New Research

Breaking the Refugee Mold Through Curation; Beyond Mystery and Authority; To Repeat also Means Getting Ahead; Curatorial Crisis On Display

in TURBA
Author:
Emmanuel Chima Researcher, Michigan State University, USA

Search for other papers by Emmanuel Chima in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
,
Subthiga Mathanamohan Researcher, Indian Institute of Technology, India

Search for other papers by Subthiga Mathanamohan in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
,
Abdullahi Yussuf Graduate student, LSE, UK

Search for other papers by Abdullahi Yussuf in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
,
Brandon Farnsworth Postdoctoral Researcher, Lund University, Sweden

Search for other papers by Brandon Farnsworth in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
,
Cassandre Langlois Researcher, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne, France

Search for other papers by Cassandre Langlois in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
, and
Amritha Sruthi Radhakrishnan Researcher, Jawaharlal Nehru University, India

Search for other papers by Amritha Sruthi Radhakrishnan in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close

Abstract

The refugee experience is exacerbated by hostile receiving environments, out of which have developed an essentialized refugee imaginary. Media reporting has evidently been rife with documentation of anti-immigration political rhetoric and prejudice toward refugees. In this article we employ a framework of migrant-directed artistic programming to examine the experiences of refugees hosted in Malawi, United Kingdom, and India as curated in their visual, literary, and performance artworks. We interrogate context, meaning, and practice for the annual Tumaini Festival at Dzaleka Refugee Camp, Malawi; Refugee Week Festival, United Kingdom; and the recently published collection of artistic works from India Why did I become an illegal migrant? Tamil refugee students and youth on citizenship. Our examination pays particular attention to the dynamics and interplay of refugees’ individual and collective agency and the paternalistic oversight of their host communities. The distinct and overlapping experiences of refugees in the three countries echo the salience of the resulting power relations in society. This article highlights the agency and tactful resistance of refugees across communities in three different countries. Using thoughtfully curated artwork and related experiences, the refugee communities highlighted in this article begin to remold the layperson's understanding of the refugee experience. Our article contributes to the growing body of literature on refugee experiences and underscores the importance of elevating the voices and perspectives of marginalized migrant communities.

Following the author's experience of the performance SÅLE at the 2022 Ultima Oslo Contemporary Music Festival in Norway, this article argues that the concept of curating as deployed in contemporary music must be expanded beyond an understanding of the authorial individual carried over from the figure of the composer. Using Aneta Szyłak's (2013) concept of curating context, the text argues that a more open-ended understanding of the term will allow practitioners organizing musical events to think beyond this narrowly delimited role and engage in new ways with the organization and constitution of musical events. The text then addresses organizers of contemporary music events directly to detail what this wider view of the curation of musical context could entail for their practices, while speaking to the specificities and challenges of musical curating specifically. The article concludes by suggesting that an expanded notion of working with musical context facilitates the inclusion of new people and perspectives into contemporary music and serves to better frame and value the work of many people already working in this musical genre whose labor does not fit into established notions of musical work.

This article questions the potential of pre-enactment to embody prototypical counter- strategic forms in artistic and curatorial practices, within the European context, in light of a resurgence of authoritarianism, political populism, and the presence of various conflicts, migratory phenomena, and environmental crises. Pre-enactment has been characterized, for example, in certain works of the duo Hofmann & Lindholm, the Public Movement and Interrobang collectives, and the director Milo Rau. According to Friederike Oberkrome and Verena Straub in the introduction to their book (2019), pre-enactment is the invention of hypothetical scenarios, speculations on possible futures, and the experimentation of fictitious times and spaces order in to act on the present. This article approaches pre-enactment from the perspective of performative action-exercises based on three examples: Training for the Future (2019–) by Jonas Staal and Florian Malzacher, la facultad (2021–) by Myriam Lefkowitz and Catalina Insignares, and The Truth Commission (2013–) by Chokri Ben Chikha and his company Action Zoo Humain.

Festivals and their arrangements illuminate aspirational, economic, and aesthetic questions of societies and their citizens. However, to what extent do festivals reflect or represent the crucial concerns of the community they are a part of? This article addresses negotiations in the curatorial process of various festivals, while unraveling the layers of identity formation maneuvered through historical dance narratives. It addresses concerns about how festivals or cultural events become “sites” of curation that can speak to power. The attempt is to define the politics of curation and the need for “curation as a strategy of critique” for the existing presentation of “national” culture and its performance (display) in India. Considering the massive expansion of festivals in artistic arenas, national marketplaces, the international cultural industries, and scholarly programs in festival studies, this article tries to map out the historical context of the dance (performance) festival culture that exists in India.

Re-Imagining the Refugee Experience

There has been a global proliferation of refugees since the codification of the United Nations’ Refugee Convention of 1951 after World War II. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates a population of 89.3 millions of forcibly displaced people, of which refugees approximately comprise a third (UNHCR 2022a). The global state of displacement for refugees remains dire, as between 1974 and 2014, less than one refugee crisis in forty was resolved within three years and more than eighty percent of all the refugee crises lasted more than ten years (Crawford et al. 2015). Protracted refugee situations are defined by UNHCR as “those in which at least 25,000 refugees from the same country have been living in exile for more than five consecutive years” (UNHCR 2020). The refugee experience is further exacerbated by hostile receiving environments, out of which have developed an essentialized refugee imaginary. The makings of the refugee imaginary largely entail a pervasive and monolithic attribution of particular qualities to refugees. These include refugees being thought of as helpless, poverty stricken, racial-ethnic minorities, so-called third world citizens, and a threat or menace to the societies in which they take refuge and resettle (Bronwyn & Hiebert 2022). The prevalence of such an imaginary has resulted in refugees being antagonized, even while simultaneously being received in various host communities. This is visibly evident in media reporting which has been rife with documentation of anti-immigration political rhetoric and prejudice toward refugees, especially those of color. More recently, the onset of the Russia–Ukraine War brought to the fore the distinction between acceptable and tolerated refugees. For example, Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov went on record in the media stating, “These are not the refugees we are used to. . .These people are Europeans. . .These people are intelligent, they are educated people. . .This is not the refugee wave we have been used to, people we were not sure about their identity, people with unclear pasts, who could have been even terrorists” (Esposito 2022).

In this article we employ a framework of migrant-directed artistic programming to examine the experiences of refugees hosted in Malawi, United Kingdom, and India as curated in their visual, literary, and performance artworks. We interrogate context, meaning, and practice for the annual Tumaini Festival at Dzaleka Refugee Camp, Malawi; Refugee Week Festival, United Kingdom; and the recently published collection of artistic works from India Why did I become an illegal migrant? Tamil refugee students and youth on citizenship. Our examination pays particular attention to the dynamics and interplay of refugees’ individual and collective agency and the paternalistic oversight of their host communities. In some receiving contexts refugee protection, which entails upholding laws and conventions directed at ensuring refugee safety and wellbeing (Jastram & Achiron 2001), has simultaneously been mediated and prejudiced at law (O'Reilly 2018). For example, Bragg Bronwyn and Daniel Hiebert (2022) found that despite the hardships and barriers encountered by refugees in Canada, they achieved income and housing outcomes comparable to those of other immigrant groups and Canadian citizens alike. We therefore center the refugee-host community interplay in our examination of artworks created by refugee individuals and communities. Applied to the curative processes of the three communities examined, this also presents the opportunity to explore how the essentialized refugee imaginary of deficit and lack has been challenged, reproduced, or disregarded from within.

Figure 1:
Figure 1:

Left to right: Drawing by T. Sivarasa in the book Why did I become an illegal migrant? Tamil refugee students and youth on citizenship, edited by A.S. Vigetharan, © Chinthan Books, Chennai, India; Refugee Week festival Parade in London, 2010, photographed by Nana Varveropoulou; Gathering at Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Malawi for the annual Tumaini Festival in 2022, view from the main stage as an artist performs to an audience comprised of community members and festival goers, photographed by Tumaini Letu.

Citation: TURBA 2, 2; 10.3167/turba.2023.020203

Migrant-Directed Artistic Programing

In their qualitative evaluation of Royal Museums Greenwich's 2019 Refugee Week Programme, Robyn Smith and Louise Mansfield (2019) submit four pertinent recommendations for migrant-directed artistic programing: 1) Ensuring safe and inclusive spaces; 2) Celebrating difference and diversity; 3) Offering creative translator services; and 4) Defining the target audience and purpose. Such comprehensive intentionality extends focus beyond the mere appreciation of aesthetics to a more critical engagement of the artworks, and importantly the displacement background out of which they are curated. It is crucial that the refugee experience remains central to its artistic byproducts, failing which the agency of refugee voices embedded within them are undermined and the artwork reduced to its aesthetic value. Though artists broadly are understood to function as public intellectuals and pedagogues (Gershon 2009), their audience and consumers also hold legitimizing power that should not be overlooked. As Rebecca Finkel (2010) observes, artistic spaces such as festivals and community events can both highlight and reinforce social differences of power and status. This relational dynamic therefore calls for both conscientious curation and consumption. In the sections that follow, we employ Smith and Mansfield's four-fold recommendations for migrant-directed artistic programming as lenses to review the artistically curated experiences of refugees hosted in Malawi, United Kingdom, and India, where we have each respectively engaged with the communities we write about. Our analysis primarily draws from published work, media reporting, and personal interaction that collectively spans more than ten years. We seek to answer the following three questions: 1) What do the sampled refugee communities say about themselves through their artworks? 2) How are both their works and platforms/avenues of dissemination curated? 3) How have these artistic productions been received and construed by their audiences?

Artistic Testimonies: Sri Lankan Tamil Refugees’ Experiences in India

The Sri Lankan refugee crisis emerged from a longstanding conflict between the Sinhalese majority and the Sri Lankan Tamil minorities, characterized by language, culture, and religious differences. This conflict dates back to pre- colonial times but intensified after Sri Lanka gained independence, fueled by nationalist sentiments. The country's constitution, which favored the Sinhalese, heightened the marginalization of Tamil minorities and triggered an armed struggle between Tamil groups and the national government. The resulting tensions and violence ultimately led to the major Eelam War of 1983 and the widespread displacement of Sri Lankan Tamils. This civil war resulted in the influx of Sri Lankan refugees to India and other parts of the world. Tamil refugees took refuge in India in 1983, 1989, 1996, and 2006. Their immediate refuge was the state of Tamil Nadu in India, which was the closest geographically and had shared linguistic and cultural dimensions between Indian Tamils and Sri Lankan Tamils (George et al. 2016).

The recently published collection of artistic works Why did I become an illegal migrant? Tamil refugee students and youth on citizenship provides a unique window into the experiences of Sri Lankan Tamil refugees in India. It also marks the groundbreaking achievement of being the first literary work published by Sri Lankan refugee youth and children in Tamil Nadu. Though Sri Lankan refugees have been living in India, particularly in Tamil Nadu, for over forty years, there is a dearth of published literature that delves into their unique experiences as refugees in India. This book fills a critical gap, shedding light on the lives and struggles of the refugee community that have often been overlooked or underrepresented in the literary landscape. The publication aims to initiate dialogue and create awareness among the broader community by shedding light on the citizenship issues refugees face. It documents thoughts and insights from the refugee community, emphasizing the importance of diverse voices and opinions to validate their experiences.

The collection's artworks were received as entries for a 2021 competition organized across Tamil Nadu in India for children in refugee camps on Republic Day, observed on January 26. The competition provided a platform for the children's voices to be heard and acknowledged. The editor of the collection, who was invited as a judge to choose the best three artworks in each category, saw how the emotional and political dimensions of the war depicted through the artwork of these children offered a unique and valuable insight into their lives. The collection includes poems, short stories, essays, and illustrations, each contributing to a profound portrayal of the experiences across India's Tamil Nadu refugee camps. A close reading and examination of the visual sketches yielded thematic clusters of artistic representation, each addressing different aspects of the refugee journey. Thirty-one illustrations are included in the collection based on six dominant themes: 1) Why did I become an illegal immigrant?; 2) Rehabilitation camp; 3) Abandoned relatives; 4) Useless hundred thousand votes; 5) Why do I want Indian citizenship?; and 6) Citizenship. There are additional sub-themes that also emerge from the illustrations. The deliberate choice of titles and themes in the book aims to shed light on the complex emotions, thought processes, and political context surrounding the lives of refugees. Such complexity emphasizes that the issue of citizenship is not solely an emotional matter but also a legal and constitutional one. By providing an artistic outlet and embracing the voices of young Tamil refugees, the collection exemplifies the essence of migrant-directed artistic programming (Smith & Mansfield 2019). It goes beyond aesthetics to engage critically with the displacement backgrounds from which these artworks emerged. The collection comprises diverse experiences of Tamil refugees across Tamil Nadu's refugee camps in India, touching upon various aspects of their lives, including struggles, aspirations, and emotional connections to their community. These reflections celebrate the diversity within the refugee experiences while creating a safe and inclusive space where the children express their experiences through art without fear or hesitation.

The portrayal of war trauma and alienation in the illustrations by children who have not directly experienced war or heard first-hand accounts, yet were born in India to refugee parents and continue to live in refugee camps, raises intriguing questions. These children, who were either very young or not even born when the war in Sri Lanka ended in 2009, showcase a depth of understanding and emotional connection to the struggles faced by their community. Their illustrations depict the lasting impact of displacement, lack of citizenship, and the constant feeling of being outsiders in Tamil Nadu. This artistic expression of trauma and alienation highlights the profound influence of their environment, heritage, and the collective experiences of their families. It serves as a testament to the enduring legacy of war and refugee communities’ ongoing struggles.

An analysis of the first theme from the collection unearths the perspectives of Tamil refugees on issues of citizenship, legal status, and human rights that are often silenced and underappreciated. Faced with insurmountable odds, Tamil refugee youth rightly ask, “Why did I become an illegal immigrant?” The term refugee in the Indian context is paradoxical as the state and central governments recognize the term refugee to provide support and administrative functions only on humanitarian grounds. However, under India's Foreigners’ Act of 1946, the term refugee is covered under the foreigner category. The term covers aliens temporarily or permanently residing in the country, making it an unrecognized category such that “It has created not only some confusion but also introduced administrative and legal issues” (Arockiam 2022, 10). These acts and laws are binding, such that India refuses to accept or integrate Sri Lankan refugees into their society unlike some countries that have integrated displaced migrants by providing them asylum, refugee status, and eventual approval for citizenship. The Citizenship Amendment Act of 1955 and the Citizenship Amendment Act of 2019 classify Sri Lankan refugees in Tamil Nadu camps as unlawful immigrants. The Citizenship Amendment Act of 1986 (Central Act 51 of 1986) altered its Section 3, effective July 1, 1987, on account of the Assam Accord, which authorized a child born in India to automatically become an Indian citizen if one of the parents was an Indian citizen at the time of birth. Children born to Tamil refugees who arrived in India during the first phase in 1983 and before the implementation of this act in 1987 managed to get legal status through their birth certificates.

