booty Looting @ KVS, Brussels

booty Looting” is Wim Vandekeybus’ multilayered production for six performers, a musician and a photographer; it premiered in June 2012 in Venice Dance Biennale and, curiously, went on a world tour before coming home to Brussels over a year later, this past October.


A piece where body language, narration, music and photography work hand-in-hand to re-construct, then de-construct the story. All Ultima Vez works are multidisciplinary; but, in contrast with the more choreographic productions one tends to associate Vandekeybus with, this is NOT a dance piece; if I had to name a prevalent artistic discipline, I would say booty Looting is all about photography.

Photography as a means of creating, shaping and, finally, distorting memory; or, quoting Vandekeybus: “Memories are often created or distorted on the basis of photographs. Proust once accused the visual memory of actually erasing memories. Taste and touch are much more sensitive, but the visual is dominant. Which is why you can perfectly well remember things you have never experienced, simply because you have seen pictures of them.”

Stills from the performance are captured by Danny Willems real-time on stage. His stunning photography is projected on a large screen to show the difference between what the audience believe they see and what is actually taking place:


booty Looting (intentional emphasis on Looting), is a fragmented tale down the memory lane of a woman, an actor, a mother, a lover. A tragicomedy, an absurd, egocentric (and thus lonely) story drawing heavily on – pilfering – ideas past, lives lived, memories shaped. A comment on distorted memories and made-up truths. And a question: how original could art be at the age of déjà vu, when everything has already been said and done?

To make his point, Vandekeybus is clearly paying homage to looting ancient myths (Medea), films (Medea interpreted by Maria Callas in 1969, Romi Schneider in L’enfer by Henri-Georges Clouzot, unfinished in 1964), or artistic performances (Joseph Beuys’ ”I love America and America loves me”, 1974). But also trashy TV reality shows, the prevalent ”me” and ”selfie” culture, entertaining as opposed to factual news, dramas already been lived, stories already been told, moments already been stolen. In its creators’ words: looting the booty.


To illustrate that originality does not necessarily equal novelty but individual interpretation, Vandekeybus’ infanticidal Medea employs a photocopier as the murder weapon; so her unfortunate children are reduced to two-dimensional copies, spit out on the floor, their ”pieces” later pinned side-by-side on a wall to create a mono-dimensional monster. In booty Looting death came through the xerox machine.


more credits:

Forced Entertainment actor, Jerry Killick (our excellent host, presenter and narrator)
Schauspiel Köln theatre ensemble member, actress  Birgit Walter (our formidable, confused Medea)

Elena Fokina, Dymitry Szypura, Luke Jessop, Kip Johnson, Milan Herich, Hlín Hjalmarsdottir

Elko Blijweert (fearlessly the first to appear and the last to leave)

Next performed in Paris, in April 2014. For dates please check Ultima Vez website

If you are interested to read more about ”booty Looting” and ”What the Body Does Not Remember”, also on tour, please click on the link:

Brussels, 31 October 2013


11 thoughts on “booty Looting @ KVS, Brussels

  1. Woaw! That is something I would actually pay to see! 😉 It sounds so unique and at the same time experimental and changing that it becomes an experience. Thank you for bringing it to my attention!

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