Venturing into a fantastical world
Curiosity, playfulness, nonconformity, experimentation: these are the main ingredients behind the seventh edition of BANG! Festival, KultuurKaffee’s nomadic arts festival that will be invading Studio CityGate, the new cultural space occupying an old textile factory in downtown Brussels. The Radical Child Edition is curated by three characters who embody this philosophy in their myriad domains: painter-writer-burgeoning DJ Alex Deforce; Arne Huysmans, musician and founder of the artist space Volta; and theater maker-slash-conceptual artist Karlien Torfs. Together, they’ve cooked up twelve nights of music, art, and performances brimming with inventiveness and the sort of imaginative rebellion reserved for those who are in no rush to, as they say, grow up.
Interview by Gabriela González Rondón
Photos shot by Stine Sampers
This is the 7th edition of BANG! What is it about this festival that convinced you to be a part of it?
Arne: At the beginning Karlien and I brainstormed together with Kultuurkaffee. It was clear that the possibilities of creating a multidisciplinary festival would be a challenge for us. Many ideas were shared and we felt immediately a boost to just go for it.
Karlien: Arne and I were already talking about a collaboration between Volta and K.A.K. [Koekelbergse Alliantie van Knutselaars, of which Karlien is part of – GGR]. When they asked me to curate with him, we had a first brainstorm. It was so crazy that I was instantly convinced. Later I told Alex that I would be curating and he said (very arrogantly) ‘I’ve been waiting for years for them to ask me’. And here he is.
Alex: That is true and correct! I’ve been a fan of the festival since its first edition, and I really wanted to be a part of it.
What are your respective roles in the curation of this edition? Intro?
Karlien: I’m curating the performances.
Arne: I do the music programming for the festival.
Alex: The visual arts is my department; that, and one night celebrating cassette culture.
For this edition, the theme is ‘radical child’. What does that represent for each of you?
Karlien: Playfulness, never being satisfied, being a little aggressive in what you are doing – because you need to do it – and not growing up.
Arne: Experimentation. Staying curious about what you do and how to improve it. Keeping on looking for the boundaries within your own disciplines.
Alex: Not accepting things as they are, looking beyond the boundaries of society. Picking up a tree branch, saying it is a broomstick, trying to fly away with it, because you’re a witch and the world should know about it. And meaning it too, because it is the one and only truth.
How did this theme inform the general vision for the festival?
Arne: Because of the theme, I mainly went looking for artists with an innovative character.
Karlien: Every artist or performance is in a way the embodiment of a radical child. Something has gone too far in the child’s play: roleplaying in grotesque costumes while driving around, building a personal theme park or a gigantic marble slide, playing with fireworks and fire. It’s often quite dangerous.
Alex: Half of the works in the group exhibition are currently being made, and most artists childishly refuse to give me extra info about what exactly it is that they are preparing. It’s frustrating but I love the attitude; I can only applaud it, because I selected these artists exactly because of that. Aside from that, in the selection of videos you’ll see a new film about the late JMH Berckmans, a cult author from Antwerp who’s attitude towards life can be considered very radical, destructive and childish. It is not the prettiest sight. Next to that you’ll also see how child’s play can get political in Northern Ireland in Jan Locus’s film ‘Confusing Drum’. Céline Mathieu is another personal favourite of the expo; she’ll show sculptures which she has made while under hypnosis. All that and much more!
Any personal highlights?
Alex: The cassette label night, where Victor De Roo will present the new tape release on his Kontakt imprint, alongside Mark Knekelhuis and a poetry dj set by Night S. Yung. There will also be a cassette vending machine: ‘AD’s K-7-O-MAT’! The night with Circus Bulderdrang will be epic as well! This is very rare live show by the collective of which JMH Berckmans used to be a part of, they don’t do much live shows anymore, unfortunately.
Arne: Opening night with Islam Chipsy & EEK as well El Yunque on Nov 28, and Tristan together with New Optimism.
Karlien: I’m also looking forward to the opening night. There will be everything: music, performance, the opening of the expo… It will be a big big party! And December 11 will be even crazier, the whole place will be filled up: a theme park by Nikolas Lestaeghe, a circus, the marble slide by Tim Scheffer, a fanfare, the expo, a workshop balloon folding and Companie Canicule: two baroque ladies in a Mazda!
BANG! festival #7
opening night with Islam Chipsy & EEK, Pieter Van Den Bosch,
Compagnie Canicule & DJ Rebel Up SebCat
15 Nov – Studio CityGate (KultuurKaffee), Brussels
New Optimism + Tristan
6 Dec – Studio CityGate (KultuurKaffee), Brussels
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