Archive for April, 2008

Zimbabwe Performs

Monday, April 28th, 2008

HIFA

Photo by Timo Arnall — Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved

Manuel Bagorro’s work answers his own question: How can an international arts festival benefit people who are struggling with so many everyday necessities?

Bagorro is the founder and artistic director of the Harare International Festival of the Arts, or HIFA.

As posted this week in KArts Culture News from the BBC coverage of Zimbabwe, Bagorro has been writing a diary while keeping the upcoming festival alive in Zimbabwe. (The festival begins April 29.)

Producing an international festival in the midst of the surreal elections, where eight of ten are unemployed, and the inflation rate is 100,000% (officially), is more than challenging. For Bagorro and his colleagues in Zimbabwe, it has become necessary.

His diary posts run through the daily obstacles: budgeting in an economy where the cost of paper changes drastically from 10 am to 2 pm in the same day; water and electricity are never a given; the box office’s computers are stolen at customs; and, the ever-present fear of violence coupled with the constant hope of national resolution.

Still, HIFA’s platform for Zimbabwean artists and artists from twenty other countries opens a space for the “power of the arts to unify” and “to nurture the creative aspect of national identity.”

It is easy for philosophers and politicians to spout such noble phrases.

For Bagorro and HIFA, the nobility is in the doing, the acts of creating of art and community.

The theme of this year’s festival? The Art of Determination.

- Bill Reichblum

An International Dance Day Celebration

Monday, April 28th, 2008

Dancing Dolls

Photo by Márcio Cabral de Moura — Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved

Tuesday, April 29 is International Dance Day. To celebrate, why not listen to what dancers and choreographers have to say about their art?

From the KadmusArts archives, here are sixteen podcasts featuring voices from the dance stage:

Disco Ball to Tecktonik Brand

Monday, April 21st, 2008

Tecktonik

Photo by Romain H. — Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved

Thirty years after giving the world disco, France has given us a new dance culture, albeit one where the brand is as important as the moves.

Can anyone be nostalgic for disco? The music, those clothes, the attitude: all can found at the international disco museum — yes, the Disco Museum.

Watch the best video Disco Dance instruction: How to Disco

In those innocent days before instantaneous worldwide video distribution, Marc Cerrone created his seventeen minute Love in C Minor, and Henri Belolo helped ignite the sound of the Village People. Now, who owns all those mirrored balls?

As posted in KArts Culture News this week, there is now a new dance craze that is a combination of techno and hip-hop styles, with moves like “Le Brushing” and “Le Pot de Gel.”

Tecktonik, though, is as much a dance as it is a brand.

Alexandre Barouzdin and his partner Cyril Blanc have put in a trademark for any use of the Tecktonik name. Seven years ago, Barouzdin and Blanc hosted parties called “Tecktonik Killer” at the Metropolis club in Paris. Barouzdin takes credit for naming Tecktonik for his impression of the different dance styles colliding on the dance floor like tectonic plates. From the club’s wild scene to the open space outside of Centre Pompidou, the style became a rage, and a movement was born.

Now there is the logo, the gum, the energy drink, clothes, the mobile handset, hair salons, and, of course, the soon to be video game.

The best description so far: “Weird-looking teenagers seemingly trying to rip their own heads off.”

Wonder what they said about the first disco dancers?

- Bill Reichblum

Interview: Pablo Pugliese and Noel Strazza

Monday, April 21st, 2008

Photo: Pablo Pugliese and Noel StrazzaPablo Pugliese is a choreographer, dancer, and tango dance teacher, and lives in New York City. Noel Strazza is a contemporary dancer, choreographer, and tango teacher. She currently lives in Montreal. Pablo and Noel are tango dance partners, and during a visit to their native country, Argentina, they talked to KadmusArts after presenting the piece Madness Tango at the Cambalache Festival in December 2007.

In this interview, Pablo and Noel talk about Madness Tango, which premiered in New York and participated in the Basel Tango Festival in Switzerland. They also discuss their approach when teaching tango, as well as their independent projects in Canada and the United States. Finally, they share with us which songs and musicians they prefer to dance to, as well as why they think foreigners are so crazy about tango.

 
 Interview: Pablo Pugliese and Noel Strazza [44:04m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

Interview: Steven Gove

Monday, April 21st, 2008

Steven Gove is a founder and director of the Prague Fringe Festival, based around the principles of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Now entering its seventh year, the Festival will host in 2008 around 40 productions from all over the world, including Australia, Canada, India, The Netherlands and the UK.

In this interview, conducted by Prague journalist Andy Markowitz, Steven talks about how and why he came to found a Fringe Festival in Prague, the challenges involved, and the potential for similar festivals to spring up in other cities.

 
 Interview: Steven Gove [13:02m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

First There Was Babel, Now There is Whitney

Monday, April 14th, 2008

Photo by Libby Rosof — Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved

When you go to a museum, do you ever feel as though you don’t quite “get it”?

Now, don’t worry — the Whitney Museum of American Art explains it all for you. After all, the goal is to encourage new audiences to access art. Right?

Their Biennial 2008, which runs through June 1, is one of the most prestigious gatherings of new art. The exhibit is so new and so bold that it is a good thing the Whitney helps entice the potential audience with clear and concise summaries of the artists’ works.

Or is it? Carol Diehl found her own favorite Whitney exhibition descriptions, some of which we reprint here along with a couple of choice additions.

