Brussels Got Talent! (…with a little help from her friends & Kaaitheater, 18-21 December 2012)

… imported from Europe and the US. That goes to show what a melting pot Brussels is and why we, cosmopolitan expats, feel at home here.


In 2013-2016 four artists will be residents in Kaaitheater: Kris Verdonck (BE), Eleanor Bauer (USA), Mette Ingvartsen (DK) and Ivo Dimchev (BG). Between 18-21 December they presented some of their existing productions during the Kaaitheater Residents’ Week. This is an account of those I attended:

Eleanor Bauer presented her debut piece ELEANOR!, a 2005 piece initially intended for an audience of fellow artists in New York…. We, the Brussels audience, could not be more different but Eleanor, in her usual smart and witty manner, adjusted the piece to measure by adding a public survey before the performance… which had us engaged from the very start! And there were actually pas mal des artistes around… Anyway, the production examines the artist’s struggle to earn some honest money whilst still remaining true to  art. Eleanor intended to bury the piece after that fist show, but the struggle is a never ending story so it’s actually picked up in popularity!

Next was a double act or a double one woman show, as was described. The Heather Lang show by Eleanor Bauer and vice versa. Subtitled Trash is Fierce, it touched upon our capitalistic society being (de)formed by a passive-aggressive but in all cases uncontrollable, consumerism; a study of trash of all sorts: moral, ethical, spiritual, material, social, cultural trash… trash is fierce. png

Our two presenters, fittingly costumed in gorgeous dresses made from (mainly) plastic recycled pieces, Ms Witty Banteur-Public Intuitions Expert and Ms Duané Readé (pronounced Doo-wanna read-uuuuh)-Spiritual Connector, are here to promote their life philosophy: Destiny’s Realness… So the audience is subjected to a stream of infomercials-come-spiritual talk shows, where the two ladies, assisted by Vanilla, non other but a barbie doll with a mobile phone strapped on her back, interact with members of the audience through our mobile phones. I still have their number in my contacts; just in case I need Vanilla’s help to achieve Destiny’s Realness – top of my New Year’s resolutions list!

Hilarious and thought provoking, it put a big smile on everyone’s face. Thoroughly enjoyed it and Heather Lang was a revelation!

50-50-202x300Nothing hilarious about Mette Ingvartsen’s work in 50/50. Although she’s been around for some time now, I only knew of her work, never had the chance to see her perform. 50/50 was my first and what an introduction that was! A purely physical expression to the extreme, dressed only in a bright orange wig and her skin, Mette Ingvartsen had us all transfixed. But I’ll let her YES Manifesto, part of the description, explain further:

Yes to redefining virtuosity
Yes to conceptualizing experience, affects, sensation
Yes to materiality/body practice
Yes to investment of performer and spectator
Yes to expression
Yes to excess
Yes to “invention” (however impossible)
Yes to un-naming, decoding and recoding expression
Yes to non-recognition, non-resemblance
Yes to non-sense/illogic
Yes to organizing principles rather than fixed logic systems
Yes to moving the “clear concept” behind the actual performance of
Yes to methodology and procedures
Yes to animation
Yes to style as a result of procedure and specificity of a proposal.
Yes to complexity

All the while, Kris Verdonck / A Two Dogs Company had three video installations in different rooms in Kaaistudios: Mouse, Gossip & Presyncope. All from the ten-part project called K, a society. K stands for Kafka and is inspired by different characters from Kafka’s works.

GOSSIP - A Two Dog Company

GOSSIP – A Two Dog Company

In Mouse we see a mouse walk into a trap in very slow motion and very loud sound. In Presyncope a camera slowly slides down the facade of a glass building towards a pond, while someone calmly describes her thoughts [we were lucky to catch the English version but could not find it anywhere on the web; only the German voice-over is uploaded]. Gossip is a projection many metres long, in which a line of people are huddled together; they whisper, giggle, gossip and laugh; they are different, but all behave the same. They try to get rid of an annoying one who keeps comes back.

All three are accompanied by a passage from a Kafka, except Presyncope. See A Two Dogs Company website for passages.

There was a fourth one: Shell. It opened the party concluding Residents’ Week, but we didn’t make it… a noisy, smoky, fire-y, firework! Pity we didn’t make it to Ivo Dimchev’s performances either… but as artists-in-residence, I’m sure Kaai will stage many more of their productions soon.

Either way, four young, talented, creative people to watch out for!

(photos from Kaaitheater website, Gossip snapshot)


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