflect on processes of social transformation and the body as an instrument in the search for liberty. Through experiment in new languages we recover a vision of art in which, far from mere entertainment, it becomes a tool for the process of democratisation, assuming a strategic role as a witness bearer.
This international collaboration involves four European participants: Associazione Carovana S.M.I (Sardinia), La Compagnie De Soi/La Ferme du Boisson (France), Dancing On The Edge Foundation (Holland), L’animal a l’esquena (Catalonia) and two Arab participants: Contemporany Art Centre Darb 1718 (Egypt) and Muzaq/ Selma and Sophia Oussi (Tunisia). This project, it is also supported by the European Cultural Foundation (ECF).
The Arab revolution is also a cultural one, as the demands for freedom and justice are closely linked to the right to culture. Artists today want to enjoy the freedom of expression denied to them for almost thirty years. Flashmobs and Internet activity have played a major role in the organisation and continuation of the protests. Artists, too, are playing an important part.
The unprecedented explosion of urban art in the Middle East and Northern Africa is evidence of a new stage in a resistance process that has been forming underground over the past ten years. Through performance, music, improvised theatre, satirical animation, photography, video installations and dance, the people of Egypt and Tunisia have occupied public spaces to express their struggle for liberty.
REVOLUTIONARY BODIES PARTNERS
Associazione Carovana S.M.I (Italy)
Directed by Ornella d’Agostino.
Carovana SMI was set up in 1994 to develop cross-disciplinary projects in training, education, research and artistic production as part of programmes of international cooperation, with the idea of encouraging debate about communication between different fields in the arts and contributing to the spread of dance and contemporary art around the Mediterranean.
La Compagnie De Soi (France/Tunisia)
Company founded in 2005 and directed by the Tunisian actor, dancer and choreographer Radhouane El Meddeb, who has lived for many years in Paris.
Dancing On The Edge Foundation (Holland)
A project set up in Amsterdam in 2006, directed by Gary Feingold with Natasja van ‘t Westende, which presents and promotes contemporary Middle Eastern art and culture, focussing on performance arts, film and multimedia installations.
L’animal a l’esquena (Spain)
Currently directed by Pep Ramis and María Muñoz, L’animal a l’esquena is a creative centre which encourages experiment and the exchange of ideas and experiences between performance directors, musicians, video artists, theorists and dancers, through residencies, workshops and seminars.
Contemporany Art Centre Darb 1718 (Egypt)
Founded by Moataz Nasreldin, this is an Arts Centre located in the historic quarter of Cairo. Darb 1718 is a not for profit organisation set up in 2008. It has a range of indoor and outdoor spaces for cultural events and artistic projects in different formats.
Directed by Selma and Sophia Ouissi.
Muzaq was set up in 2004 with the aim of building bridges between artists from Africa and the Maghreb and European organisations and artists. It runs training programmes, conferences and exchanges. Since 2001, Muzaq have specialised in creation for public spaces and since 2007 they have organised the biennial festival Dream City.
STAGES OF THE PROJECT
Revolutionary Bodies is structured in four stages over the two-year period 2011-2012: Sardinia/August 2011, Paris/November 2011, Amsterdam/December 2011 and Celrà/May 2012.
The project began in Sardinia from 7th – 12th August, 2011, led by Carovana, with a meeting between the participants and other guests from Italy, Catalonia, Tunisia and Egypt. This was a starting point to set out the general ideas behind the project, which have developed since then in different ways at each stage.
In Sardinia there were reflections on how revolutionary movements reclaim public spaces and on the involvement of creators and thinkers in the process of the uprisings, as well as on the figure of the artist as an active element of social activism and representation.
The Compagnie de Soi held the second stage of the project at the Ferme du Buisson, a centre creating and showing performance arts, in Paris on 26th November, 2011. This focussed specifically on Tunisia and in particular the role of women in the revolution. La nuit curieuse de Leyla Tounsia, the name given to the Paris stage, consisted of a series of performance activities, screenings of documentaries, round table talks, music, etc.
The third stage of the project was held in Amsterdam from 9th – 11th December 2011, under the umbrella of the Dance on the Edge festival. An installation by Moataz Nasreldin was shown here, in the context of discussions with other visual artists and a programme of shows, all by artists from the Arab world, from Syria to Morocco.
From 30th May to 1st June, 2012, the fourth stage of the project will be organised by L’animal a l’esquena. The programme, over three days, will include a multidisciplinary residency as well as talks, video sessions and various shows, both exhibitions and performances.
Cos i Revolució, from 29th May to 1st June, 2012, Celrà, Girona
Cos i Revolució, the name given to L’animal a l’esquena’s programme within the international project Revolutionary Bodies, is envisaged as a cross-disciplinary residency for performance and visual artists and film critics from different countries around the Mediterranean.