Sure, it might be easier to write a description of an episode of Gilligan’s Island (“Gilligan finds a crate full of magician’s props, but his attempts to use them backfire.”)

Still, you might want to get the Professor off the island to help you with the Whitney’s invitation to art:

It is the problematizing of expectations and formalisms through destruction and transformations that is the heart of the continuing project.

Todd Alden on Mika Tajima/New Humans

Baldessari’s juxtapositions, displacements, and spatial interventions resonated with Magritte’s uncanny aesthetics but also with the disjunctive poetics very much at the dyslexic heart of his own work. This was further achieved through the deployment of elective amenities, primarily by displacing the familiar—and familiar narratives—with the unexpected or with other elements of disruption, including surprising spacing or gaps.

Todd Alden on John Baldessari

Thomson’s inherently conversational practice both gamely Pop-ifies its often antiaesthetic historical precedents and resituates that generation’s thought experiments in the social realm.

Suzanne Hudson on Mungo Thomson

Bove’s “settings” draw on the style, and substance, of certain time-specific materials to resuscitate their referential possibilities, to pull them out of historical stasis and return them to active symbolic duty, where new adjacencies might reactivate latent meanings.

Jeffrey Kastner on Carol Bove

As political actions, Haeg’s initiatives subvert the idea that humans are the earth’s apex species by alleviating our alienation from our environment, our food, and each other. Artistically, they challenge viewers and participants to diversify their own daily routines in favor of poeticism and positive interaction in all regards.

Trinie Dalton on Fritz Haeg

Ultimately, Lawler’s self-reflexive photographs about the endless parades of artistic display point toward the regeneration of surplus meanings produced in the spaces between artworks and exhibition frames. Marking the apparatus of the art system, Lawler’s knowing work is at once critical and in on the game.

Todd Alden on Louise Lawler

As McMillian continues to explicate present moments, his work comments on the lugubrious underbellies implicit to each cultural progression and movement.

Trinie Dalton on Rodney McMillian

Perhaps plucked from a commercial or shareholder prospectus, each vignette denies specificity even as it is fetishized through its transmutation into luxurious materials at a grand scale, leaving the narrative ambiguously open—and ready to be consumed, repurposed, and discarded anew.

Suzanne Hudson on Seth Price

Don’t walk, run!

- Bill Reichblum

Arts Presenters: Steve Sapp

Monday, April 14th, 2008

Photo: Steve SappSteve Sapp is a Bronx-born playwright, poet and co-founder of Universes Poetic Theatre Ensemble. Universes incorporates poetry, narrative stories, jazz, blues and movement to craft complex performances about issues ranging from Hurricane Katrina to the misinformation super highway.

In this interview Steve talks about their recent North African tour, the process by which their performance pieces emerge, and where he goes to enjoy great art.

This interview is part of an ongoing series with the Association of Performing Arts Presenters.

 
 Arts Presenters: Steve Sapp [12:28m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

Arts Presenters: Lucy Guerin

Monday, April 14th, 2008

Photo: Lucy GuerinLucy Guerin is a dancer, choreographer and artistic director of Lucy Guerin Inc. Based in Melbourne, Australia, Guerin’s work has won numerous awards and rave reviews.

In this podcast Lucy talks about her transformation from a dancer to having her own company, the recent work Structure and Sadness, and an ongoing piece she is creating with fellow Aussies Chunky Move.

This interview is part of an ongoing series with the Association of Performing Arts Presenters.

 
 Arts Presenters: Lucy Guerin [11:14m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

Interview: Mark Lawes

Monday, April 14th, 2008

Photo: Mark LawesMark Lawes is Artistic Director of the new Grand Theatre in Calgary, Canada. This multi-disciplinary culture house is bringing innovative and talented work to audiences, including Compagnie Marie Chouinard and Peter Brook.

In this interview Mark talks about how the Grand Theatre was converted from an indoor golf driving range into a center for the performing arts, and how Calgary’s young and educated population participates in the arts.

 
 Interview: Mark Lawes [13:05m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

Go Global, Citizen!

Monday, April 7th, 2008

Photo by Chih Hau — Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved

Festivals can move David Bower’s “think globally, act locally” slogan for Friends of the Earth to all action: the better you act locally, the more opportunity there is to act globally.

Just take a look at some of this week’s KArts Culture News posted from around the world:

  • German Shakespeare Festival leads with a Japanese production
  • Cameroon connects theatre to a plan for economic development
  • Hip-hop’s international innovators gather for their annual fest
  • Tunisian music fest energizes a tradition
  • Monterey hosts the next generation of jazz
  • Palestinians use dance fest as a bridge through check-points
  • Australia becomes a home for international fringe
  • China creates a home for contemporary dance
  • Edinburgh will bring local excellence to the global stage

Also on the site this week, a link to Juliana Rincón Parra on the great Global Voices site about three contests for global citizens to tell new stories.

El Pais hosts the Movil Film Fest, a contest of one minute videos that have been shot by cell phones or PDAs. The award will go to the work that represents the Best Citizen Journalist. (Check out last year’s submissions.)

MySpace is seeking work from fourteen to twenty-four olds to “Film Your Issue.” Entries can range from thirty seconds to two minutes.

Video News 24 is also hosting a contest for this new opportunity of citizen journalism.

A local story becomes a global cause. An individual’s art becomes a global inspiration. What a wonderful world.

- Bill Reichblum