Cu­ri­ous about how per­for­mance art can ad­dress so­cial is­sues, Serene Tseng ex­plores the For­eign Af­fairs Fes­ti­val at the Haus der Ber­liner Fest­spiele.

Where Berlin - - CONTENTS -

Ex­plor­ing so­cial un­cer­tain­ties through con­tem­po­rary and per­for­mance art.

Hardly any­thing is cer­tain in life, and though hind­sight is al­ways 20/20, we are still caught off guard when un­cer­tain­ties

arise. Fus­ing theater, dance, fine arts, film, and mu­sic, the For­eign Af­fairs Fes­ti­val ex­plores the am­bi­gu­i­ties of the present through con­tem­po­rary art, bring­ing both un­cer­tainty and art to new heights at the Haus der Ber­liner Fest­spiele. This year’s For­eign Af­fairs fo­cus artist is South African Wil­liam Ken­tridge (pic­tured above), whose oeu­vre en­com­passes the po­lit­i­cal cli­mate and his own iden­tity as the son of prom­i­nent anti-Apartheid lawyers. Set against the back­drop of South Africa’s his­tory, his in­ter­dis­ci­pli­nary work tran­scends the in­di­vid­ual lim­i­ta­tions of artis­tic medi­ums. Start­ing on 5 July, Ken­tridge will be per­form­ing to­gether with com­poser Philip Miller, pre­sent­ing a witty and sub­ver­sive song cy­cle that unites an­i­ma­tion films based on Ken­tridge’s char­coal or ink draw­ings with a live per­for­mance by singers Ann Masina and Joanna Dud­ley and pi­anist Vin­cenzo Pasquar­iello. On 5 July, Alain Pla­tel’s mu­si­cal theater will por­tray an orches­tra mu­si­cian’s in­evitable demise. With in­stru­men­tal­ists and ac­tors on stage, this tragi­comic per­for­mance is a cel­e­bra­tion of life in which fa­mil­iar clas­sics of mu­sic by Mahler or Verdi morph into a new lis­ten­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. On the 7th, An­twerp-based theater com­pany will be screen­ing their BERLIN Zviz­dal, doc­u­men­tary a filmic por­trait that tells the story of the last months of an el­derly mar­ried cou­ple re­sid­ing amid ra­di­a­tion in a ghost town near Ch­er­nobyl. And ev­ery night at 10pm, the Haus der Ber­liner Fest­spiele presents a new ex­hi­bi­tion, cul­mi­nat­ing with an all-nighter of per­for­mance by theater com­pany Forced En­ter­tain­ment, which uses art as the counter to un­cer­tainty be­fore an­other day be­gins again. That much, at least, is for cer­tain. 5–17 July. Haus der Ber­liner Fest­spiele. www.berlin­er­fest­spiele.de

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