The illustrations under the theme “Why did I become an illegal immigrant?” provide insight into why Sri Lankan Tamils sought refuge in India and the factors that led to their status as illegal migrants. These illustrations depict the harrowing experiences of Tamil refugees as they fled their homeland to escape the ravages of war, including bombings, aerial attacks, and displacement within their own country. Many of these illustrations show refugees fleeing their homeland by boat, often under perilous conditions such as being dropped in the middle of the ocean. The boats represent what was a last resort for many Tamil refugees, who risked their lives to cross borders and reach the shores of India, where they hoped to find safety and a better life. The illustrations also highlight the destruction and devastation wrought by war, with images of homes and entire communities engulfed in flames. The depictions further underscore the urgency under which refugees flee their homeland to seek safety elsewhere. Their depth derives from the personal experiences, as refugees, of the youth behind the collection who desire to see their individual and collective hardship resolved.

The collection's editor has previously facilitated the refugee community's publication of four other works. This recent publication aims to reach a broader audience, specifically the citizenry of India, to provide information and raise awareness, highlight the needs and struggles of the refugee community, and generate public discourse supporting their rightful demand for citizenship. The collection also targeted a specific readership of policymakers, individuals involved in refugee-related work, and government rehabilitation officers. The editor did not explicitly articulate the concept of curation but, in practice, functioned as a curator: in deciding the need to publish the artworks, organizing the illustrations in a coherent historical narrative to address the urgency of the children's plight, engaging in dialogue with contributors regarding language use to ensure its “appropriateness” (essentially softening it for better receipt). These actions reflect Smith and Mansfield's (2019) recommendations for creative translator services and a clear target audience and purpose. The editor's curatorial methodology sought to represent the transition in the lives of the children from being unrecognized migrants in refugee camps to their plea for citizenship. Under the sub-section “Camp” of the book there is an article titled “Camp for a Quarter of a Century” written by G. Nagajothi, a tenth-grade student who expresses, “We do not want a place or any other concessions. Just giving citizenship is enough. We will take care of our life. It does not matter if our generation is gone. It is painful to leave, as well as our next generation, as refugees” (Vigetharan 2023, 153). Contrary to the widespread assumption of the refugee community seeking resettlement, the overarching wish expressed by the community, as evident through these illustrations, is to attain citizenship and break free from the identity of being deemed illegal immigrants. The illustrations featured in the book provide a compelling reflection of the aspirations and desires of the Tamil refugee community in India and also shed light on the complex and often devastating factors that have contributed to the global refugee crisis.

Refugee Week Festival, United Kingdom

The annual nationwide festival known as Refugee Week in the United Kingdom (UK) honors the contributions, ingenuity, and tenacity of refugees and those seeking sanctuary. Refugee Week Festival began in 1998 and is celebrated annually around World Refugee Day which falls on June 20. It is in itself another expanding international movement. The festival week usually consists of film screenings, artistic exhibitions, workshops, carnivals, comedy nights, football tournaments, and other social gatherings (McElhinney 2011). Anyone can participate in Refugee Week by organizing or taking part in an event or activity (Refugee Week 1998). During this festival week, refugees and asylum seekers participate in various artistic endeavors and give performances to large crowds and in theater settings. The festival allows participants to gain confidence, new skills, friendships, and a sense of purpose (McElhinney 2011). Furthermore, by participating in culturally vibrant performances, refugees and asylum seekers celebrate the places where they have established new lives and homes. In the course of the festival week, refugees and asylum seekers draw on their personal experiences to curate artistic pieces to inform their communities, and the world, that they are much more than their displacement background; but rather individuals with goals, dreams, and determination to succeed (Yussuf 2021).

In support, academia has been advocating for migrants to be equally recognized by creating opportunities for them to showcase their talents. As a pioneer, University of East London in particular began “facilitating an independent publishing space encouraging a range of different publishing opportunities including traditional articles, multimedia pieces, poetry and creative writing” (Dudman 2020, 1). This is a laudable extension of the spirit of Refugee Week. These efforts are however undermined by the March 2023 introduction of the Illegal Immigration Bill in the UK parliament, which essentially aims to obstruct people from seeking sanctuary in the UK. Nevertheless, through its platform Refugee Week remains aptly positioned to advocate against the inhumane plans of the UK Home Office to intensify its restrictive stance toward migrants. Through its participants, Refugee Week has the respect and solidarity of non-for-profit organizations such as We Belong, Coram, and Hackney Migrant Centre. There however remains a continuous need for curative work that fosters an inclusive social movement in which migrants are perceived as equal members of society and allowed, free of stigma, to thrive, collaborate, and contribute to UK society. Refugee Week has proven itself useful in creating such a sense of belonging and inclusivity. In light of the immigration bill under review, migrant rights’ campaigners, activists and the general public will have to help show that migrants, as broadly defined, are in-country to thrive and make a positive impact on contemporary UK society.

Refugee Week remains the largest week-long celebration in the UK that honors the contributions and achievements of refugees. This is a celebration that promotes understanding of why people are displaced as well as the difficulties they encounter when trying to find safety through a program of artistic, cultural, sporting, educational, and media events as well as creative campaigns. People who have sought safety in the UK use Refugee Week as a platform to freely express their experiences, viewpoints, and artistic creations (Refugee Week 1998). Through these programs, refugees and asylum seekers challenge the prevailing narratives and imaginaries about them by curating art to inform the UK society of who they truly are. Moreover, the week-long festival is often when some migrants familiarize themselves with the process of curation and have the initial opportunity to take charge of artistically re-imagining their own stories and for others in society. To that end, Smith and Mansfield highlighted in their report that “For many of the participants it was their first time visiting a museum in London. When a family was asked about some of the reasons why they responded with: a lack of awareness about the museum, confusion over how to use public transport, and the high perceived costs. In a feedback email sent after the Welcome and Wellbeing Day, a community partner commented: ‘For some it was their first trip in London, and they now feel encouraged to go to a museum again’” (2019, 11).

The encouragement that the participants felt following a full day of activities and a museum tour is a prime example of how some migrants begin to assume narrative control and embody a curative stance toward the expression of their stories, journeys, and experiences. For more than twenty-five years Refugee Week has proven itself instrumental for championing migrant visibility and fostering a welcoming atmosphere for all. Moreover, as this year's festival theme was compassion, there persists the urgency to disrupt migrant monoliths and counter their real-life impact. For example, Taylor and Quinn (2023) report that the Home Secretary's plan to institute offshore processing for asylum seekers by sending them to Rwanda was ruled unlawful and not accepted by the UK court system. While the Home Office's plan illustrates the potential threat of migrant vilification, the ruling vindicates that balanced and justified discourse on migrant issues ought to prevail. Outside of the legal and political spheres, the arts can continually serve to inform how refugees and asylum seekers are imagined, perceived and talked about.

Personal attendance of a Refugee Week celebration with a UK charity in June 2023 also presented the opportunity for an interview with a festival participant to discuss not only the importance of the celebratory week but also how pivotal it is to recognize and respect migrants’ achievements throughout the UK. This individual, a migrant in the UK, who spoke under condition of anonymity, had the following to say about Refugee Week and its significance: “Refugee Week is so important as it's a week that represents who we are as individuals and the power of uniting as one to achieve social cohesion while also fulfilling individual and collective potential. There is so much power in coming together especially now that the UK government has passed the law that those who “illegally” came to the UK cannot claim asylum. It's crucial that we utilize celebratory weeks such as Refugee Week to fight laws like these.” The interview demonstrated the profound reflective impact of the festival for both migrants and their receiving communities in fighting for equal and fair treatment of migrants, which is itself a collaborative and at times difficult journey to embark on. Nonetheless, the reflection shared is a prominent reminder for the ongoing need to purposefully curate in view of creating a more just and positive refugee image.

Tumaini Festival at Dzaleka Refugee Camp, Malawi

Malawi has hosted refugees from within its region as far back as the 1970s, particularly in response to the protracted 1977–1992 civil war in neighboring Mozambique. The past three decades have seen a steady increase of mostly East African refugees, from about ten thousand in 1994 to over fifty-five in 2022 (UNHCR 2022b). This more recently arrived refugee population is hosted at Dzaleka Refugee Camp, a former maximum-security prison that at the height of its operations in 1960 housed eighty to one hundred prisoners (Baker 2011). The conditions, both physical and legal, to which refugees in Malawi are presently subjected are reminiscent of such historical confinement. Comprehensive reform to Malawi's refugee framework has been under review for the past ten years (UNHCR 2019). The hardships that such eventual reform would address therefore remain in force to the present day. These include continued policing of movement and place of residence for refugees. It is out of such a sociopolitical climate that the Tumaini Festival emerged.

The festival was established in 2014 by Trésor Nzengu Mpauni, also known as Menes La Plume, a refugee poet, musician, and writer from Lubumbashi in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with collective goals to “empower refugees and foster pride; encourage entrepreneurship and reduce poverty; facilitate the gain and exchange of knowledge and skills through workshops and trainings” (Tumaini Letu 2017). The essence of the Tumaini Festival has been self-described and labeled as “breaking the mold for refugees” (Mpauni 2019). In testament to its vision, the homepage of the festival's website in 2019 stated: “Across the six previous editions over 99,000 people have attended the event, and 304 performing acts from across Malawi, Africa and the world shared the same stages with performers from Dzaleka. Tumaini Festival has united 18 nationalities of performers: DRC, Rwanda, Burundi, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Norway, Japan, Brazil, Mozambique, Belgium, UK, Italy, Somalia, Poland, France, South Africa and South Korea. The festival gained national and international media coverage. It has so far achieved a media reach estimated at 50,000,000 people worldwide, presenting a genuinely different and positive story about refugees” (Tumaini Festival 2019).

The weekend-long festival, which takes place in the last quarter of the year, comprises a myriad of activities that extend well beyond the artistic production of the festival itself. The activities include sporting events, arts and crafts vending, mobile restaurants and specially mounted food stands, as well as a homestay program for visitors to the camp. The power play of confinement and repression at Dzaleka is reframed through the Tumaini Festival which becomes a site for community resilience and cohesion (Makhumula 2019). A Congolese resident of the camp shared “Tumaini means hope. Being a refugee means maybe. . .many refugees are losing hope, they flee their countries because of many reasons, then with the Tumaini Festival we refresh a little bit, refugees enjoy a little bit, and they try to forget what happened in their back [home] countries,” while a Malawian festival-goer relayed “I think when you mentioned camp, a refugee camp, people really expect it's the place where people are just being kept and there's no real life, and it's just people away from home. I think I didn't have much of an awareness about what happens in Dzaleka and about Dzaleka itself. So being here and seeing like the cross culture sharing of different bands and different music, it's very impressive” (Fly High Africa 2016)

The festival is internationally recognized for its success and has fast become a tourist attraction in a manner similar to its forerunner the Lake of Stars Festival (Macfarlane 2015). Since its establishment, the Tumaini Festival has expanded to include a growing list of performers, artists, and entrepreneurs, whose contributions are re-imagining Dzakela as a visible site of resistance to dominant discourses of Dzaleka's recurring history of institutionalized control and confinement—as a former federal prison under British colonial government and then more recently a refugee camp (Baker 2011). With a main stage set up next to the administrative center of the camp and a smaller youth-dedicated stage farther into the camp, performances chronicle experiences of conflict, displacement, struggle, resilience, and hope. The festival's youth stage and related activities encourage young people to become involved in artistic expressions within Dzaleka. The thematic nature of the artistic works showcased through the festival as a whole mirror how World Refugee Day, June 20, is observed and celebrated in the camp.

In brokering social engagement, the weekend-long festival brings together local, foreign and refugee artists, theater ensembles, dance troupes, and various other creatives. Issues of language and culture take center stage through artistic display, spurring a celebration of diversity and multiculturalism. The visual and melodic aesthetics of the cultural artforms at the festival are seamlessly complemented by modern ones such as spoken word and drama skits which more readily give voice to the plight of life at Dzaleka and for refugees in Malawi. In claiming back and rewriting refugee narratives, the festival functions as a form of artistic resistance.

Conclusion

The refugee experience is evidently regulated by legal authority both nationally and internationally through conventions such as the United Nations’ Refugee Convention of 1951 and domestic legislation. The distinct and overlapping experiences of refugees in India, the UK, and Malawi echo the salience of the resulting power relations in society. This article highlights the agency and tactful resistance of refugees across communities in three different countries. While each national hosting situation is different, there are similarities with regard to limitations on the processes for social incorporation and the persistence of prejudicial refugee imaginaries. Using thoughtfully curated artworks, and related experiences, the refugee communities highlighted in this article begin to remold the layperson's understanding of the refugee experience. Our article contributes to the growing body of literature on refugee experiences and underscores the importance of elevating the voices and perspectives of marginalized migrant communities.

Works Cited

  • Arockiam, Kulandai. 2022. Camp Life of Sri Lankan Refugees in India. New York: Routledge.

  • Baker, Colin. 2011. “Come Walk with Me: Three Visits to Dzaleka.” The Society of Malawi Journal 64(1): 3441.

  • Bronwyn, Bragg, & Daniel Hiebert. 2022. “Refugee Trajectories, Imaginaries, and Realities: Refugee Housing in Canadian Cities.” Canadian Journal of Urban Research 31(1): 1632.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Crawford, Nicolas, John Cosgrave, Simone Haysom, & Nadine Walicki. 2015. Protracted Displacement: Uncertain Paths to Self-Reliance in Exile. London: Overseas Development Institute.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Dudman, Paul V., ed. 2020. “Editorial—Why Displaced Voices?Displaced Voices: A Journal of Archives, Migration and Cultural Heritage 1(1): 611.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Esposito, Addie. 2022. “The Limitations of Humanity: Differential Refugee Treatment in the EU.” Harvard International Review. Accessed in 2022 at https://hir.harvard.edu/the-limitations-of-humanity-differential-refugee-treatment-in-the-eu/.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Finkel, Rebecca. 2010. “Re-Imaging Arts Festivals through a Corporate Lens: A Case Study of Business Sponsorship at the Henley Festival.” Managing Leisure 15(4): 237250

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Fly High Africa. 2016. The Tumaini Festival. Accessed in 2023 at https://youtu.be/Cy5Rnz6JfFA.

  • George, Miriam, Vaillancourt, Anita, & Rajan, S. Irudaya. 2016. “Sri Lankan Tamil Refugees in India: Conceptual Framework of Repatriation Success.” Refuge: Canada's Journal on Refugees 32(3): 7382.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gershon, Walter S. 2009. “Entertaining Ideas and Embodied Knowledge: Musicians as Public Intellectuals.” In Jennifer A. Sandlin, Brian. D. Schultz, and Jake Burdick, eds., Handbook of Public Pedagogy: Education and Learning beyond Schooling, 628638. New York: Routledge.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Jastram, Kate, & Achiron, Marilyn. 2001. Refugee Protection: A Guide to International Refugee Law. Geneva: IPU/United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Macfarlane, Clyde. 2015. “The Malawi Music Festival Bringing Hope to Its Refugee Residents.” The Guardian, November 17. Accessed in 2023 at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/nov/17/malawi-tumaini-music-festival-refugee-residents.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Makhumula, Catherine. 2019. “Re-Imagining Dzaleka: The Tumaini Festival and Refugee Visibility.” Eastern African Literary and Cultural Studies 5(1): 118.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • McElhinney, Belinda. 2011. “Refugee Week Scotland.” Line. (June 2010).

