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The Artis­tic Direc­tor of Lu­mi­nato, JÖrn Weis­brodt, gives us an in­sider’s per­spec­tives on this year's event.

The an­nual Toronto arts fes­ti­val Lu­mi­nato is a mix of mu­si­cal per­for­mances, vis­ual arts, lit­er­ary talks and dance pro­grams. Since its 2007 de­but, Lu­mi­nato has grown in size, with more than 66 works of art hav­ing been comis­sioned, fea­tur­ing 7,500 artists from 40 coun­tries. This year, the Apoca­lyp­sis mega-pro­duc­tion with 1,000 per­form­ers is set to be a key event. Real Style caught up with Jörn Weis­brodt, artis­tic direc­tor of Lu­mi­nato to get his take on this year's event.

REAL STYLE: What are you most ex­cited about for Lu­mi­nato 2015?

Jörn Weis­brodt: We started work­ing on R. Mur­ray Schafer’s Apoca­lyp­sis over three years ago. It is a staged or­a­to­rio about the de­struc­tion of the uni­verse and the pos­si­bil­ity of a new vi­sion which re­quires 1000 per­form­ers and will be staged at the Sony Cen­tre from June 26 to 28. It is sure to be an epic ex­pe­ri­ence, and one that I be­lieve Toronto has never seen on stage be­fore. It might even be the largest mu­si­cal and the­atri­cal show ever per­formed on an in­door stage in Canada. It is th­ese kind of events that I think Lu­mi­nato Fes­ti­val is par­tic­u­larly good at cre­at­ing, some­thing that is so out of the or­di­nary. I am also ex­cited that Lu­mi­nato is cre­at­ing the first cul­tural use in the Hearn Gen­er­at­ing Sta­tion that will be open to the public. Un­sound Toronto (from June 19 to 20) is a two-day fes­ti­val within the Lu­mi­nato Fes­ti­val fea­tur­ing elec­tronic and ex­per­i­men­tal mu­sic that brings to­gether sound, vi­su­als, scent and light and will truly bring some en­ergy back to this pow­er­plant that was taken off the grid in the ‘80s.

RS: What goes into the se­lec­tion process for the art/per­for­mances you bring to Lu­mi­nato?

JW: To me, Lu­mi­nato Fes­ti­val should be do­ing what no one else is do­ing in this city. We are about cre­at­ing ad­ven­tur­ous art and ideas in ad­ven­tur­ous places. Do­ing a dance and pop mu­sic spec­ta­cle (Con­tem­po­rary Color, June 22 to 23) at the Air Canada Cen­tre; a live, in­ter­ac­tive film shot in the streets of Toronto and streamed to view­ers across the coun­try (My One De­mand, June 25 to 27); and in past years, a per­for­mance piece at the McMichael Gallery grounds; a show in some­one’s garage in Vaughan; at the Hearn Gen­er­at­ing Sta­tion; in public parks in Toronto; and more. To me, that is what the DNA of Lu­mi­nato Fes­ti­val is all about. I want to change peo­ple’s hearts and minds through art. I look for th­ese kind of trans­for­ma­tional projects that re­late to Toronto and to Toron­to­ni­ans, that will res­onate with them but also move them to an­other place men­tally. To me, it is less about un­der­stand­ing art but experiencing it, then un­der­stand­ing can come much later. I want to se­duce peo­ple to see the world dif­fer­ently and to see some­thing dif­fer­ent. It is not about an avant-garde idea or any­thing like that. It is about open­ing new spa­ces of the mind and soul.

RS: How do you feel the fes­ti­val dif­fers from other cul­tural events in Canada?

JW: We are the only multi-arts fes­ti­val of this scale in Canada. There is no fes­ti­val that so joy­ously mixes all the art forms. I be­lieve a great cul­tural na­tion is de­fined by two things: firstly, can it pro­duce and sup­port great artists, and se­condly (and al­most more im­por­tantly) can it also at­tract great artists from out­side to live and work there. I think Lu­mi­nato Fes­ti­val is do­ing both. We are sup­port­ing some of Canada’s great artists – some of them we bring home, like Terence Koh, Tim Hecker or Joni Mitchell – but we also at­tract great artists from over­seas and out­side Canada to come and work here, to cre­ate, to give to the com­mu­nity, like David Byrne, Meg Stu­art, Lemi Poni­fa­sio, Matthew Bar­ney, Mar­i­ano Pen­sotti and so many more.

RS: Where do you see the fes­ti­val in five years?

JW: In five years, I would like Lu­mi­nato Fes­ti­val to be as in­dis­pens­able to the cul­tural fab­ric of this city as TIFF is, or MoMA is to New York. I would like it to ex­plore more cul­tural ter­ri­tory and more new venues, show Toron­to­ni­ans more what their city re­ally is. In my dreams in five years, the Hearn Gen­er­at­ing Sta­tion would be the largest gen­er­a­tor for cul­ture in the world with mul­ti­ple ex­hi­bi­tion spa­ces, ex­per­i­men­tal multi-func­tional the­atri­cal spa­ces, where cul­ture and the arts and dis­ci­plines are packed hor­i­zon­tally and ver­ti­cally.

Jörn Weis­brodt

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