Agora

Parc de Bruxelles / Park van Brussel

20. 21. 23. 24. 25/05 > 20:30
FR

Simon Siegmann is inviting audiences to view his Agora, an installation and place for people to meet and talk in the city. It is a structure comprising a staircase and a large raised stage where "its purpose is deliberately incomplete, awaiting a human presence."

Simon Siegmann is inviting three artists - choreographer Pierre Droulers, composer George van Dam and writer Jean-Michel Espitallier - to take possession of this bare space and transform it into a performance venue. Dance, music and words bring the public space to life.

Installation & concept:

Simon Siegmann

Choreography:

Pierre Droulers

Texte:

Jean-Michel Espitallier

Musique:

George van Dam

Musicians:

Angélique Wilquie, Jan Kuiken, Géry Cambier, Tom Pauwels

Dancers:

Shila Anaraki, Olivier Balzarini, Amit Hadari, Naîma Fahim Lamarti, Harold Henning, Sofie Kokaj, Arnaud Meulman, Vincent Minne, Saori Miyazawa, Katrien Vandergooten, Marielle Morales,Ludovic Pré, Yuki Sakaï, Uiko Watanabe, Michel Yang

Construction décor:

François Marechal

Production:

Margarita Production

Coproduction:

Charleroi/Danses, Centre chorégraphique de la Communauté française, KunstenFESTIVALdesArts

With the support of:

Vlaamse Gemeenschap (Muziek-Compositieopdracht), cie Michèle Anne De Mey, KVS, Ville de Bruxelles/Stad Brussel, CGRI, Ambassade de France

Thanks to:

KVS, Théâtre Royal du Parc

Back to top

Agora is a project combining plastic arts and the performing arts, centred entirely on the notions of space, movement and the audience. Coming in the form of a scenographic installation, Agora is a kind of architectural structure comprising stairs and a raised platform. In the performances, a number of artists associated with the performing arts have been invited to work within this given space, and offer their point of view and understanding of the installation. In its entirety, Agora is a project that can be defined as a plastic installation with three distinct collaborations between plastic arts and dance, plastic arts and music and plastic arts and words.

The installation

Initially the audience will be in a large space without any tiered seating, and will have the run of the space and the installation: they can move around and set themselves down where they like. The entire installation is a place for walking around, where the traditional theatrical framework has been deliberately removed. It is made entirely of wood and contains two architectural elements: some stairs and a floor. These two elements are a reference to basic theatrical architecture: tiers of seats and the stage itself.

Interlinked and placed back-to-back, their meanings and functions are multiplied. The tiers of seats are also like stairs, a space for moving round or a music hall stage and a performance space too. Around the installation there are stairs inviting the public to approach this wooden floor, transforming it into a public space and a stage at the same time.

The audience is faced with an object with no beginning or end, with no front or back, which they can move round, sit on, look at or simply pass by.

As an image, this installation suggests the idea of "the audience turning its back on the stage". Lighting also has a role to play in this ensemble. Considered a constituent part of the installation, the lighting is not just used to illuminate but is also a party to the plastic proposition. Based on a simple, stripped-down device, the lighting extends and accentuates the proposition of space by combining references to lighting in a public space and stage lighting. Without specifically lighting the performers, the light allows the tension to be seen between the tiers and the stage set back-to-back and gets this device to reveal the shot, the reverse shot and what is out of shot simultaneously.

The incursions

The second part of the project is based on the guest artists making an incursion and intervening in this installation. The notion of an incursion is preferable to that of an intervention because it suggests a displacement, a capturing of space, time for coming and then going again.

The proposition made to the artists is both defined and free: defined in terms of the space and the ensuing dramaturgy, but free because the artists have the opportunity to express their own viewpoints of the installation. They have not been commissioned in the restrictive sense of the word - they are collaborators on it. The role of the space is very dominant, and raises questions about mobility, proximity, multiple points of views and conditions of visibility. All these questions are directly connected with the notions of the audience, the performance and, in a wider context, the impact of the environment on performance conditions too. The guest artists will inevitably have to take a view on these matters. Exactly how is of course up to them.

Pierre Droulers

Pierre Droulers' project within Agora is based on the idea of using a large number of extras (around 30 to 40 people) as the protagonists, suggesting a relationship between the masses and the audience, group versus group.

To do this Pierre Droulers is recruiting 40 male and female performers, both dancers and non-dancers (actors, athletes, circus artists, anyone who is physically fit), and will be spending a week working with them.

George van Dam

George van Dam's incursion into this project will be in the form of a concert. Five musicians - Géry Cambier (bass guitar), Jan Kuijken (cello), Tom Pauwels (guitar), George van Dam (violin/keyboard) and the singer Angelique Willkie, (sound by Bastien Gilson) - will be performing a new score by George van Dam. In response to the idea of Agora being a public space, the music is revealed in space-time marked by layers of memory and collective consciousness, the environment and our position on the planet.

Jean-Michel Espitallier

For his project, Jean-Michel Espitallier will be doing a solo reading from a text written specially for Agora. A performative text, referring to the time and place of the reading, it contains crazy axioms and syllogisms, in loops, turned in on themselves and centrifugal, mathematical mantras of a language which winds up and unwinds to go off and rummage in cold marvels, blind spots and the "mechanics and absurdities" of language.

The artists were carefully chosen for their known connection with the plastic arts and also to provide as large a contrast as possible between each intervention. Of course this contrast is generated by the multidisciplinary nature of the project. During the preparation phase, consideration will be given to the number of performers, as well as the duration and space in each intervention.

The three propositions are organised as simply as possible during the performance time. Due to the open structure of the project it is not possible to say exactly what the timings of the performances will be, but the incursions will be shown consecutively, each approximately lasting between 10 and 30 minutes.

After each piece there will be a short interval to give the audience an opportunity to change their position around or in the installation for the next intervention.

"A sculpture is in the same setting as the person looking at it. Each step taken by the viewer, each hour of the day, each lamp that is lit, gives a sculpture a particular appearance, quite different from all the others."

Paul Valéry.

Conclusion

The installation is called Agora because it is made for the public; the public represents the individual as well as the group. The installation is intentionally incomplete, something is missing. A human presence has been encouraged, it has to be occupied and used. The audience has to make the space its own, guided by the guest artists, the "enlightened ones".

Showing the installation with interventions will bring it to life. It is a way of giving the spectators keys to an object that can only function if there is an interaction or collaboration.

Nevertheless Agora is not a social project, but an aesthetic one, whose ambition is to offer the audience an object of art with which they can merge.

Agora:

noun (pl. agorae /agg ree/or agoras) (in ancient Greece) a public open space used for assemblies and markets.

- ORIGIN Greek

Public:

adjective 1 of, concerning, or available to the people as a whole. 2 of or involved in the affair of the community, especially in government or entertainment. 3 done, perceived, or existing in open view. 4 of or provided by the state rather than an independent, commercial company.

noun 1(the public) treated as sing. or pl. ordinary people in general; the community. 2 (one's public) the people who watch or are interested in an artist, writer, or performer.

- ORIGIN Latin publicus, blend of poplicus 'of the people' and puber 'adult'.

Back to top