  • Mpauni, Tresor. 2019. Breaking the Mold for Refugees: Founding the Tumaini Festi- val in Dzaleka Refugee Camp, Malawi. WorldBank Blogs. Nasikiliza. Accessed in 2023 at https://blogs.worldbank.org/nasikiliza/breaking-mold-refugees-founding-tumaini-festival-dzaleka-refugee-camp-malawi.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • O'Reilly, Zoë. 2018. “‘Living Liminality’: Everyday Experiences of Asylum Seekers in the ‘Direct Provision’ System in Ireland.” Gender Place & Culture 25(6): 821842.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Refugee Week.1998. “About Refugee Week.” Refugee Week website, June 20. Accessed in 2023 at https://refugeeweek.org.uk/about/.

  • Smith, Robyn, & Louise Mansfield. 2019. Royal Museums Greenwich-Refugee Week Report (11th ed., Vol. 1, 128, Publication No. 1). London: Brunel University London.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Taylor, Diane, & Quinn, Ben. 2023. “Braverman Plan to Send Asylum Seekers to Rwanda Unlawful, Appeal Court Rules.” The Guardian, June 29. Accessed in 2023 at https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2023/jun/29/plan-to-send-asylum-seekers-to-rwanda-is-unlawful-uk-appeal-court-rules.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Tumaini Festival. 2019. Home. Accessed in 2021 at https://www.tumainifestival.org.

  • Tumaini Letu. 2017. Tumaini Festival 2017 at Dzaleka Refugee Camp. Accessed in 2023 at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/tumaini21/tumaini-festival-2017-at-dzaleka-refugee-camp.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. 2019, October. Submission for the Universal Periodic Review-Malawi. UPR 36th Session.

  • United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. 2020. Protracted Refugee Situations Explained. Accessed in 2020 at https://www.unrefugees.org/news/protracted-refugee-situations-explained/.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. 2022a. Global Trends Forced Displacement. 2021. Accessed in 2022 at https://www.unhcr.org/62a9d1494/global-trends-report-2021.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • United Nations High Commission for Refugees. 2022b. Malawi. Operations summary. Accessed in 2022 at https://data2.unhcr.org/en/country/mwi.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Vigetharan, V.S. (ed.). 2023. Why Did I Become an Illegal Migrant? Tamil Refugee Students and Youth on Citizenship. Chennai: Chinthan Books.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Yussuf, Abdullahi. 2021. “What It's Like to Have Your Life Put on Hold by the Home Office.” Big Issue, December 18.

Beyond Mystery and Authority

The Curators-Who-are-not-Artistic-Directors

Brandon Farnsworth

In new music's short history of discussing the term curating, we have managed to speed run reinventing the composer as the even-more-powerful figure of the curator as artistic director, towering over not just a mere concert event but an entire festival, infusing it with a grand artistic vision.1 This article attempts to reclaim the concept of music curating, arguing its meaning must go beyond this elision between forms of absolute authorship and control to include the critical, contextual work of producers and artists as well.

SÅLE

The impetus for this article emerged from a discussion I had during a performance at the 2022 Ultima Oslo Contemporary Music Festival in Norway. A member of the festival's training program for young curators did not see the connection between curatorial work and the site-specific performance we had just seen together, nor did they associate curating with anything other than the festival's director. They nervously idolized the role, filling it with mystery and authority, while mentioning feeling like outsiders to “the scene” who would never be qualified for such a prestigious position (despite having very interesting ideas and practices of their own).

Entitled SÅLE, the performance we had just experienced took place in and around Villa Grande in Bygdøy, former residence of Vidkun Quisling, Minister President of Norway during German occupation, and current home of the Norwegian Centre for Holocaust and Minority Studies. It took place in three parts, starting on the beach with a dancer and a trumpet player,2 before escorting visitors to a dance performance in the garden outside the villa by Nordic Black X-press,3 and ending with three performers in the villa's great hall.4 The work was put together by the choreographer and artistic director Anna Charlotta Nordanstedt, in collaboration with the different groups performing in its three sections. It was by my account successful, blending refined speaker-work on the beach, the clear symbolic gesture of hip-hop and formalist sculptural elements in front of this villa haunted by its history, and the three performers in the great hall delivering tense-yet-delicate performances evoking a rotten, hairy, decadence to close the event.

This kind of performance has become more common in recent new music festivals; departing (often literally) from the stage and concert hall, creating site-specific music theatre works, often in public space. From the perspective of new music history, this departure from the traditional spaces of musical performance can be seen as an attempt at a “new start” removed from the expectations of both the concert hall and the theatre, with its associations to opera (Hiekel 2015, 19; see also Rebstock and Roesner 2012, on the concept of “composed theater”). When these existing aspects of context around the musical work are rejected, the question becomes, how are they replaced?

Composer Manos Tsangaris, whose practice has long worked with its theatrical elements, and often taken place outdoors or in public space, offers a compelling schema for thinking through this departure from the concert hall. He evokes the metaphor of the tent, which he relates etymologically to the ancient Greek word skené, from which the word “stage” is also derived (Tsangaris 2015, 185). Tsangaris presents the tent as a small place delineated by collective will from the forces of the world (ibid.). Implicit in this schema is a consensus about the institution of a tent as a frame agreed upon and shared by those involved in the performance, a place of collective agreement. He understands his role as composer as working within this mutual frame “to put into motion and into relation [Verhältnis]” the observer's perception, aiming at a transformation that can be brought back to “the more universal space of their experience, their lives” (Tsangaris 2015, 185–186; my translation).5 The work of the composer is here both the creation of this frame ‘away from’ established cultural institutions and from new music (though of course never entirely free of them), but also in making this new frame and filling it with content, taking a critical, transformative position toward the audience.

Artistic practices like Tsangaris’ have in past years increasingly focused new music's “traditional” self-criticality and anti-traditionalism on the performative event itself. This act of composing the work's perceptual frame as an extension of artistic expression is how compositional practice engages with the theatrical, understood in a general sense as the fuzzy, interdisciplinary, and underdetermined-yet-ubiquitous space of encounter with the world.

Shannon Jackson argues that this understanding of theatricality applies to other arts outside of music too. Pointing to this interdisciplinary space and the many possible avenues for engaging with it, her argument is that ‘theatrical’ practices such as that of Tsangaris can be understood as a more general method for modernist, medium-specific arts to re-evaluate the conditions of their production (Jackson 2005, 173). Be it new music's interrogation of the concert format or minimal art's explosion of the picture frame, this questioning of the separation between fore- and background, inside and out, is how many practitioners begin interrogating context.

Not only have composers such as Tsangaris engaged in this kind of experimentation, but it has also allowed for experiments in programming as well, allowing for the inclusion criteria into, for example, a music festival to be reassessed: SÅLE was organized by a choreographer, not a composer, and yet it is a music theatre piece. That the artistic director's background was in choreography is exactly the point: it is evidence of the possibility of interdisciplinary collaboration that music theatre as an exploratory space permits.

This concept of theatricality, and of working with context and its unpredictability ‘in the world’, can also be seen as aspects of curatorial work, a connection I wish to illustrate with Aneta Szyłak's concept of curating context. Szyłak argues from a general position of uneasiness about what it means to curate context, writing that “when, on occasion, I have been asked to teach what I mean by “curating context” as a “discipline,” I always feel uneasy about it, as if this disciplinary approach would rob the practice of some as-yet ungraspable element” (2013, 215). Context is relational, and working with it inevitably means remaining situated within a certain set of parameters, constraints, and so on. It is difficult to turn this concept into a method that can be generalized, translated into a seminar, and taught to students as the right way of approaching something so rudimentary as working within a context without losing that ungraspable ability to adapt and respond that must come from acute awareness and embeddedness within the context being curated. This situational, un-generalizable knowledge resonates with Tsangaris’ concept of staking a tent together with an audience, a practice that is perhaps discussable as a general strategy, but mostly manifested as situational knowledge.

Second, Szyłak identifies a critical aspect to curating. It is not just about any kind of working with context, but clearly about “activating a context and subsequently changing what we think this context is all about,” as well as “setting a friction between [artworks for display. . .] and their surroundings” (2013, 215). Creating this friction is something fundamentally critical, in the sense of suggesting that something can become otherwise, or bringing into relief how the neutrality and invisibility claimed by an institutional frame occludes as much as it reveals (see e.g., Ahmed 2012). It implies a specific vision of and justification for change, and a targeted intervention into the existing status quo using the means at hand, once again similar to the transformative task of the composer in Tsangaris’ tent analogy.

The last aspect I want to highlight is how Szyłak emphasizes the fundamental unknowability of material:

Contextual activity includes numerous practical demands which, at the level of curating, not only influence curatorial positions and decisions but also reveal and make active its invisible, unpredictable and uncontrollable elements. . . . We do not fully control what one can learn from curating context. First, the context can also be activated by something else, thus forcing us to admit that we are not in complete control. Second, the attention of the users of context—never singular—can also point at a ‘meaning’ that simply had slipped through our fingers, as if it had never been there. (2013, 217)

This “unpredictable and uncontrollable” aspect of context revealed itself during the performance of SÅLE. During the first part of the performance in Oslo, a cruise ship set sail and made its way across our panorama view of Oslo Fjord. Delighted, the photographer hired by the festival to document the performance used the occasion to frame the performers against the ship in the background, and slightly tired, I watched him do this instead of paying attention to the performance, reflecting on how the documentation would probably feature a great ship passing by, underscoring aspects of city marketing, clichés about Norway's nautical bona fides, and more.6

While we are never fully in control of context, curating context is perhaps like painting with Bob Ross: we try to control what we can, creating the conditions for frictions to emerge between the artworks and their surroundings, but in the end, we also need to be at peace with the happy accidents that result. All this is likely also true for Nordanstedt, top-billed for SÅLE, who skillfully and artfully wove together so many different people, materials, processes, et cetera. She is however not given the title of curator, being credited instead as “director, choreographer” on the festival website (Ultima n.d. a).7 Having now established that music theatre practices, in their attempts to design their contexts and spaces of encounter as deliberate artistic choices rather than default options, can be understood also as practices curating context, it is now important to turn to the artistic directors-turned-curators to understand their side of the situation.

The difference between a festival director and artist seems to be a matter of what aspect of context you take charge of. Curating context becomes like Tsangaris’ analogy to pitching tents, though with individual curators responsible for pitching tents on various dimensions of context, be it the festival's artistic director with their act of gathering people for a festival to take place, SÅLE's director turning the villa and its surrounding part into one large tent for the performance's small audience, or the performers’ own drawing of these boundaries during the performance itself. Finally, as Szyłak mentions, there is always also the totally unpredictable ways in which the users of context such as audience members will create their own meanings that could never have been predicted. This view is less precious about who we can call the curator and comes with a certain openness to think about how multiple curators can work together. But if these roles are so similar, then why does new music insist on exclusively according the title of curator to artistic directors?

The beginning of an answer can be found in an essay by Claire Bishop addressing a very similar question as to the differences and similarities between independent curators and installation artists in the visual arts. She argues the difference lies in the choice of context. Curators are for her those people who engage creatively with the context of their administrative role to promote and fund their institutions against the backdrop of the constant struggle for attention of the cultural industry. This contrasts with, for example, installation artists, who no matter what their practices, are subsumed into this curatorial creativity in the service of promoting the curator and the institution (Bishop 2007, 18).

While the professional dynamics of new music are somewhat different, mostly because of its niche status and lack of the same kind of market power as the visual arts, Bishop's view still resonates with the singular, authorial curators of new music festivals today, and their ambiguous relationship to artists undertaking their own work curating context, where how their work is presented becomes an explicitly artistic choice.

Music festival curators control who is programmed and in what venue, while often also acting as informal dramaturgs, giving feedback and direction to artists’ work. Their creative work lies in selecting the “right” artists to program, while balancing this with securing funding and keeping their institutions in existence. With many artistic directors having recently weathered the unpredictability that the COVID-19 pandemic brought to organizing live events, government cuts to arts funding, and high inflation making old production budgets unrealistic, it seems obvious that a certain creativity is required to do this successfully.

It is not the goal of this article to refute or relativize this work. Rather its goal is to argue that they are not the only curators at work in the new music festival or community. Insisting on this “yes, and,” and illustrating the curatorial practices working with context of a music theatre performance like SÅLE, the point is to reject the exclusivity of this position and argue that this creative interplay of the organizational and the expressive can be extended beyond artistic directors.

New Music's Other Curators

The ambiguous role of producers within new music is one area where a closer investigation of this interplay can help expand our concept of curating. New music producers generally have the role of overseeing the practical details and execution of a particular concert or production. Many organizations already have brilliant producers and project managers on staff who are responsible for organizing performances and events, but they are generally expected to fulfill directives from the top rather than to propose their own artists to invite, topics to explore, and formats to experiment with.

The role of producer is a varied one. It can involve activities as diverse as applying for funding, booking travel and lodging, negotiating between artists, venues, and other staff like sound technicians, et cetera. In making context expressive and part of artistic practice, many productions have become drastically more elaborate in recent years and included entirely new demands on producers from both artists and directors, such as working with city officials to obtain the permits necessary for a performance in public space, initiating contact with groups outside of new music for community-based artistic practices, or being the frontline of ensuring a festival's new accessibility requirements are actually realized at a hired venue, all in addition to their existing skillset.

The “new start” of musical productions addressing their theatricality as well as festivals’ experimentations with formats are also challenges for producers. But as they gain experience in doing this, they become experts in curating context as well, making sure the most complex productions can succeed, often on shoestring budgets. Simultaneously, they are overlooked in the debate on curatorial practice in new music. They fall in-between, not in charge of who to program, nor the ones performing or composing the artistic work themselves. This contrasts with the independent curator of the visual arts, or theatre dramaturgs, both of whom are more widely understood to also initiate work themselves, alongside providing feedback, et cetera.8

The rise of curatorial training courses is another interesting area to consider within this attempt to expand who curates music. Increasingly organized by higher music education institutions, students (often performing musicians) are taught how to initiate, organize, fund, and realize their own projects. Such courses are often initiated in recognition of a changing professional landscape wherein ‘entrepreneurial skills’ are necessary for the more flexible, so-called portfolio or DIY careers they will have as long-term contracts become increasingly rare (Bartleet et al. 2019; Prokop and Reitsamer 2023; Templer and Cawsey 1999). While such skills may indeed be useful for a transformed employment landscape, there is a conspicuous disconnect from artistic expression itself, and from the situated, critical knowledges emphasized by curators.

In a course pack developed to work against this situation in education more generally through classroom exercises, the Precarious Workers Brigade recount how this disconnect happens through a separation of lived experience and professional “skills”: “Students are often implicitly expected to turn off their critical and political faculties when they enter a ‘professional practice’ seminar dedicated to self-marketing. . . . At the same time, these sessions often omit realistic information about the conditions of precarity, employment rights and real work / life in professional sectors. . . . Worse still, it replicates a general pattern in academia where politics is limited to the production of ‘theoretical content’ without consequence, content that ignores the structures and material conditions of its own making” (Precarious Workers Brigade 2017, 7).

