CESTA's Arts Festivals of International, Interdisciplinary Collaborations
CESTA's 10th Arts Festival of International, Interdisciplinary Collaborations
The desire to define existence has produced the most contentious struggles since the dawn of humanity. Civilization is the result of myriad definitions evidenced by science, philosophy and religion. During the epoch of postmodernism, the rift between the spiritual and the material began to grow at an exponential rate; yet, both sides of this split still claim to encompass the other. This contradiction translates into dichotomous interpretations of reality, morality, purpose, expression and power.
For Spirit Matters, CESTA invited artists from all disciplines to approach and interpret the diverse roles spirituality plays in the inspiration to make, and the creation and critique of, artistic work. We asked artists to collaborate in developing works which critically address the tension and harmony between knowledge and belief, understanding and mystery, the devoted and the devout.
Manufactured, manipulated, mutated, borrowed, stolen, masked, censored, altered.
Empowering, enlightening, protecting, owned, revealing, conclusive, safe.
Remembered or Forgotten?
Are those who forget the past condemned to repeat it?
Do we 'endure the burden of the past'1 with 'the charitable deceptions of nostalgia'2 ?
We access memory and replicate it in different ways. The ways that we choose to represent what we remember or forget, consciously or subconsciously, have broad collective as well as personal ramifications. Through monuments and architecture, rituals and religion, oral traditions and legends, even diaries and psychoanalysis, we witness remembering and forgetting defined.
1, 2 Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Love in the Time of Cholera p.106
we invited applicants to address memory, ours and Ours,
to investigate how we represent and interpret it.
Art and violence both seem to stem from the abstract: that place beyond logic, the realm of the emotion. When they intersect we are simultaneously repelled and attracted, frightened and excited. Historically this meeting has been wrought with complexity, and as cultural violence in every society increases, we are prevented by paranoia, censorship and ethical demands from asking, and sometimes even posing, some of the most important questions violence and art together and separately produce: how is violence represented, and what or how much of it do we need to resist the cultivation of fear and the encouragement of dependency? Is violence a tool, a process or a result? When are artistic portrayals of violence justifiable? As intellectual exercise, ritual, or spiritual enhancement? For other purposes? Or are they never justifiable? Is violence in art an action, reaction, or reflection?
For we are informed by, but not limited to, defining art as social discourse and violence as the display of power and the expression of dominance. CESTA invites artists from all disciplines to explore through collaboration violent portrayals, acts or themes towards critical analyses of their origins, impact and meaning
Overall, 23 artists from nine countries participated in
this year's festival. The audience comprised a wide variety
of local Tábor and other Czech citizens of all ages, as
well as non-Czech Europeans and guests from as far as
the United States and Egypt.
Ago and Far Ahead: Fusions of Tradition and Unconvention
From our pre-festival statement:
The word gender alone carries a myriad of complex definitions and is approachable from a wide variety of perspectives. Facing Gender will examine traditional gender roles and the re/definition of gender roles in regard to socialization and sexuality. Facing Gender seeks to expand the ways we define, confront and defend gender. How does this relate to the individual and community? How do we perceive this theme through the artistic eye? How can the results of this event assist further research in the area of gender studies? Although one event cannot answer these questions, we want to keep the subject matter visible and accessible.
In addition to providing a space and time for artists to experiment, we also concentrate on the impact our events have on the local community. We chose to locate CESTA in the Czech Republic because of the changing social fabric in Central and Eastern Europe. Our activities always include following and contributing to improving East-West relations. For this festival, CESTA will work with organizations here and abroad interested in or familiar with the theme of gender issues to help collect and disseminate relevant literature prior to and during the event.
Off-site preparation was the method of a few for collaboration, but more met each other for the first time at CESTA and worked on their presentations during their stay at the project. Having the artists live and work together for some time before the Festival itself created a casual atmosphere and allowed spontaneity in both the selected collaborations and side projects which emerged through common ideas shared during that time. We also included an open public forum on the first and last days of the festival to allow the audience and artists time for interchange.
One main focus of our parameters is to expose and expand the process of developing collaborations, communicating through different media, and doing so with people from different cultures. Participants in Orient to Occident produced not only unique presentations, but also formed special relationships which will enhance both their personal and artistic pursuits.
A catalogue of photographs, artist biographies and statements, and a full description of Orient to Occident is available from CESTA on request.
The need for countering divisive national tendencies and respecting cultural heritage and autonomy is imperative. Cross-cultural productions offer the opportunity to observe current and historical changes in society. Interdisciplinary processes demand communication that can provide new understandings and help avoid the barriers of traditional interpretation.
The primary goal of Orient to Occident is to study and document these processes and then present them as alternatives to standard forms of exchange. Orient to Occident will also help CESTA further its goals of developing alternatives to social hierarchies and supporting resolution through creative expression.
CESTA will accept proposals and applications from artists working in one or more of seven categories: dance, two-dimensional visual art, three-dimensional visual art, film/video, music, spoken word/language arts, and theater/performance. Each presentation will include at least one represenative from both the East and the West. The public forums will be held as panel discussions with translation available as needed.
To record the results, a catalogue of artists' statements, excerpts from the public forums and photographs of the event will be published following the festival. In addition, a video documentary will be made of the performances.
All performances, exhibitions and public forums will be
held at CESTA and also accommodation for the participating
Using the method of a "scientific investigation" of the phenomenon of lying, the participants experimented with media collaboration. The results included video-installation, spoken word-visual art, music-installation, theater-music-visual art, and installation-spoken word.
The participants held a daily discussion group to monitor the process of collaboration and a public tour was held after the exhibition opening to analyze/criticize the results.
The results of the "investigation" were made into a video, in which artist and viewer alike offer their perspectives on lying as a social phenomenon.
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