Like everyone else operating in social and cultural settings, the Kunstenfestivaldesarts had no option but to cancel its festival in May. Thanks to the loyal support of members of the public, the authorities and our sponsors, as well as our campaign for solidarity involving the sale of Ghosts Tickets, we have been able to continue supporting our artists, collaborators and staff for their work. Despite the difficulties caused by cancelling the festival, we did not want to end the year without sharing a moment with you, and we have therefore put together a new programme for autumn 2020. 

With the autumn programme, we want to thank the city and our audiences after this difficult time, but also support the artistic community that has been so badly affected by the coronavirus crisis. Half of the projects we will be presenting in the autumn will be new commissions made during lockdown to give the artists an opportunity to carry on working and rethink their artistic practice in spite of the restrictions. With new creations by Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker, Radouan Mriziga and Gwendoline Robin, we are keeping up with the festival’s engagement in the local scene. At the same time, with safety measures making international mobility more difficult, we also think that it is crucial to emphasise the festival’s role in supporting artists that are not based in Europe. That is why in recent weeks we have produced and supported new creations by artists such as Tania Bruguera and Christian Nyampeta in new forms of remote interaction. 

In the autumn, the Kunstenfestivaldesarts will be making an appearance in the city in three different forms. From 4 to 8 September, we are organising Every Inside Has an Outside, a five-day festival in the Maison des Arts, Les Halles de Schaerbeek and outdoors, which through seven artistic projects and a public programme aims to provide a reflection on the times we are living in. In October, in The Diasporic Schools, we will be supporting seven artists with new creations to allow an exchange in a diasporic context that will be open to participants based in different regions of the world, and accessible for the general public through a series of online encounters. Lastly, from 26 to 29 November and in collaboration with six arts centres in Brussels and seven artists based in the city, we will be presenting the News From Home festival. 

These three events have the Kunstenfestivaldesarts’ DNA in them and they form three islands in the archipelago giving shape to this year’s festival. In September, we will be celebrating the artists’ ability to talk about and reflect on the present. We will also be seeking new forms of presentation with them that will allow shared experiences while observing the rules on social distancing. In the virtual school, we will be continuing the Free School project and supporting international creation at a time when the world is closed. Finally, during the festival’s last weekend in November, we will be paying homage to Brussels as a city of artists in all its diversity. All these ingredients – innovative artistic programmes, public spaces, international exchanges, experimental pedagogy and being rooted in Brussels – normally culminate in a festival that runs for three weeks. Today, with the audience, we will be travelling from island to island over a period of three months.

The direction of the festival,
Sophie Alexandre, Daniel Blanga Gubbay, Dries Douibi