New music has long denied the existence of these structural and material conditions under which it operates, one of the reasons why this break away from its existing frames and institutions is such a powerful act. Additionally, acknowledging the contradiction that currently exists in music curatorial practices is essential: “curatorial skills” are promoted, but yet “the curator” remains limited to a select group of artistic directors. For this not to be a repetition of the same situation where an increasing number of musicians compete for a dwindling number of jobs, an opening must be created.

Across the sites of education, production, creation, and organization of new music, there is a need for rethinking music's intersection with its context, be it because of the challenge of running and maintaining a music festival amidst turbulent societal changes, creating music whose format is a deliberate artistic choice, working with artists to realize ideas within real- world limitations, or working as an artist in times of precarity. The concept of curating can help think through these challenges, negotiating the material conditions of musical production that is connected to real working conditions and issues, and perhaps also finding potential commonalities between them.

This view echoes Jean-Paul Martinon's concept of the “curatorial” as “a jailbreak from pre-existing frames, a gift enabling one to see the world differently, a strategy for inventing new points of departure,” et cetera (2013, 4). It is the escape from this existing frame that new music is attempting with the concept of curating, but given the specifics of how it currently operates today, still is not the case. Discussions around professional challenges and working conditions remain siloed or nonexistent, but worse is the avoidance of the politics of musical production beyond “theoretical content without consequence.” While critique is nominally definitional for the genre of new music, it is hollowed out.

A Shift in Perspective Can Also Lead to a Shift in Practice

In the final section of this article, I want to briefly sketch some potential avenues through which new music can begin working with the concept of curating beyond just being a new name for the creativity of artistic directors.

The first suggestion is for artistic directors to give up control of portions of the programming, either to artists, or to producers. This is a question both of a more distributed decision-making structure and of distributing responsibility. Artistic directors are often accountable with their programming to various funding commitments, agreements with arts councils or ministries of culture, or cooperation with other institutions, et cetera. The suggestion is simply to include more people in all aspects of this process from ideation and networking to writing grants and fitting into longer-term strategic goals. This practice is already well-established in large visual arts biennales, who often have many curators working on different sub-exhibitions, but also in electronic music festivals, such as MUTEK in Montréal, Canada, who employ multiple curators bringing in their own networks.

Rather than reflecting the personal social network of the artistic director, a new music institution becomes an infrastructure for supporting various projects, initiatives, and communities, even (or especially) ones that go beyond the immediate knowledge or control of its director.

Building on this, the second suggestion is to commission more than concerts. As musical practices expand, so to can the possible formats in which it expresses itself. For instance, I recently also attended the small MINU festival in Copenhagen in 2022, where the artistic director commissioned a series of four essays around ideas and concepts explored in the commissioned works and the festival's curatorial concept. It also very consciously invested in having a cool website (with cats) designed to attract younger audiences. To give another example, Borealis–A Festival for Experimental Music in Bergen, Norway, has similarly committed heavily to enriching the festival context and community through measures like programming a “Listening Club” with events throughout the year and creating a festival radio station to sonically unite its different venues. The production of SÅLE, with the wide mix of participating artists that it involved, illustrates this as well. Such diverse formats can also be seen as opportunities to apply for different kinds of funding, or to establish collaborations with new kinds of institutions, who potentially bring in different audiences, ideas, and so on. While it could be argued that such approaches represent extra work, this is the point of moving away from a model of the festival curator as the even-more-auratic author of an entire multi-day, multi-site festival comprising a large team of people. To successfully realize such intricate explorations of music's vast contexts requires delegation and sharing of responsibility, authority, money, and repute, something that remains sorely lacking in most new music organizations.

This returns to the text's core message, namely that it is not enough to acknowledge the multifacetedness of musical diversity and its curation as a rhetorical exercise limited to a festival's artistic statement. There must also be an activist angle to this insight, expanding to include the curators-who-are-not-artistic-directors. Rather than every performance being a small part of a larger curatorial concept, ownership is shared, there are multiple curators and curatorial visions working together, involving different people, and addressing contexts that gradually unfurl out to the horizon.

Conclusion

Before the final portion of SÅLE began, there was a short delay between scenes that caused the audience to wait in a foyer of the villa housing the Norwegian Centre for Holocaust and Minority Studies. There, an informational text from the museum hung on the wall next to the entrance to the final venue of the performance. It informed us about the life of a person who had fled to Norway from Germany in WWII, only to be returned and subsequently killed. Both myself and several other audience members I noticed ended up reading it while waiting, adding the story it told to our experience of the performance un/predictability.

It was of course partly this dark and horrible history that SÅLE attempted to activate. Making activation “happen” is the work of curating context, which becomes a way of naming the ongoing work of resisting the institutionalization and the routinization of attending a new music festival. It is a name for the constant struggle of breaking through the “reality distortion field” that is formed when attending a festival, for actively fighting against audiences’ tendency to wall-off their experience from the rest of their lives, and institutions’ tendency to want to compartmentalize and stabilize meaning and reduce the potential for any kind of conflict. The radicality of the suggestion to pitch a tent, to curate context, is contained in its implicit criticism of modes of presentation and reception running on autopilot, where audiences and organizers, familiar with a certain established ritual of concert-going, already know where the performance will end up, and become at best only mildly curious about the sportive ways it could get there. Reengagement with the myriad entanglements of a performance in place of its artificial separation from lived experience is how the full potential of thinking curatorially and exploring the richness of context are fully realized when curating performance.

Notes

1

This article will use the term new music as a shorthand to describe the European tradition of experimental music beginning roughly in 1945. Music influenced by this history might also be referred to as experimental music, contemporary classical music (CCM), or contemporary music by other authors.

2

Putli Hellsene and Nils Petter Molvær, respectively.

3

Consisting of Franklin Mukadi, Kristine Elisabeth Opsahl, Amalie Sasha Scanke, Yara Emilie, Bjaarstad Medina, Jawad Aziz, Mubarak Muse and Victor Kimathi Mati.

4

Terje Tjøme Mossige, Runa Rebne, and Martin Slaatto.

5

So wie er den Raum, in dem er sich befinden. . .erfährt, überführt er ihn in den einen, d.h- universalen Raum seiner Erfahrung, des Lebens” (Tsangaris 2015, 186).

6

Following up on this, I found that the ship is not visible or has been edited out of the official performance documentation. However, I leave in this anecdote because it still illustrates the uncontrollability of audiences, another unpredictable and uncontrollable aspect of context.

7

Note that on the Norwegian version of the website, she is listed as “Kunstnerisk leder, koreografi,” emphasizing the dimension of her artistic leadership (Ultima n.d. b).

8

The extent to which new music producers do in fact do any of these things. While many new music producers already engage in these activities, my argument is that there is a lack of visibility, and for the importance of also valuing and fostering this work appropriately.

Works Cited

  • Ahmed, Sara. 2012. On Being Included: Racism and Diversity in Institutional Life. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

  • Bartleet, Brydie-Leigh, Christina Ballico, Dawn Bennett, Ruth Bridgstock, Paul Draper, Vanessa Tomlinson, and Scott Harrison. 2019. “Building Sustainable Portfolio Careers in Music: Insights and Implications for Higher Education.” Music Education Research 21 (3): 282294.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bishop, Claire. 2007. “What Is a Curator?IDEA Arts Society 26: 1221.

  • Hiekel, Jörn-Peter. 2015. “Beiläufig Wesentliches: Musiktheater mit Schwalben, Mauerseglern und anderen Impulsgebern” (“Casually Fundamental: Music Theatre with Swallows, Swifts, and Other Impulses”). In Manos Tsangaris and Ulrich Tadday, eds., Musik-Konzepte Sonderband, neue Folge, 1734. Vol. 2015/XII. Munich: edition text + kritik.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Jackson, Shannon. 2005. “Performing Show and Tell: Disciplines of Visual Culture and Performance Studies.” Journal of Visual Culture 4 (2): 163177.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Martinon, Jean-Paul. 2013. “Introduction.” In The Curatorial: A Philosophy of Curating, 1–16. New York: Bloomsbury Academic.

  • Precarious Workers Brigade. 2017. Training for Exploitation? Politicising Employability and Reclaimimg Education. Silvia Federici, ed. London: Journal of Aesthetics & Protest Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Prokop, Rainer, and Rosa Reitsamer. 2023. “The DIY Careers of Young Classical Musicians in Neoliberal Times.” DIY, Alternative Cultures & Society 1(2). Ac- cessed online on January 23, 2023 https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/27538702231174197.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rebstock, Matthias, and David Roesner. 2012. Composed Theatre: Aesthetics, Practices, Processes. Bristol, UK: Intellect Books.

  • Szyłak, Aneta. 2013. “Curating Context.” In Jean-Paul Martinon, ed., The Curatorial: A Philosophy of Curating, 215224. London: Bloomsbury Academic.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Templer, Andrew J., and Tupper F. Cawsey. 1999. “Rethinking Career Development in an Era of Portfolio Careers.” Career Development International 4(2): 7076.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Tsangaris, Manos. 2015. “Schalte Zelte: Wie das abgespaltene Holz das Werk in Bewegung setzt.” In Ulrich Tadday, ed., Musik-Konzepte Sonderband: Manos Tsangaris, 184186. Munich: edition text + kritik im Richard Boorberg Verlag GmbH.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ultima. n.d. a. “ANNA&CO & Nils Petter Molvær: SÅLE: Blowing away the dark secrets of wartime Norway in a three-part dance work with music by electronic jazz legend Nils Petter Molvær” In Oslo Contemporary Music Festival Program. Accessed on January 23, 2023 at https://www.ultima.no/en/annaco-nils-petter-molvaer-sale.

To Repeat also Means Getting Ahead

The Artistic and Curatorial Potential Of Pre-Enactment

Cassandre Langlois

What united the projects Training for the Future (2019–), imagined by artist Jonas Staal and organized by curator-dramatist Florian Malzacher, la facultad (2021–) developed by choreographers Myriam Lefkowitz and Catalina Insignares, and The Truth Commission (2013–) by the performance company Action Zoo Humain? The first, through a series of workshops of various kinds, worked on the possibilities of a self-determined future; the second, based on “exercises of sensory faculties on standby,” proposed an alternative to a coercive social reality; the last one staged an event that hadn't yet taken place in reality, revisiting some of the atrocities of Belgium's colonial past. In these three formats, artists and curators responded to various European crises and multidisciplinary debates (the resurgence of authoritarianism and political populism, migratory conflicts and phenomena, the debate on decolonization, environmental crises, etc.), by exploring the potential of training exercises or role-playing as a means for collective reflection, working toward other desirable futures.

On the basis of these initial data, I propose to place these projects in the continuity of initiatives named by their creators as pre-enactment. In the field of contemporary art, and more particularly of performance art practices, pre-enactment can qualify as a general artistic approach, a specific project, and an action within this specific project. Whereas the re-enactment, subject of numerous studies in recent decades, would relate to “phenomena of re-creation, reconstitution, resumption and other forms of live reactivation of past performative works, of historical events or cultural phenomena” (Bénichou 2016), the pre-enactment would correspond to its temporal inversion. It can refer to critical speculation, based on contemporary problems, surrounding an image of our future. Friederike Oberkrome and Verena Straub add that it may consist in inventing hypothetical or prospective scenarios, but also in experimenting with fictitious times and spaces in order to act on the present (2019, 9).

Figure 1:
Figure 1:

Left to right: A public workshop “Multitudes of Listeners: Action Listen,” by Maya Felixbrodt, Germaine Sijstermans & Samuel Vriezen, with the Training for the Future (2018) project created by artist Jonas Staal & curator-dramatist Florian Malzacher Ruhrtriennale, Jahrhunderthalle Bochum (2019) © Photographer Ruben Hamelink / Training for the Future; An activity with migrant participants, lying in the dark, as developed by choreographers Myriam Lefkowitz and Catalina Insignares with la facultad, © Photographer Jean Philippe Derail; Collective performance company Action Zoo Humain in a staging of The Truth Commission (2013) inside the courthouse in Ghent. © Photographer Kurt Van Der Elst.

Citation: TURBA 2, 2; 10.3167/turba.2023.020203

This is indeed what is at work in several now canonical examples: in 2011, the artistic duo Hofmann & Lindholm (Hannah Hofmann and Sven Lindholm) undertook the project Archiv der zukünftigen ereignisse, in which they collected wishes for the future from the inhabitants of Cologne, Germany, and disseminated them in the form of a sound installation deployed throughout the city. In 2014, in Preenacting Europe, the Interrobang collective (Nina Tecklenburg, Till Müller-Klug and Lajos Talamonti) invited the public to vote for a new form of European government in response to the socio-political crises the continent was going through. In 2015, shortly after the World Climate Change Conference organized by the Rimini Protokoll theater collective in Hamburg, two hundred students from universities around the world took over the Théâtre des Amandiers (then directed by Philippe Quesne) in Nanterre, France. In their Theatre of Negotiations they simulated desirable and possible international negotiations six months before the Paris Conference (COP)1 took place.

Oliver Marchart's research and writing is based, among other things, on the Israeli collective Public Movement, some of whose works are associated with the performance of a protest that has not yet been made manifest. He defines pre-enactment as “the artistic anticipation of a political event” (Marchart 2019, 177), underlining the potential of its transformative dimension. While it is by no means a real socio-political event, pre-enactment projects can nevertheless be seen as a place for exercises in preparation for a conflict yet to come. Marchart proposes that pre-enactment must not be understood as the rehearsal of a set choreography known in advance. Rather, he compares it to barre exercises in the world of classical ballet. From this point of view, pre-enactment corresponds to the conscious or unconscious setting up of actions and tools that will be activated in an as yet undetermined situation, and will be experienced as antagonistic.

If pre-enactment succeeds in constructing a place where we practice, I also suggest to approach it as a place where we can test, make attempts, possibly backtrack and start again. Following this logic, the speakers at the international conference “P/RE/ENACT!—Performing In Between Times,”2 in 2017 at Berlin's Freie Universität, emphasized “the fundamental interdependence and interconnectedness of pro- and retro-spection,” as well as “the instability of each temporal perspective” (Czirak et al. 2019a, 10). In this way, “just as forms of re-enactment always contain a prospective dimension, pre- enactment scenarios require and include a retrospective dimension” (ibid.). In this sense, it seems pertinent to consider the approaches mentioned in the opening lines of the introduction to this article, those of Jonas Staal and Florian Malzacher, Myriam Lefkowitz and Catalina Insignares, and Action Zoo Humain, from the perspective and temporality of research that involves experimentation through action.

The title says it all: Training for the Future is a place where participants are invited to “embody” the construction of alternative futures. The title la facultad refers to a space in which to study that which “disturbs” our perceptions and sensations. As for The Truth Commission, it “invalidates” forms of European governance by revisiting historic colonial facts. Based on these three examples, developed further in this article, I propose an understanding of the concept of pre-enactment through the verbs embody, disturb, and invalidate. These three verbs enable us to work on and define pre-enactment through actions and effects that are both simultaneous and specific. The aim here is to analyze the three case studies through the prism of action-exercises, and through them, to question the capacity of pre-enactment, in the context of various European crises, to take on counter-strategic forms in situated artistic and curatorial practices.

Embody.