For three days a group of twelve people will meet to share their different thoughts and views on the current processes of political and cultural change in their respective countries, as well as discussing the poetic/active body, the body politic, censorship and ritual and other issues.
Another aim of the residency is to experiment with different writing, information and documentation devices with which to make a record of the meeting.
The word revolution refers to an altered state of consciousness and perception capable of generating a situation of change and transformation. A state that gives a large group of people the sensation of belonging to one body, a body in revolution. Revolution, however, is linked not only to the experience of one crucial moment but to a continuous process of transformation.
L’animal a l’esquena, a project with a specific artistic identity, located in a natural setting, offers its guest artists and experts a space that is structured but at the same time open to being lived in and moved around in, as the group and the dynamics of the moment require.
Cos i Revolució will include, on the one hand, moments of internal work behind closed doors in which conversations about specific subjects will be combined with other, more creative proposals to foster shared experiences: Wednesday 30th May all day, Thursday 31st May in the morning and Friday 1st June in the morning.
There will also, on the other hand, be activities open to the public, including two showings of audio-visual pieces, presented by Tahar Chikhaoui on 29th May and Toni Serra on 30th May. Lectures by the participants at La Mercè, Gerona, on 31st May, performances at L’Ateneu de Celrà on 1st June and installations and exhibitions open to visitors from 29th May to 1st June, both at L’Ateneu de Celrà and at L’animal a l’esquena.
This is the last stage of Revolutionary Bodies and therefore the occasion to evaluate and make public the process of the previous stages, as well as to draw some shared conclusions and dream up ways to continue the discussion into the future.
Ornella d’Agostino/Italy: choreographer and artistic director of Carovana S.M.I., Sardinia.
Selma Oussi and Sofiane Oussi / Tunis: choreographers and artistic directors of the company Muzaq and founders of the festival of urban performance art “Dream City” in Tunis.
Moataz Nasreldin/Egypt: visual artist and founder of the centre of contemporary art Darb 1718 in Cairo.
María Muñoz and Pep Ramis/Catalonia: choreographers and artistic co-directors of Mal Pelo and L’animal a l’esquena.
Eduard Teixidor/Catalonia: co-ordinator of activities of the company Mal Pelo and collaborator on projects for L’animal a l’esquena.
Toni Serra/Catalonia: video and new media artist and co-director of the Archivos del Observatorio, and OVNI (UFO) project – Observatory of Unidentified Video.
Tahar Chikhoui/Tunis: film critic, lecturer on analysis and history of cinema at the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Human Sciences of Manouba. Member of the Tunisian Association for the Promotion of Art Criticism ATPCC (Tunis).
Allia Sellami/Tunis: performer of classical, Arab, jazz and contemporary music, composer and teacher at the University of Tunis and the Music Conservatory.
Gerarda Ventura/Italy: vice president of the Euromed platform, president of Meridie, collaborator on the Corpi in rivoluzione project in Sardinia.
Leo Castro/Catalonia: graduate in Philosophy from the University of Barcelona. Actress, dancer, creator. Founder, in 1999, of the SIAMB collective for improvisation and contact improvisation. She has worked with Mal Pelo since 2004.
Xavier Pèrez-Fromzero/Catalonia: director and founder of the company Fromzero, working in audio-visual production and graphic design.
VENUES TAKING PART IN Cos i Revolució
L’animal a l’esquena: is a centre for creation and cross-disciplinary exchange, based in a farmhouse with 19 hectares of land in the Gavarres Park of Natural Interest in the municipality of Celrà, 9km from the city of Gerona, 50km from the French frontier and around 100km from Barcelona.
Mercat de les Flors, Barcelona: a theatre opened in 1983, in the old Noucentist building of the Palacio de Agricultura, that had been built for the International Exhibition of 1929 on the slopes of Montjuic. The Mercat de les Flors is part of the facilities of the Ciudad del Teatro: the Mercat itself, the Teatre Lliure and the Institut del Teatre.
L’Ateneu, Celrà: built in 1913 by the Brillas y Pagans factory for its workers, this became public property in 1992. In 2009 it was refurbished and converted into a medium format performance venue with a meeting room, gallery and bar, and with capacity for 179 spectators.
Centre Cultural de la Mercè, Girona: this 14th century building was used as a military hospital in the 19th century and part of the 20th and is now an arts centre open to the public, also housing a school of plastic arts and video, classes in humanistic studies in association with the University of Gerona, a gallery and a theatre.
L’ANIMAL A L’ESQUENA TEAM
Artistic Direction: María Muñoz, Pep Ramis
Coordination of Activities and Production: Mamen Juan-Torres
Management: Ester BorIn, María Muñoz
Project Collaborator: Eduard Teixidor
Communications: Pep Ramis, Mamen Juan-Torres
Technical Assistance: Punt de Fuga