Pillow Talk

    15/05  | 17:00 - 22:00
    16/05  | 17:00 - 22:00
    17/05  | 17:00 - 22:00
    18/05  | 15:00 - 20:00
    19/05  | 15:00 - 20:00
    20/05  | 17:00 - 22:00

€ 14 / € 11
50 min

Begüm Erciyas works in her performances with the power of the voice and the act of speaking. After the successful Voicing Pieces, this year she presents a new creation that focuses on the experience of the voice as an uncanny medium. Because, although we use it to express our personal convictions and feelings, in the digital age we are often in doubt about who is speaking: is it a person or a machine? This doubt and this conviction alternate constantly in Pillow Talk. Spread over a hilly landscape, the public enters into a dialogue with a virtual conversation partner. An artificial voice functions as a mediator, a companion and a mirror. While conversations are being constructed one word at a time, impressions are being shared, naps are being taken and time passes, Pillow Talk invites you to engage in an intimate relationship with the non-human.

Concept & direction: Begüm Erciyas
Scenography: Elodie Dauguet
Light design: Jan Maertens
Sound design: Adolfina Fuck
Interface developer: Ruben van de Ven
Dramaturgy: Marnix Rummens
Script collaboration: Adolfina Fuck, Katja Dreyer, Dennis Deter, Hermann Heisig, Jean-Baptiste Veyret-Logerias
Artistic advice: David Weber-Krebs
Research support: Robert M. Ochshorn, Holger Heissmeyer, Ewa Bankowska, Jozef Wouters, Diego Agulló, Vincent Roumagnac, Taro Inamura, Michael Spranger 
Production & PR: Barbara Greiner
Assistant: Špela Tušar

Presentation: Kunstenfestivaldesarts, KVS
Production: Begüm Erciyas, Platform 0090
Supported by: the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès within the framework of the New Settings Program
Coproduction: Kunstenfestivaldesarts, STUK (Leuven), Next Festival International, PACT Zollverein (Essen), Centre Dramatique National Nanterre-Amandiers
Research support: wp-Zimmer (Antwerp), Q-O2 Brussels, Saison Foundation (Tokyo)
Funded by: Berlin Senate, Department for Culture and Europe and Flemish Community, Ministry of Culture
With the support of: Buda (Kortrijk)

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Pillow Talk

The title of this performance refers to a conversation performed in a specific situation defined by the object on which it is performed: the pillow. A pillow talk is often an intimate conversation between two human beings. But that’s not always the case, as is proved by the performance by Begüm Erciyas. In resonance with this, and with the work, David Weber-Krebs discloses here another intimate conversation on a pillow.

Rosetta is a young woman at war. It was the Dardenne brothers themselves who said it (“Rosetta was a war film”). But she is not like other illustrious film heroes, simple soldiers struggling in the trenches or leaders com-manding armies, pawns in a conflict that is beyond them. The war waged by Rosetta is one she is waging alone. Alone against the world. Alone against the others, all the others who put themselves in the way of her achieving a simply redemptive goal: to get a job. It is literally a matter of life or death for her. She could kill someone for a job. Or let them die. That’s war for you. You kill. You let them die. But the war has its laws. And Rosetta follows them like true heroines of war follow them. You don’t steal. You don’t beg. You don’t rip off your boss. You fight. You fight for a job. And once you’ve got one, you work.

Rosetta has retained the soft, round face of a child. But her relationship with things and with people is violent. The enemy is everywhere and everyone is the enemy. Sometimes she hides behind a wall to spy on them. Or waits for an opportune moment to escape their attention. She controls. She scrutinises. She deals blows. She sets traps. She jealously guards her hiding places. She doesn’t count on help from anyone. The other person is a means to an end for her. Nothing more.

Then one evening, she glimpses liberation, a ceasefire at least. Someone wants to be her friend. He has helped her find a job. She has spent the evening with him. He has tried to make her laugh. When it comes to going to bed, he has set up a mattress for her in the kitchen. And there, the camera that had followed her in her fight to this point, always with urgency, always nervous and jerky, suddenly becomes still. Just as Rosetta’s head comfortably rests on the pillow. She embraces the pillow with a real hug. And looks in the emptiness, alone in the night, just before falling asleep, she starts talking to herself. She whispers:

Your name is Rosetta.
My name is Rosetta.

You’ve found a job.
I’ve found a job.

You’ve found a friend.
I’ve found a friend.

You have a normal life.
I have a normal life.

You won’t fall into the hole.
I won’t fall into the hole.

This first voice rooted and strong, it’s the one who knows. It talks to the one who is searching, to the one who doesn’t know and is still wave-ring. She has just defied all her enemies and said what is and what will still be when the dark of the night has gone. And the other voice, the weak one, that of the child shivering in the dark, faithfully repeats the affirmations offered by the first voice.

This pagan prayer in the form of a soliloquy is the most obvious way solitary humans have had since the depths of time to reassure themselves when faced with the emptiness of the night. To have a voice that shatters the silence. But above all to have another one answering. It is not a cry that could only become lost in the emptiness and accentuate the echoing anguish a little more. It’s an exchange in low voices from self to self. Without another person being addressed. Without a witness. The intimate journey from one’s mouth to one’s own ears.

And this litany ends in the most kindly way there is, by a question that ascertains if need be that the night can now envelope her.

Good night?
Good night.

Rosetta turns over and hugs her pillow a little more tightly. She can sleep peacefully.

David Weber-Krebs


Rosetta is a 1999 film by Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne.

David Weber-Krebs is an artist, a researcher and a curator based in Brussels. He studied at the University of Fribourg (CH) and the Amsterdam School of the Arts (NL). David explores various contexts as a basis for an experimental process, which questions the traditional relationship between the work of art and its public. He is currently affiliated as a doctoral artistic researcher to KASK & Conservatory / School of Arts, Ghent.

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Begüm Erciyas (b. 1982) studied molecular biology and genetics in Ankara, where she became a member of [laboratuar], a performing arts project and research group. She then graduated from the Salzburg Experimental Academy of Dance (SEAD). In 2006, she received the danceWEB scholarship and since then has been an active member of Sweet and Tender Collaborations. Begüm Erciyas was resident at the Akademie Schloss Solitude, at the K3 – Centre for Choreography in Hamburg and at Tanzwerkstatt Berlin. In 2014, she was a fellow at Villa Kamogawa/Goethe-Institut Kyoto. Her recent works include Ballroom (2010), this piece is still to come (2012) and A Speculation (2014) en Voicing Pieces (2017).

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