The training camp imagined by artist Jonas Staal and curator-dramatist Florian Malzacher enabled the public to experience concrete participatory exercises with the aim of appropriating the means of production of the future. These kinds of utopian training sessions had been proposed by futurologists, progressive hackers, extraterritorial activists, trans-nationalists, and multidisciplinary artists. Following a first3 iteration in 2018, Training for the Future was deployed over three consecutive days in September 2019 as part of the Ruhrtriennale event in Bochum, Germany. The surrounding industrial relics recalled the “history of proletarian consciousness and unionization,” that of “predatory class oppressions” and the “extractivist industrial paradigm” (Malzacher and Staal 2022, 8). The Jahrhunderthalle congress center metamorphosed into a type of sports field: a black box with a gym-mat-covered floor, divided into specific zones by transparent plastic curtains, housing several sculptural elements designed by Jonas Staal and Paul Kuipers.4 The public was present for one day or the entire event and had to choose between two workshops each morning and afternoon. The central part of the venue was able to accommodate full-group exercises in the mornings and at lunchtime, as well as evening debriefings.

Conducted by “trainers” for “trainees,” workshops were based on a certain division of roles and power that remained temporary, as determined by its exchangeable dimension. While trainers attended workshops as trainees, trainees could in turn become trainers following a workshop. These working sessions, in which trainees could test their proposals for resolving the problems proposed, were reminiscent of Forum Theater, one of the interactive methods of the “theater of the oppressed” developed beginning in the 1970s by Brazilian playwright Augusto Boal (see for instance Boal 2021). Forum Theater invites actors, professionals, and non-professionals alike to work together on problems arising from situations of oppression. Boal qualifies these spectators as “spect-actors,” transformed into actors during the theatrical performance. This Boalien concept is based on a dialectical relationship that calls for both identification and distancing, as seen also in Training for the Future. The “spect-actors” seemed to be training themselves, as if experiencing a new form of apprenticeship. Through heterogeneous proposals, training here meant following possibilities through which critical reflexes took the form of embodied practice (workshops) followed by collective verbal reflection (debriefing).

This embodied practice was particularly evident in the workshop Beyond Welcome: Agitprop for the Future, run by the artist and activist collectives ARRiVATi and Schwabinggrad Ballett. The first one develops various decolonization strategies, while the second is based on anarchist and subversive actions. In their proposal, they invited participants to act as a collective body through song and dance, creating unexpected situations in the public space. In Multitudes of Listeners, the clarinetist Maya Felixbrodt, composer and performer Germaine Sijstermans, and composer and writer Samuel Vriezen proposed a series of three polyphonic performance-trainings mixed with periods for collective listening. As a final example, in Choreographies of Togetherness, Public Movement focused on the creation of a united force through collective body-in-motion exercises. These actions might appear surprising, or even unserious, like the Extraterritorial Zoönomy workshop initiated by curator and moderator Klaas Kuitenbrouwer and researcher and designer Sjef van Gaalen. Through role-playing, these latter prepared the public for the implantation of a “zoöp,” a particular kind of cooperative that “actively acknowledges the rights and subjective experiences of nonhumans and is focused on collaborating with them” (Malzacher and Staal 2022, 285). And so, Training for the Future brought together various activities during which hypothetical or prospective scenarios were developed, sometimes based on the model of role-playing games and fiction, hijacking the problematic and ambiguous figure of the “training camp.” Indeed, it's worth recalling that pre-enactment is also used in scripted war game exercises such as those developed by the US Army at the Fort Irwin National Training Center in California's Mojave Desert. Soldiers prepare for their “worst day in combat” in recreations of Iraqi villages created by Hollywood set designers. They meet actors portraying terrorists, the local population, and government representatives. In the same vein, some countries turn to science-fiction authors in order to imagine future threats to the army, so that it can train to anticipate them. This is the case in France, with the Red Team, which is interested in the possible threats that could endanger the country and its interests between 2030 and 2060. These dynamics foster the anticipation of security measures, which often include new limits on public assembly, protest or freedom of expression.

The activities developed in Training for the Future actually took the opposite approach and were instead part of the following emancipatory endeavor: to create new processes for social interaction made possible through the very act of embodiment, and so to send what to all appearances seemed absurd back to the objectors themselves. In a study of a non-artistic pre- enactment of the womens’ vote in Argentina in 1920, Cecilia Macón recalled that Aristotle envisioned the ridiculous as that which is out of time and space (2020, 7). Staging it in the public sphere would serve to diminish it. As in Macón's study, Training for the Future seemed to succeed in giving a whole new dimension to actions that might otherwise be considered absurd or inconceivable, opening up a wider spectrum of alternatives and embodying them collectively.

Disturb.

The programs developed for the Training for the Future project have enabled us to generate forms of social interaction through acts of embodiment, whether through choreographed gestures (Beyond Welcome: Agitprop for the Future), body-produced sound and listening (Multitudes of Listeners), or role-playing (Extraterritorial Zoönomy). As mentioned earlier, these incarnations can jeopardize certain conceptions. This is also the case with la facultad,5 developed by choreographers and dancers Myriam Lefkowitz and Catalina Insignares. In 2021, this project was hosted in a residency with Le Pacifique, a national choreographic center in Grenoble, inside an apartment on the outskirts of the city. It was then continued at the Bétonsalon Centre for Art Research in Paris inside a yurt at the Centre d'Hébergement d'Urgence pour familles migrantes de Paris-Ivry—EMMAÜS Solidarité. It was here, three days a week, that the artists, along with the presence of Julie Laporte, offered a temporary shelter to exiled and migrant people as well as to those who were supporting and accompanying them. In its genesis, la facultad responded to indignation in the face of administrative, judicial and police violence that fostered the exclusion of these people, and gave rise to the desire to work with communities that were previously absent from the field of contemporary art.

Lefkowitz and Insignares are used to taking their work outside the walls of theatrical venues. They favor projects that free them from performing so that they can experiment with other ways of being and doing something together. At the same time, they work to overturn certain habits of perceiving and sensing. For example, Insignares’ approach has given rise to nighttime readings for sleeping bodies (useless land). She has also initiated dialogues with the invisible and the dead based on sensory and fictional practices of dance (ese muerto se lo cargo yo), and a duet that is danced over the period of a few weeks (us as a useless duet). Lefkowitz's work is based in Remote Dances, silent walks for one person who, with eyes closed, is accompanied by their guide (Walk Hands Eyes), and also in sessions during which the public lies in the dark. The performers manipulate different objects that they bring into contact with the bodies of the prone participants. The latter, with their eyes closed, cannot identify the objects or actions of the human agent in contact with them (How Can One Know in Such Darkness?).

In forming la facultad, the two artists have combined their respective practices. In keeping with the people present, the places allocated and the proposed working times, they have initiated exercises or games based on their sensory knowledge of dance, somatic and energetic knowledges. They are sometimes influenced by hypnosis, other times by telepathy or tarot reading. One of them was inspired by a proposal from Chicano artist Guillermo Gómez Peña and his collective La Pocha Nostra. Since Chicanos and other marginalized people rarely become astronauts, they proposed offering them the gift of weightlessness. In la facultad, mats, cushions, and blankets were used to keep participants’ bodies off the ground. Without realizing it, they were sometimes very subtly lifted by a group of people who offered them the sensation of weightlessness. The project provided solutions “to imagine together ways of communicating through the body, imagination and memory” and to become the place “where. . .we start to tell other stories about who we are, where we are, and what the future could be.”6 Lefkowitz and Insignares propose that we collectively train ourselves to increase our capacity to listen, share, develop, study, and amplify different forms of imaginative activity. Envisaged as a “study space,” a “cabinet de pratique,” or then again as a place for “exercising sensory faculties on hold,” the title la facultad refers not only to an unusual kind of space for learning but also to the faculties that we are capable of possessing and/or acquiring.

This place produces a certain de-hierarchization of positions, as each person is encouraged to share a capacity, to take charge of another's body. In this way, care becomes a material that circulates, while the actual experiences create a specific mode of relation and another way of linking their bodies. At the same time as these experiences serve to link them they call attention to what is between them. The question then arises of being affected by what is not human, existing between the bodies and beyond. The relationship between affect and pre-enactment has been the subject of certain recent studies. In their essay, Adam Czirak and his co-authors use the term “(p)reenactment” to emphasize the entanglement of temporal layers capable of engendering “an affectively charged situation that opens up a realm of possibilities in which the unexpected seems likely to happen and the unfamiliar or unknown might appear” (2019b, 201). This seems to be the case in la facultad, where temporalities and spaces manage to intersect during states of altered consciousness (such as sleep).

In this way, both artists’ approaches are based on a concrete, physical, unstable, and transformative dynamic. It is here that knowledge is no longer based on reason and the distancing of emotions (which arise only to disturb us), but on our faculties to feel, sense, perceive, and imagine. In their attempt to participate in the construction of a “We,” Lefkowitz and Insignares refer in particular to the term “sissala.” Originating from within Black American anarchism and invoked by Saidiya Hartman during the “Anarchisms Otherwise” conference in Brooklyn, USA, in 2019, it means literally (suggesting the image of a process) “we who become together.” la facultad might therefore be understood as the site of the practice—in progress—of a “we” yet to come. The project looks to the future through exercises, which are specific configurations of a prospective result. In this way, the actions that unfold, always refusing to become fixed because requiring constant readjustment, can be studied through the prism of pre-enactment. By succeeding in modifying our perceptions, sensations and attentions, the latter becomes a tool that disturbs,7 and that is able, in certain contexts, to question or deconstruct our positions, habits and knowledge. In this sense, these actions carry with them a rejection of mainstream discourses of coercion, a characteristic that can be echoed in re-enactment.

Invalidate.

The “tool-form” that is contemporary artistic re-enactment (Caillet 2013, 67) offers a distanced and alternative viewpoint on historic legal trials. A case in point is Swiss director Milo Rau's Moscow Trials (2013), presented on the grounds of Moscow's Sakharov Museum. Following a series of convictions of Russian dissident artists such as the Pussy Riot, or of the curators of the exhibitions “Caution! Religion” (2003) and “Forbidden Art” (2007), Rau set up a three-day courtroom to stage a “show trial” with (real) artists, politicians, religious figures, lawyers, judges, and journalists. The jury, composed of Moscow citizens, renders its verdict: in this trial the artists and curators are acquitted. The contribution of pre-enactment is already perceptible here. Rau amplifies these kinds of trials in subsequent works, Tribunal sur le Congo (2015) and General Assembly (2017).

This shift in perspective toward a performance that “trains” for the future is also present in the work of Chokri Ben Chikha, Flemish director of the performance company Action Zoo Humain, who has been interested in the format of the truth and reconciliation commissions. Her project Truth Commission (2013–) is a performance that has been presented in several courtrooms or state institutions in Ghent (2013), Cape Town (2014), Antwerp (2016), Mechelen (2017), and Brussels (2018). By proposing a commission that has not yet occurred, it joins the debates on decolonization. Among other things, it highlights the stereotypical and humiliating discourses related to the phenomenon of human zoos. Locked up in cages during the Universal Exhibitions in Belgium were 144 Congolese in Antwerp (1894), 270 Congolese in Brussels (1897), 128 Senegalese, and 60 Filipinos in Ghent (1913). These events welcomed millions of visitors and echoed the racist mentality widely supported and disseminated at the time not only by the government and the Catholic Church but also by European scholars and artists. This harks back to the “colonial imperialist paradigms of Black identity which represent blackness one-dimensionally in ways that reinforce and sustain white supremacy,” as bell hooks has written (1990, 28).

The Truth Commissions are based on extensive archival research combined with consultations with experts. These same experts play their own role alongside victims and professional actors, sometimes taking their place in the audience. These hearings in which the crime is discussed are interrupted by artistic interventions, debates and memorial rituals. In the 2013 commission, for example, Black dancer Chantal Loial performed a solo, choreographed by Koen Augustijnen, in reference to Sawtche's story.8 At the end of this dance, she takes a seat among the spectators. Her intervention precedes a discussion with the choreographer, who is accused by the actress Marijke Pinoye of exploiting the black body of the dancer. Identical reproaches are then addressed to the master of ceremony Chokri Ben Chikha, present during the entire representation, under the amused glance of Loial herself. By intermingling the words of the experts and the actors, by playing with what might be true or false, Action Zoo Humain undertakes the collective exercise of recognizing the limits of dominant Western models in terms of their narrations, representations, and positivist philosophy.

Furthermore, as arts historian Steff Nellis writes, “when imperial abuses, sexual assault, colonialism, and other problems are neglected by the international community, theatre can publicly condemn these shortcomings within the real legal system by assembling public meetings itself, thereby claiming a voice in the debate that can counteract the dominant point of view” (2021, 21). Truth Commissions are ideal grounds not only for practice in looking at and analyzing the consequences of colonialism today but also for thinking about how we might strive to eliminate current forms of racism in the near future. To this extent, pre-enactment allows for the elaboration of new imaginaries beyond the usual rigid, outdated, and systemic paradigms, and also, as Francesca Laura Cavallo tells us, to create “fictionalized scenarios that toy with real fear, uncertainty, and trust to invalidate strategies of governance and shift the wider population's perceptions of risk” (2019, 193).

Getting ahead?

The Truth Commission has been the subject of extensive archival research and reawakens the memory of historic events previously forgotten through decades of collective and general amnesia. If re-enactment generates a sense of distance from the past, pre-enactment attempts to “get ahead” in anticipation of conflicts, of desirable future. By means of exercises, trainings or (role-playing) games, these three case studies when analyzed give rise to reflection, discussion and experimentation around the particular tools they propose in response to dystopian visions or oppressive strategies. Lying on the border between retrospective and prospective approaches, these pre- enactment case studies also seem to stand in an in-between space, with the unchanging expectation of a “yet to come.” Wasn't it Antonio Gramsci who once wrote that “the crisis consists in the fact that the old dies and the new cannot be born”? (1996, 283).

There are, of course, limits to pre-enactments. They do not correspond to actual socio-political events and, in this sense, create a feeling of inadequacy associated with the desire to achieve a concrete result. The Truth Commission held in Ghent in 2013 preceded an official apology by the mayor, an added value (Tindemans 2016, 142) and a concrete performative result of a theatrical performance. But when the performance was repeated in 2016, the mayor of the city of Antwerp announced his categorical refusal to make an official apology for colonial human zoos.

As Klaas Tindemans argues, such performances should not be taken for granted. While the results of these tests or attempts are not always what we had hoped for, it's worth remembering the importance of the iterative nature of the projects analyzed (2016). Judith Butler envisaged the notion of performativity as the repetition of the norms by which we are constituted, norms which are also “resources from which resistance, subversion and displacement must be forged” (Butler 1993, 22). After Jacques Derrida, she has shown us that human actions are based on the logic of iteration. In this way, there is no coherence in thinking in terms of beginnings or endings. In this same logic, and considering the iterative nature of social interactions, some researchers who favor the concept of “(p)reenactment” have indicated that it highlights the “stability of traditions, rituals and social norms, but can also open up new perspectives on the possibilities of social and political change and their affective circumstances” (Czirak et al. 2019b, 208). Their findings have confirmed the interdependence of the fields of art, politics and the social world.

If Oliver Marchart defines the pre-enactment as “the artistic anticipation of a political event,” (the artistic as preparation for the political), he later proposes the reverse of this definition by considering the political event as the prototype for the artistic event, that is to say of the pre-enactment (2019). He further indicates that this artistic format had been anticipated by the prefigurative politics with links to anarchist thought of the nineteenth century. It was also present in the civil rights movements of the 1960s and in today's political activism. Political prefiguration, in other words organizing in which the means are identical to the ends, consists in embodying and not only in hoping for, the construction of another society within the social movement itself. While political prefiguration does not take place within a socio-political reality, it does seek to transform it.

The pre-enactment projects such as Training for the Future (2019–), la facultad (2021–), and The Truth Commission (2013–) have encouraged other processes of social interaction to call upon different types of knowledge that are often found outside those usually promoted by contemporary European epistemologies, and they have also made visible those histories that had been excluded from collective memory. In line with its prototype, it remains stimulating and relevant to apprehend the artistic pre-enactment in turn (or again) through transformative dynamics because to repeat is also to get ahead. It is here, by way of embodying, disturbing and invalidating—just a short list of the actions that govern the concept discussed in this study—that counter-strategic forms have demonstrated the power to be effective in contemporary situated artistic and curatorial practices.

Notes

1

This theater of negotiations was based, in part, on the Model United Nations educational genre invented at Harvard: future elites and diplomats train for their duties by mimicking major international conferences.

2

This international conference was organized by the interdisciplinary research group Affective Societies at Freie Universität on October 27 and 28, 2017 in Berlin.

3

Other iterations of the Training for the Future project: Collectives, Collectivity, and Collectivizations, March 6–7, 2021, simultaneously between Buenos Aires, Bogotá, Cape Town, Dêrik, Manila, New York, Palermo, Venice, and Zurich. We demand a million more years, 28–30 June 2022, Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo in Turin.

4

Here is the complete list of Training for the Future 2019 participants: Public Movement, irrational (Heath Bunting); Institute of Human Obsolescence; New Centerfor Research and Practice; Samuel Vriezen, Maya Felixbrodt and Germaine Sijstermans; Army of Love; Center for Jineology Studies; ISD—Initiative Schwarzer Menschen in Deutschland and glokal e.V.; Women on Waves, Klaas Kuitenbrouwer and Sjef van Gaalen; Not An Alternative; School of Transnational Activism and European Alternatives; Arrivati and Schwabinggrad Ballett; Laboratory of Insurgent Imagination.

5

la facultad followed workshops held in 2017 by choreographers and dancers Myriam Lefkowitz and Catalina Insignares, in collaboration with the La Galerie contemporary art center and ASE (Aides Sociales à l'Enfance) in Noisy-le-Sec, France.

6

The project is detailed on the website of the Parisian art and research center Bétonsalon.

7

The use of the verb “to disturb” refers to comments made to Myriam Lefkowitz. During one of the iterations of her project How Can One Know in Such Darkness?, a woman told the artist that she had never been so disturbed about her sensations. The tools used in this work are also used in la facultad.

8

Known as Saartjie (or Sarah) Baartman, nicknamed “The Black Venus,” Sawtche was born around 1789 in South Africa within the Khoisan community. She was enslaved and then exhibited and sexually exploited in Europe until her death in 1815 in France.

Works Cited

  • Bénichou, Anne. 2016. “Introduction. Le reenactment ou le répertoire en régime intermédial.” Intermédialités / Intermediality 28–29 (autumn 2016 / spring 2017). Accessed on April 2, 2023 at https://www.erudit.org/fr/revues/im/2016-n28-29-im03201/1041075ar/.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Boal, Augusto. 2021. Théâtre de l'opprimé. Paris: Éditions La Découverte.

  • Butler, Judith. 1993. “Critically Queer.” GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 1.

  • Caillet, Aline. 2013. “Le re-enactment : Refaire, rejouer ou répéter l'histoire?Marges 17 (2013): 6673.

  • Cavallo, Francesca Laura. 2019. “Rehearsing Disaster. Pre-Enactment Between Reality and Fiction.” In Adam Czirak, Sophie Nikoleit, Friederike Oberkrome, Verena Straub, Robert Walter-Jochum, and Michael Wetzelfs, eds., Performance zwischen den zeiten. Reenactments und Preenactments in Kunst und Wissenschaft, 193. Bielefeld, Germany: Transcript Verlag.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Czirak, Adam, et al. 2019a. Performance zwischen den zeiten. Reenactments und Preenactments in Kunst und Wissenschaft. Bielefeld, Germany: Transcript Verlag.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Czirak, Adam, et al. 2019b. “(P)reenactment.” In Jan Slaby & Christian von Scheve, eds., Affective Societas: Key Concepts, 200209. London: Routledge.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gramsci, Antonio. 1996. Cahiers de prison, 1929 – 1935, cahier 3, 283. Paris: Gallimard.

  • hooks, bell. 1990. Yearning. Race, Gender and Cultural Politics. Boston: South End Press.

  • Macón, Cecilia. 2020. “La simulación como performance afectiva en los orígenes del feminismo.” Revista Estudios Feministas, Florianópolis 28(2): e72434.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Malzacher, Florian. 2019. “Theatre as Assembly.” In Ana Vujanovic & Livia Piazza, eds., A Live Gathering: Performance and politics in contemporary Europe, 178199. Berlin: b books.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Malzacher, Florian, & Jonas Staal. 2022. Training for the Future–Handbook. Berlin: Sternberg Press.

  • Marchart, Oliver. 2019. Conflictual Aesthetics–Artistic Activism and the Public Sphere. Berlin, Germany: Sternberg Press.

  • Nellis, Steff. 2021. “Enacting Law: The Dramaturgy of the Courtroom on the Contemporary Stage.” Lateral, Journal of the Cultural Studies Association 10(1) (Spring).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Oberkrome, Freiderike, & Verena Straub. 2019. “Performing in Between Times: An Introduction.” In Adam Czirak, Sophie Nikoleit, Friederike Oberkrome, Verena Straub, Robert Walter-Jochum, and Michael Wetzelfs, eds., Performance zwischen den zeiten. Reenactments und Preenactments in Kunst und Wissenschaft., 10. Bielefeld: Transcript Verlag.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Tindemans, Klaas. 2016. “Truth, Justice, and Performative Knowledge: Chokri Ben Chikha's Theatrical ‘Truth Commission’ on (Neo) colonial Injustices.” Kritika Kultura 26 (2016): 130143.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation

Curatorial Crisis On Display

Mediating Dance Festivals in Contemporary India

Amritha Sruthi Radhakrishnan

A festival will always have multiple meanings, contexts, and arrangements in any given context. Discursively speaking, the template is similar; people gather to witness and share a mutual experience of cultural stimulus. In India, whether that be a “religious” festival or a festival of the arts, the presence of music and dance performances are inevitable. In the current political scenario, with the excessive religious polarization that has become almost the norm, the distinction between an arts and a religious festival has become blurry. Keeping this in mind, I suggest we pause to think about the importance and purpose of festivals in society, to perceive them as events that impact many individuals and so can play essential roles in shaping the social environment through their systematic and structural effects.

The intimate relationship with culture of festivals in India, whether about “high” culture1 and the arts, local traditions and heritage, or popular and ethnic cultures, suggests that in many cases the standard festival template represents an inevitable compromise between tradition and modernity. This is necessary because significant efforts are directed toward preserving (through presenting) our cultural history, and in particular those aspects that are either considered genuine or too arduous to access. It is here that festivals are considered essential avenues for the display of a variety of performance styles and traditions as a showcase for our society's cultural capital. Henry Schoenmakers notes that “the word ‘festival’ is one of those many words about which we know what is being signified when we are in the culture. That is why we do not realize. . .the changing meaning or the different extensions of such a concept” (2007, 28). While different definitions exist for the term, this article explores how various performance festivals are defined by their curatorial outlooks within their local geographical, socio-political, and cultural contexts. Rather than analyzing individual performances within festivals, this article is concerned with analyzing the implementation of political, socio-cultural, economic, and innovative curatorial strategies in the creation of festivals and which allow only certain kind of dance performances to be displayed in their venues.

Montserrat Crespi-Vallbona and Greg Richard describe the increase in what they term the “festival culture process” (2007). They argue that this festival process helps to identify the broader structures and practices in the field of culture and social policy, noting that, “festivals seem to be ubiquitous in modern societies, filling the social calendar and the cultural agenda with a vast array of events, happenings, and spectacles. Festivals also increasingly take on a wider range of roles as their significance increases, extending from mechanisms to sustain cultural groups to mechanisms for assuring the acceptance of a particular cultural discourse to a means of generating local pride, identity and income” (ibid., 103).

This festival culture process points us toward an understanding that this kind of event2 has a function that can enable change. In foregrounding this idea, Kary Jaegar and Reidar J. Mykletun discuss various methods through which festivals impact society (2013). They explain that, “Festivals may be part of bottom-up processes contributing to change. Because a festival connects people in new ways and roles around new tasks, it may be a potential arena for self-examining, self-realization, expressing negative and positive feelings, announcing new policies, launching new art forms, and challenging traditions and truths. Hence, a festival may contribute to developing local culture and idealism to renew community life” (ibid., 217).

What is the nature of the change that is sought through festivals? I will focus on various contemporary festival arrangements in India to navigate the above claims. For instance, in the current socio-political context of India, all national festivals or events funded by the Government of India in the year 2022–2023, are required to adopt as their thematic orientation, the celebration of 75 years of Indian Independence under the banner of “Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav.” This means that performance works must be chosen in the context of celebrating independence, indirectly forcing the dancers to perform content that can/must generate expressions of patriotism or a nostalgic essence of nationalism among the spectators. This in my understanding is an act of control which can be analyzed and scrutinized through the lens of curation. Moreover, this leaves the artists with no space to be able to create a performance as a critique of the government or anything that challenges proceeding towards extreme polarization. Because most national festivals are primarily funded by the government, not complying would mean either seizing of the funds or no future festival iteration altogether. This is a classic case of how policies control curatorial interventions that could be made within the context of India and demonstrates why it is so often impossible to make curation an act of reformation. The space and opportunities to present politically charged performances in India are on a downslide. Even as performance practices in India have historically impacted and had the ability to challenge the status quo, very few dancers are courageous enough to embark upon such projects and have extemely limited scope to actualize this. With state control and further sieving of funds, the chances are becoming impossible. J.P. Singh (2020) argues that the newly independent post- colonial governments lacked the legitimacy, resources, and imagination to play an influential role in cultural policy making. The policy and elite consensus around economic development emphasized agricultural and industrial development and so cultural policy had a very small role to play in these efforts, which became known as “modernization policies.” If anything, while colonial era movements often evoked cultural history and heritage in view of enhancing solidarity, the post-colonial state viewed culture as more or less traditional (ibid., 27). Therefore, in India, festival curation takes on different formats. There is one that is impacted by misguided policies, interventions through private funding agencies, and reactions to the existing power networks which control the former spaces, and so end up becoming exclusive by default. There are others discussed later that are conceived and curated by artists themselves in the role of curators, and which offer a public forum for innovative dance-making. I propose that it is time we start to think about the curation of festivals as acts that must speak to power and so enable transformations at many levels.

Curation and its Various Articulations

As extensively discussed throughout the three preceding issues of TURBA, the term curation has been historically employed in the visual arts and, most often, to static objects displayed in museums and galleries. The curator is traditionally understood to be the person who oversees a collection of historical or art objects and who creates exhibitions that contextualize those objects. In the 1960s and 1970s, the curator's role became increasingly dynamic in response to contemporary artists reimagining artistic practices and creating works of art outside galleries and museums, often involving performance art. The application of the term curation to the performing arts is relatively new, and this function of curation has yet to be fully defined. Bertie Ferdman (2014) discusses the performing arts curator's function as a genre of mediator, applying Pierre Bourdieu's concept of the “field” (see for instance Bourdieu 1994). Ferdman writes the following:

By introducing the field to the concept of cultural production (which itself works inside the field power), as well as the concept of cultural and symbolic capital, Bourdieu demonstrated how aesthetic reception is inseparable from the production, marketing, and circulation of the artwork. So, we can think of the performing arts curator as one of a slew of cultural producers who legitimize and therefore play a central role in disseminating performance and determining its value. Moreover, because symbolic capital (good critique, an award, the festival circuit) in the cultural field will eventually translate into economic profit (more bookings, commissions, residencies, lectures, and workshops), we can think of the performing arts curator as a mediator between such transfers of capital. (2014, 53)

Ferdman's idea of the mediator becomes crucial to understanding the performing arts curator's role, which is sometimes embedded in their other functions as executive director, producer, presenter, manager, fundraiser, operations manager, and artistic director. Depending on the funders/patron, the festivals’ power brokers envision different roles for curators, requiring them to dance to the tune of the patrons and suit the requirements of their position perfectly. They must deliver satisfaction to both sides of the pole—the patrons on one side and the audience on the other—whatever these two stakeholders desire to attain from the event. This act of mediation thus becomes a crucial outcome, above and beyond the actual outputs on both sides of the pole. Taking into account the different forms of curation, it is essential to understand that curating is not a universally structured act, and neither does it respond to these kinds of expectations in a similar way in planning a festival. Considering Jaegar and Mykletun's claim of festivals’ contribution to local culture and their effort toward renewing community life (2013), the role of a performing arts curator is crucial. The curatorial mediations in the “handling acts” that a person in charge of the “agenda” of a government festival, vis-à-vis the significant increase in the curatorial contribution within popular corporate-sponsored festivals, need to be specifically analyzed and distinguished, given the difference in the agency, the nature of the responsibility, and the goals attached to both these events. Similarly, it is equally vital to scrutinize the reasons behind the increasing number of small and niche festivals arising in Indian and in which the performing artists themselves take on the role of the curator.

In a world in which notions of cultural identities are becoming increasingly fragmented, some contemporary festivals have been developed to address cultural plurality, mobility, and globalization, while also communicating something meaningful about community, locality, and belonging. Jean-Louis Fabiani writes, “Festivals play a significant part in the process of nation building or, more recently, in the attempts to develop a post-national form of cultural citizenship” (2011, 93). Deriving further from Fabiani, a festival is perceived as a space that allows access to the lay public, and that this democratizing of access to culture has been central in shaping national cultural policies and developing a framework to “analyze cultural objects” (ibid.).

Let us now turn to the various histories and movements of categorization that dance in India has witnessed in order to construe and establish where dance stands today among all of the various discourses of which it is a part. To identify the different templates for curatorial practice and suggest which existing ones need to be fixed, I will highlight in detail the institutionalization processes, the efficacy of festivals due to corporate social responsibility efforts, and the quest for alternate spaces for dance to exist. Moreover, I'll trace the changes in the methods of how dance has shifted its landscape of presentation and meaning making.

Festival Categories and Curatorial Possibilities

The categorization of festivals in this article is formulated by how they are envisaged and organized. The idea is to locate the curation of festivals in which dance is presented as an essential expression that is embedded in Indian society. Most often, the organization of festivals is done in collaboration with public and private funding. However, I am specifically referring to festivals that are exclusively funded by the government or a corporate foundation to highlight the differences in approach and method of curating festivals. I offer three conceptual lenses concerning the relationship between a festival and its contribution to: 1) sustaining diplomacy; 2) contributing to the market; and 3) encouraging the growth of knowledge.

These concepts are essential objectives through which we can analyze the performance and curation of power and authority within a nation—further arguing that they are crucial signifiers for examining the increasing festival culture and charting a historiography of how we perform nationalism. In terms of diplomacy, this article will only touch briefly on the national image- building process, one whose strategy is realized through the government's national festivals. It would be difficult within this limited space to fully unravel the more significant threads of the cultural and diplomatic strategies that are employed through one of the case studies cited here. In what follows, I will limit the scope in the interest of making it more specific, and to addressing certain challenges in policy building.

The established nine classical dance forms and the emergence of contemporary artistic dance are disseminated through institutional dance academies. The institutionalizing process reflects the importance of dance as a performing art in this country and offers venues in which dancers can seek training—as these dances were bereft of their impure history. This kind of imagination and performance of diversity is enabled through its representation in national festivals that are funded by the government in view of propagating an “image” of the nation. The Indian government had envisioned the possible display of a “unique” cultural identity through its cultural and artistic forms. It organized international, national, and state festivals wherein specific importance was given to the dance arts and was limited to a distinct “network” of people. With the dawn of independence in India in 1947, “traditional” dance and the “dancing girl” were moved into the periphery and lost state patronage when princely courts were abolished. A series of past British colonial policies, mixed with a nationwide “purity” campaign, an anti-nautch policy targeted and stigmatized women and young girls, distancing them from their hereditary community lineages. All this was intended to reform and question the traditional understanding of what an Indian dancer should aspire to be. This reform process bestowed importance to specific dance forms only, which even today continue to hold onto a rigid grammar and structure that must be adopted in order to become an accepted and recognized dancer in India. Socio-politically speaking, this opened a pathway for the entry of upper-class/upper-caste women to enter the performing arts, with a new configuration that banished the past transgressive dynamics of the class, caste, and gender of the historic-erotic performer. The national dance festivals of India became sites for only these forms of presentations, where the agenda was always to showcase India's culture through the bodies of Indian women, which were now purified and sanctified. The idea of such festival curation is to uphold these traditions, to ensure that there is no quest for newness and no way to critique such arrangements; the government festivals are sites in which there is no negotiating with power. They are sites of submission to power.

Consider Donald Preziosi's sharp articulation of the purpose of curation, “Curating is thus a form of critique. By critique, I mean more than simply ‘criticism’ but rather a method of foregrounding underlying assumptions and beliefs about social and cultural realities—that is, what are staged and manifested as if they were realities or social truths” (Preziosi 2019, 11). Performing arts curation has been practiced with various kinds of treatments. All kinds of mediation have at one time or another been perceived as curation. However, curation might also be seen as a potentially dangerous practice in as much as it is a creative interpretation of thinking and affirming various thoughts about the world. Therefore, curation might be considered as a strategy involving the critical use of parts of the material environment for constructing and deconstructing the premises, promises, and potential consequences of what is conventionally understood as reality, by which I mean social, cultural, political, philosophical, or religious truths. It can be a way of using concepts to think about and to reckon with—to struggle with and against—their possible consequences. Curation is an epistemological technology: a craft of thinking (Preziosi 2019, 11). The recent editions of the national dance festivals in India, largely funded by the government institution, are even recognized as such; they have been forced to only work with those curatorial themes chosen by the current government and the ideological minds/agendas of their agents. In the specific case of the Khajuraho Dance Festival 2023, the inauguration of the festival offered the performance ‘JAYA RAMA’ by the Sutra Dance Theater led by a Bharatanatyam dancer from Malaysia, Ramli Ibrahim. It should come as no surprise that the curatorial choice of showcasing an international dancer who practices an Indian form, and was slated to perform stories from Ramayana for the G20 conference delegates, was aligned closely with the favored Hindutva political ideologies propagated by the Modi government.

In an increasingly intercultural and diverse global environment, a commitment to culture is not just treated as a responsibility but also as politics and business. While enterprises remain committed to assigning funds toward more directly charitable corporate social responsibility ventures, they have also realized the invaluable contribution of the arts in stimulating conversations and creating and maintaining a “high culture capital” within societies. Therefore, the increase of the festival culture in India must also be attributed to the contribution made by corporate philanthropy and corporate sponsorship of culture. Here the concept that seems to structure such spaces is a “hegemonic nostalgia” that, according to Garth L. Green, establishes “codes of distinction and good taste” that “purify” and “reify” the social world (2007, 88). This mode of nostalgia emphasizes the power of a critical and discerning self to make creative choices about quality and aesthetics, the individual self that “acts on life” and can fashion a fictional social world through the exercise of good taste, imagination, and choice (ibid.).

These festivals organized by private corporations have changed how festival narratives and trends are perceived. Their objectives differ from how government festivals function, yet there are commonalities in the expected outcomes. It is essential to see these festivals in comparison to the first category to understand the potentiality of a cultural market. Owe Ronström makes an exciting proposition with which one can push their understanding about the function of such specific corporate festivals. He notes that “the necessary branding is not only about creating new attractive stories for the global tourist market but more importantly to overwrite and replace existing local narratives actively. It is thereby that places are transformed to destinations, which in turn make them possible to be sold as images and then to be visited and consumed by anonymous masses without previous local knowledge” (Ronström 2011, 6).

It is in this context that I highlight the process of the Serendipity Arts Festival (SAF) which, through my participatory observations in the field during the last five years of its inception, has largely contributed to creating a brand for the festival experience, further contributing to the market through various means. A mega interdisciplinary art festival wherein dance is presented as a capsule in the overall manifestation of a promised experience, it transforms the city of Panaji, in the state of Goa, into a tourist destination. Assuring a luxurious experience, SAF is the brainchild of the Serendipity Arts Foundation—a Munjal initiative for creativity created to encourage and support the arts as a significant contributor to civil society. The festival aims to promote new creative strategies, artistic interventions, and responsive cultural partnerships that address South Asia's social, cultural, and environmental milieu. The critical questions that emerge from observing this type of festival category are whether and how festivals provide opportunities to materialize the goals of the culture market, and what exactly is the set goal of this market. The curatorial contribution to SAF is unusual since the organization endorses a peripheral yet significant role for the curator while claiming to organize the most considerable festival experience in India. The curators chosen for each of the respective art disciplines, and intervening in this mega event, are prominent artists in their fields. At this point, I am reminded by what Pierre Bourdieu notes while writing about cultural production: that the curator (inter alia) adds cultural meaning and value to making art and artists (1994). Serendipity Arts Foundation makes no mistake in placing and employing a curator solely to add recognition and value to the work of art and production presented at SAF. These curators are in no way assigned to do the work of a director, producer, organizer, or manager, but they remain focused on collaborating and bringing productions, artists, performers, artworks, and performances together.

The SAF curator is governed by the larger scheme of what the festival wants to achieve, providing us with a sense of how the arts can be controlled. The way in which dance has been positioned over the years in this particular festival makes it appear as though it is pitched against all the other forms of expression and so exists in competition with them. Even though the curation has seen interventions made through the critical rubrics of intersectionality, caste, and collaboration, the dance performances have generally had the smallest audiences. To increase the strength of their presence, either the performance space has been somewhat reduced or more popular forms of dance have been presented. Dance presentations in such festivals are hardly seen as a political gesture. From the outside, everything looks well and glorified in such an arrangement, but is this what a curated experience of an art festival is meant to be? What would happen if the corporate-funded festivals would also make room for dance activism? One wonders.

There are also festivals primarily curated and organized by individual artists or their independent organizations, opening an alternate avenue to that of the other two genres, offering further access and participation in performing cultures. The impulse behind organizing such festivals can have many resounding reasons. In an era of disruptive tendencies toward global monopolies, there remains the pressure to innovate and experiment. In this scenario, festivals have emerged as one of the answers. In the past decade, those engaged in the massive initiative to organize festivals have acknowledged the need to create new spaces, audiences, and aesthetic awarenesses. This moment in the festivalization process within India offers more freedom for participating artists to experiment. These small-scale festivals promise the experience of not only a performance, but also make manifest the creative processes and challenges of their practice. However, the problem here is to separate the dancer from their role as that of curator. Owe Ronström also discusses the “alternative arena” of these kinds of festivals, which are produced within the festivalization process. This third festival category erupts from another idea that Ronström advances:

[As] instruments of social and cultural change, festivals transmit and transfer knowledge, technology, mediate between individuals, groups, and cultures. Often festivals are projected as instances of “time-out,” where people may take part in something different, new, and more intense than ordinary everyday life in mainstream society. This makes festivals important potential spaces of intercultural interaction where one can come to understand what one does not understand. New things can be born and tried out that may eventually challenge or threaten precisely the aesthetics, ethics, values, symbols, representations that are displayed and controlled. (2011, 5)

Final Thoughts

While this growing festivalization culture demands that the dance and the dancer remain anchored to its fragile past, I am thinking that it might be an exciting endeavor to analyze how dance historiography in India might be re-interpreted through the lens of its showcasing in such festivals.

Throughout this article I have strived to analyze and theorize elements of the “festival event” that might be characterized as performance programs, community festivities, political showcases, tourism strategies, and institutional organizations. My aim is to throw light on why these distinctions are important, and what they tell us about the field of dance. I have advanced the idea that festivals might be seen as a product of the nation-building process, and that dance presenting in these contexts has served as an essential enabler in fostering cultural nationalism. One might even say that the festival is a phenomenon in which cultural nationalism is vibrantly on display and so becomes beneficial to propagating diplomacy, market, and cultural knowledge production; all of which play a significant role in creating a cultural identity—a byproduct of the politics of nationalism.

If dancing is essentially a cultural practice, we must not forget that it is also one that cultivates disciplined and creative bodies and minds. It is equally a symbolic practice, exploring rigorous choreographic strategies that develop bodily significations through which change is registered and transmitted. In the end, it is crucial to remain aware of how the dance arts in India (and beyond)—along with dance festivals and curators, producers and sponsors, artists and publics—continually shape our cultural identities, historiographic narratives, diplomatic and political strategies, arts marketplaces, and knowledge production.

Notes

1

This term here has been used in reference to its usage as conceptualized by T.S. Eliot in his text Notes Towards the Definition of Culture in which he describes the role of high and popular culture as necessary key factors that contribute and compliment the culture of a society. This term has been used here to connotate to further articulation of the kind of cultural practices that are allowed easy access to a particular kind of display, either through patronage or through timely funding.

2

The term “event” as used here is derived from the definition by Udo Merkel (2015), in which he explains that festivals become an event when it not only offers a platform to the attendees to celebrate, develop, and express their identities but also gives to places such as a town, city, region a distinctive identity or a character.

Works Cited

  • Bourdieu, Pierre. 1994. The Field of Cultural Production. New York: Columbia University Press.

  • Crespi-Vallbona, Montserrat, & Richard, Greg. 2007. “The Meaning of Cultural Festivals.” International Journal of Cultural Policy 13(1): 103122.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Elliot, T.S. 1949. Notes Towards the Definition of Culture. London: Faber and Faber.

  • Fabiani, Jean-Louis. 2011. “Festivals, Local and Global: Critical Interventions and the Cultural Public Sphere.” In Liana Georgi, Monica Sassatelli, and Gerard Delanty, eds., Festivals and the Cultural Public Sphere, 92107. New York: Routledge.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ferdman, Bertie. 2014. “Role Inversion: The Curator Takes the Stage.” PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art 106: 5358.

  • Green, Garth L. 2007. Trinidad Carnival: The Cultural Policies of a Transnational Festival. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

  • Jaegar, Kary, & Reidar J. Mykletun. 2013. “Festivals, Identities, and Belonging.” Event Management 17: 213226.

  • Merkel, Udo. 2015. “Identity Discourses and Communities in International Events, Festivals and Spectacles.” London: Palgrave Macmillan UK

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Preziosi, Donald. 2019. Curatorship as Bildungsroman: Or, from Hamlet to Hjelmslev. London: Routledge.

  • Ronström, Owe. 2011. “Festivalization: What a Festival Says—and Does.” Visby: Gotland University: 110.

  • Schoenmakers, Henry. 2007. “Festivals, Theatrical Events, and Communicative Interactions.” In Temple Hauptfleisch et al., ed., Festivalizing!: Theatrical Events, Politics and Culture. Amsterdam: Rodopi.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Singh, J.P. 2020. “Culture and International Development: Managing Participatory Voices and Value Chains in the Art.” In Victoria Durrer and Raphaela Henze, eds. Managing Culture: Reflecting on Cultural Exchange in a Global Times. London: Routledge.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation

Contributor Notes

Emmanuel Chima is a PhD candidate in the School of Social Work at Michigan State University, and on the graduate faculty at University of North Alabama Department of Social Work. His research focuses on refugee youth transitions and psychosocial wellbeing, particularly immigration policy and social services for unaccompanied minors. His research interests include gerontology, forced displacement, and social work education. He worked with the community at Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Malawi, between 2015 and 2017, teaching English as a Foreign Language (EFL) for the Student Refugee Program (SRP) of World University Service of Canada (WUSC), and as academic coordinator for the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS).

Subthiga Mathanamohan is a PhD candidate in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT–Madras). Her research focuses on the photographic memories of Sri Lankan refugees in India. Her research interests center on investigating the intersections of photography with culture and memory, particularly personal and family photograph albums. She holds an MPhil in communication and an MA in journalism and communication from the University of Madras, India. She has seven years of experience teaching photography and film studies to visual communication students.

Abdullahi Yussuf is a human rights graduate student, with scholarship funding, in the Department of Sociology at London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). He holds a BA in social anthropology from the School of Oriental and African Studies at University of London, where he was also awarded a merit scholarship. He has served as a producer for the Royal Albert Hall's Young Producers Programme where he produced an event called Licence To DV8. He volunteers at Coram, a youth focused charity; We Belong, as a podcaster and Young Migrants’ Rights Campaigner; and, Hackney Migrant Centre, with three caseworker roles in justice, immigration, and advocacy. His advocacy experience further includes being on a student advisory panel for IntoUniversity (IU) and as a member of Hackney Youth Parliament and Young Speakers of Hackney. In his social and community engagement, he importantly also centers his experience as a person living with the physical disability of Cerebral Palsy with left hemiplegia.

Brandon Farnsworth is a Swiss National Science Foundation postdoctoral researcher in musicology and music curator based at Lund University, Sweden. His current project, Another Break with Tradition?, is an ethnographic analysis of how diversity initiatives are changing an experimental music festival in Norway. After studying at the Zurich University of the Arts, he completed his PhD in Dresden with the publication Curating Contemporary Music Festivals (Transcript 2020). As a music curator, Brandon has worked on projects with Ultima Festival Oslo, Montreal New Musics Festival, Sonic Matter Zurich, the Berlin New Music Society, and Malmö Konsthall.

Cassandre Langlois is a PhD candidate in aesthetics and cultural studies (Université Panthéon-Sorbonne). Her research focuses on the relation between performing arts and curatorial practices, and the way in which they can generate another place for art within a para-institutional dynamic. As independent curator she develops projects at the intersection of the performing arts, discursive proposals and critical pedagogies. She recently curated the exhibition Tout dans le cabinet mental at Crédac (France 2022) as part of the activities of the study office in performances Together Until_ __(what)? created with Flora Bouteille and, with Marianna De Marzi, imagined the curatorial work format Meeting Points between the Caribbean and Europe.

Amrithasruthi Radhakrishnan is a PhD candidate of theatre and performance studies at the School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, currently an assistant professor (Performance) at the Department of Arts, Media, and Performance, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Shiv Nadar Institution of Eminence, Delhi-NCR. Her research maps the historical effectiveness of performance festivals in India—with specific reference to dance wherein she tries to locate alternate approaches to analyze dance history and performance-making.

  • Collapse
  • Expand

TURBA

The Journal for Global Practices in Live Arts Curation

  • Figure 1:

    Left to right: Drawing by T. Sivarasa in the book Why did I become an illegal migrant? Tamil refugee students and youth on citizenship, edited by A.S. Vigetharan, © Chinthan Books, Chennai, India; Refugee Week festival Parade in London, 2010, photographed by Nana Varveropoulou; Gathering at Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Malawi for the annual Tumaini Festival in 2022, view from the main stage as an artist performs to an audience comprised of community members and festival goers, photographed by Tumaini Letu.

  • Figure 1:

    Left to right: A public workshop “Multitudes of Listeners: Action Listen,” by Maya Felixbrodt, Germaine Sijstermans & Samuel Vriezen, with the Training for the Future (2018) project created by artist Jonas Staal & curator-dramatist Florian Malzacher Ruhrtriennale, Jahrhunderthalle Bochum (2019) © Photographer Ruben Hamelink / Training for the Future; An activity with migrant participants, lying in the dark, as developed by choreographers Myriam Lefkowitz and Catalina Insignares with la facultad, © Photographer Jean Philippe Derail; Collective performance company Action Zoo Humain in a staging of The Truth Commission (2013) inside the courthouse in Ghent. © Photographer Kurt Van Der Elst.

  • Arockiam, Kulandai. 2022. Camp Life of Sri Lankan Refugees in India. New York: Routledge.

  • Baker, Colin. 2011. “Come Walk with Me: Three Visits to Dzaleka.” The Society of Malawi Journal 64(1): 3441.

  • Bronwyn, Bragg, & Daniel Hiebert. 2022. “Refugee Trajectories, Imaginaries, and Realities: Refugee Housing in Canadian Cities.” Canadian Journal of Urban Research 31(1): 1632.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Crawford, Nicolas, John Cosgrave, Simone Haysom, & Nadine Walicki. 2015. Protracted Displacement: Uncertain Paths to Self-Reliance in Exile. London: Overseas Development Institute.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Dudman, Paul V., ed. 2020. “Editorial—Why Displaced Voices?Displaced Voices: A Journal of Archives, Migration and Cultural Heritage 1(1): 611.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Esposito, Addie. 2022. “The Limitations of Humanity: Differential Refugee Treatment in the EU.” Harvard International Review. Accessed in 2022 at https://hir.harvard.edu/the-limitations-of-humanity-differential-refugee-treatment-in-the-eu/.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Finkel, Rebecca. 2010. “Re-Imaging Arts Festivals through a Corporate Lens: A Case Study of Business Sponsorship at the Henley Festival.” Managing Leisure 15(4): 237250

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Fly High Africa. 2016. The Tumaini Festival. Accessed in 2023 at https://youtu.be/Cy5Rnz6JfFA.

  • George, Miriam, Vaillancourt, Anita, & Rajan, S. Irudaya. 2016. “Sri Lankan Tamil Refugees in India: Conceptual Framework of Repatriation Success.” Refuge: Canada's Journal on Refugees 32(3): 7382.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gershon, Walter S. 2009. “Entertaining Ideas and Embodied Knowledge: Musicians as Public Intellectuals.” In Jennifer A. Sandlin, Brian. D. Schultz, and Jake Burdick, eds., Handbook of Public Pedagogy: Education and Learning beyond Schooling, 628638. New York: Routledge.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Jastram, Kate, & Achiron, Marilyn. 2001. Refugee Protection: A Guide to International Refugee Law. Geneva: IPU/United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Macfarlane, Clyde. 2015. “The Malawi Music Festival Bringing Hope to Its Refugee Residents.” The Guardian, November 17. Accessed in 2023 at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/nov/17/malawi-tumaini-music-festival-refugee-residents.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Makhumula, Catherine. 2019. “Re-Imagining Dzaleka: The Tumaini Festival and Refugee Visibility.” Eastern African Literary and Cultural Studies 5(1): 118.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • McElhinney, Belinda. 2011. “Refugee Week Scotland.” Line. (June 2010).

  • Mpauni, Tresor. 2019. Breaking the Mold for Refugees: Founding the Tumaini Festi- val in Dzaleka Refugee Camp, Malawi. WorldBank Blogs. Nasikiliza. Accessed in 2023 at https://blogs.worldbank.org/nasikiliza/breaking-mold-refugees-founding-tumaini-festival-dzaleka-refugee-camp-malawi.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • O'Reilly, Zoë. 2018. “‘Living Liminality’: Everyday Experiences of Asylum Seekers in the ‘Direct Provision’ System in Ireland.” Gender Place & Culture 25(6): 821842.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Refugee Week.1998. “About Refugee Week.” Refugee Week website, June 20. Accessed in 2023 at https://refugeeweek.org.uk/about/.

  • Smith, Robyn, & Louise Mansfield. 2019. Royal Museums Greenwich-Refugee Week Report (11th ed., Vol. 1, 128, Publication No. 1). London: Brunel University London.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Taylor, Diane, & Quinn, Ben. 2023. “Braverman Plan to Send Asylum Seekers to Rwanda Unlawful, Appeal Court Rules.” The Guardian, June 29. Accessed in 2023 at https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2023/jun/29/plan-to-send-asylum-seekers-to-rwanda-is-unlawful-uk-appeal-court-rules.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Tumaini Festival. 2019. Home. Accessed in 2021 at https://www.tumainifestival.org.

  • Tumaini Letu. 2017. Tumaini Festival 2017 at Dzaleka Refugee Camp. Accessed in 2023 at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/tumaini21/tumaini-festival-2017-at-dzaleka-refugee-camp.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. 2019, October. Submission for the Universal Periodic Review-Malawi. UPR 36th Session.

  • United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. 2020. Protracted Refugee Situations Explained. Accessed in 2020 at https://www.unrefugees.org/news/protracted-refugee-situations-explained/.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. 2022a. Global Trends Forced Displacement. 2021. Accessed in 2022 at https://www.unhcr.org/62a9d1494/global-trends-report-2021.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • United Nations High Commission for Refugees. 2022b. Malawi. Operations summary. Accessed in 2022 at https://data2.unhcr.org/en/country/mwi.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Vigetharan, V.S. (ed.). 2023. Why Did I Become an Illegal Migrant? Tamil Refugee Students and Youth on Citizenship. Chennai: Chinthan Books.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Yussuf, Abdullahi. 2021. “What It's Like to Have Your Life Put on Hold by the Home Office.” Big Issue, December 18.

  • Ahmed, Sara. 2012. On Being Included: Racism and Diversity in Institutional Life. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

  • Bartleet, Brydie-Leigh, Christina Ballico, Dawn Bennett, Ruth Bridgstock, Paul Draper, Vanessa Tomlinson, and Scott Harrison. 2019. “Building Sustainable Portfolio Careers in Music: Insights and Implications for Higher Education.” Music Education Research 21 (3): 282294.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bishop, Claire. 2007. “What Is a Curator?IDEA Arts Society 26: 1221.

  • Hiekel, Jörn-Peter. 2015. “Beiläufig Wesentliches: Musiktheater mit Schwalben, Mauerseglern und anderen Impulsgebern” (“Casually Fundamental: Music Theatre with Swallows, Swifts, and Other Impulses”). In Manos Tsangaris and Ulrich Tadday, eds., Musik-Konzepte Sonderband, neue Folge, 1734. Vol. 2015/XII. Munich: edition text + kritik.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Jackson, Shannon. 2005. “Performing Show and Tell: Disciplines of Visual Culture and Performance Studies.” Journal of Visual Culture 4 (2): 163177.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Martinon, Jean-Paul. 2013. “Introduction.” In The Curatorial: A Philosophy of Curating, 1–16. New York: Bloomsbury Academic.

  • Precarious Workers Brigade. 2017. Training for Exploitation? Politicising Employability and Reclaimimg Education. Silvia Federici, ed. London: Journal of Aesthetics & Protest Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Prokop, Rainer, and Rosa Reitsamer. 2023. “The DIY Careers of Young Classical Musicians in Neoliberal Times.” DIY, Alternative Cultures & Society 1(2). Ac- cessed online on January 23, 2023 https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/27538702231174197.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rebstock, Matthias, and David Roesner. 2012. Composed Theatre: Aesthetics, Practices, Processes. Bristol, UK: Intellect Books.

  • Szyłak, Aneta. 2013. “Curating Context.” In Jean-Paul Martinon, ed., The Curatorial: A Philosophy of Curating, 215224. London: Bloomsbury Academic.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Templer, Andrew J., and Tupper F. Cawsey. 1999. “Rethinking Career Development in an Era of Portfolio Careers.” Career Development International 4(2): 7076.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Tsangaris, Manos. 2015. “Schalte Zelte: Wie das abgespaltene Holz das Werk in Bewegung setzt.” In Ulrich Tadday, ed., Musik-Konzepte Sonderband: Manos Tsangaris, 184186. Munich: edition text + kritik im Richard Boorberg Verlag GmbH.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ultima. n.d. a. “ANNA&CO & Nils Petter Molvær: SÅLE: Blowing away the dark secrets of wartime Norway in a three-part dance work with music by electronic jazz legend Nils Petter Molvær” In Oslo Contemporary Music Festival Program. Accessed on January 23, 2023 at https://www.ultima.no/en/annaco-nils-petter-molvaer-sale.

  • Bénichou, Anne. 2016. “Introduction. Le reenactment ou le répertoire en régime intermédial.” Intermédialités / Intermediality 28–29 (autumn 2016 / spring 2017). Accessed on April 2, 2023 at https://www.erudit.org/fr/revues/im/2016-n28-29-im03201/1041075ar/.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Boal, Augusto. 2021. Théâtre de l'opprimé. Paris: Éditions La Découverte.

  • Butler, Judith. 1993. “Critically Queer.” GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 1.

  • Caillet, Aline. 2013. “Le re-enactment : Refaire, rejouer ou répéter l'histoire?Marges 17 (2013): 6673.

  • Cavallo, Francesca Laura. 2019. “Rehearsing Disaster. Pre-Enactment Between Reality and Fiction.” In Adam Czirak, Sophie Nikoleit, Friederike Oberkrome, Verena Straub, Robert Walter-Jochum, and Michael Wetzelfs, eds., Performance zwischen den zeiten. Reenactments und Preenactments in Kunst und Wissenschaft, 193. Bielefeld, Germany: Transcript Verlag.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Czirak, Adam, et al. 2019a. Performance zwischen den zeiten. Reenactments und Preenactments in Kunst und Wissenschaft. Bielefeld, Germany: Transcript Verlag.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Czirak, Adam, et al. 2019b. “(P)reenactment.” In Jan Slaby & Christian von Scheve, eds., Affective Societas: Key Concepts, 200209. London: Routledge.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gramsci, Antonio. 1996. Cahiers de prison, 1929 – 1935, cahier 3, 283. Paris: Gallimard.

  • hooks, bell. 1990. Yearning. Race, Gender and Cultural Politics. Boston: South End Press.

  • Macón, Cecilia. 2020. “La simulación como performance afectiva en los orígenes del feminismo.” Revista Estudios Feministas, Florianópolis 28(2): e72434.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Malzacher, Florian. 2019. “Theatre as Assembly.” In Ana Vujanovic & Livia Piazza, eds., A Live Gathering: Performance and politics in contemporary Europe, 178199. Berlin: b books.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Malzacher, Florian, & Jonas Staal. 2022. Training for the Future–Handbook. Berlin: Sternberg Press.

  • Marchart, Oliver. 2019. Conflictual Aesthetics–Artistic Activism and the Public Sphere. Berlin, Germany: Sternberg Press.

  • Nellis, Steff. 2021. “Enacting Law: The Dramaturgy of the Courtroom on the Contemporary Stage.” Lateral, Journal of the Cultural Studies Association 10(1) (Spring).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Oberkrome, Freiderike, & Verena Straub. 2019. “Performing in Between Times: An Introduction.” In Adam Czirak, Sophie Nikoleit, Friederike Oberkrome, Verena Straub, Robert Walter-Jochum, and Michael Wetzelfs, eds., Performance zwischen den zeiten. Reenactments und Preenactments in Kunst und Wissenschaft., 10. Bielefeld: Transcript Verlag.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Tindemans, Klaas. 2016. “Truth, Justice, and Performative Knowledge: Chokri Ben Chikha's Theatrical ‘Truth Commission’ on (Neo) colonial Injustices.” Kritika Kultura 26 (2016): 130143.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bourdieu, Pierre. 1994. The Field of Cultural Production. New York: Columbia University Press.

  • Crespi-Vallbona, Montserrat, & Richard, Greg. 2007. “The Meaning of Cultural Festivals.” International Journal of Cultural Policy 13(1): 103122.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Elliot, T.S. 1949. Notes Towards the Definition of Culture. London: Faber and Faber.

  • Fabiani, Jean-Louis. 2011. “Festivals, Local and Global: Critical Interventions and the Cultural Public Sphere.” In Liana Georgi, Monica Sassatelli, and Gerard Delanty, eds., Festivals and the Cultural Public Sphere, 92107. New York: Routledge.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ferdman, Bertie. 2014. “Role Inversion: The Curator Takes the Stage.” PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art 106: 5358.

  • Green, Garth L. 2007. Trinidad Carnival: The Cultural Policies of a Transnational Festival. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

  • Jaegar, Kary, & Reidar J. Mykletun. 2013. “Festivals, Identities, and Belonging.” Event Management 17: 213226.

  • Merkel, Udo. 2015. “Identity Discourses and Communities in International Events, Festivals and Spectacles.” London: Palgrave Macmillan UK

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Preziosi, Donald. 2019. Curatorship as Bildungsroman: Or, from Hamlet to Hjelmslev. London: Routledge.

  • Ronström, Owe. 2011. “Festivalization: What a Festival Says—and Does.” Visby: Gotland University: 110.

  • Schoenmakers, Henry. 2007. “Festivals, Theatrical Events, and Communicative Interactions.” In Temple Hauptfleisch et al., ed., Festivalizing!: Theatrical Events, Politics and Culture. Amsterdam: Rodopi.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Singh, J.P. 2020. “Culture and International Development: Managing Participatory Voices and Value Chains in the Art.” In Victoria Durrer and Raphaela Henze, eds. Managing Culture: Reflecting on Cultural Exchange in a Global Times. London: Routledge.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation

Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 1456 1456 366
PDF Downloads 549 549 17