CircusDanceFestival launches an onlinemagazine! VOICES – the magazine

After we made the decision to postpone this very first edition of the festival due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the inevitable question arose: “And now?”
Voices is our answer.

CircusDanceFestival invites and presents international artists from the wide, crossover fields of contemporary circus and dance. Two art forms that inspire and influence each other, sharing an intensive physicality as a means of expression.

Both art forms have their inherent historical path, they offer different perspectives on the moving body with its norms, gender roles and societal hierarchies. Circus and dance need to be defined individually, as this constitutes their existence and recognition as an art form. But artists, having passed through a hybrid educational background, or drawing inspiration from both fields, often share the wish of underpassing categorization and to keep a fluid and interdisciplinary identity. This is what CircusDanceFestival focuses on: In-between contemporary circus and dance! The shaping of that fluid field is up to to the artists, their performances and their voices.

The Voices online magazine opens a sort of megaphone for the festival artists, beyond performing in circus chapiteaus and on stages. It makes visible what they think we should talk about right now, and what moves and troubles them. Above all, it opens space for the topics that their pieces deal with – usually “live”.

It was the desire for encounters that led us to have online-meetings with the artists.
These conversational interviews put into writing can now be found as interviews in this issue, slightly shortened. In this exceptional situation and out of their respective private rooms, very personal encounters have arisen that would not otherwise have taken place.

In addition to the interviews, we also invited the artists to experiment with the currently possible forms of artistic creation. This resulted in several “Carte blanche” commissioned works. In this case, the “Carte blanche” is the invitation to develop a video work for the magazine within three weeks, freely in terms of content, length and form. I am delighted that this challenge was accepted so enthusiastically, and I am looking forward to the new works.

Special thanks goes to Katharina Klapdor, who conducted the interviews with me and formed the editorial team, as well as to the closer magazine team Mechtild Tellmann and Heike Diehm. Thanks also to the whole festival team Jenny Patschovsky, Garlef Keßler, Yolande Sommer, Sophia Oltmanns, Tobias Bergmann, Michael Straßburger, Martin Forsbach. Many thanks also to our partner TPZAK Köln under direction of Éva Adorjan and all funders and cooperation partners for this TANZPAKT Stadt-Land-Bund project.

Enjoy browsing and diving into the magazine. We’ll see each other again soon at the next festival in Cologne in may 2021!

Tim Behren
Artistic director Overhead Project an CircusDanceFestival

Cologne, 25th may 2020


Art creates a space for changing the world

As participants in the cultural sector in Germany we do not consider ourselves to be above or in any way distanced from current developments in this country, in fact we have our feet firmly on the ground, the very ground on which the most terrible crimes in human history were committed in the name of the state. Once before in this country, art was defamed as degenerate and culture was abused for propaganda purposes across the board. Millions of people were murdered or forced into exile, among them many creative people involved in the arts.

Today we perceive art and cultural institutions and facilities as open spaces which belong to “the Many” (Die Vielen). Our society is a pluralist collection of people. Many different interests come together and find themselves in the in-between. Democracy must be re-negotiated every day – but always on one condition: this is about everyone, about every single person as a being of many possibilities!

Right-wing populism, which attacks cultural facilities and institutions as protagonists in this vision of society, is very hostile to the art of the many. Far right-wing groups and parties repeatedly disrupt events, attempt to intervene in the selection of repertoires, polemicize against the freedom of the arts and aim to achieve the re-nationalisation of culture.

Their contemptuous treatment of refugees and exiles, of the dedicated people in the cultural sector, and of all those who think differently clearly reveals how they intend to treat society if the balance of power should ever lean in their favour.

We, the signatories of this declaration, as stakeholders in the arts and cultural facilities, institutions and establishments in NRW, as members of related interest groups, or as members of the independent arts and cultural scenes, are all taking a clear stance to actively resist such efforts by the right-wing etc. as expressed in the following:

  • The signatories to this declaration from the arts and cultural institutions proactively organise and foster open-minded, informative and critical discourse about right-wing strategies. They formulate and devise this dialogue together with performers, participants and the public, with the clear conviction that the participating institutions, facilities and establishments have a mandate to uphold and continue developing our democratic society.
  • None of the signatories provide a platform for ethno-nationalistic propaganda.
  • We reject the illegitimate attempts of right-wing nationalists to instrumentalise cultural events for their own purposes.
  • We are united in expressing our solidarity with people who are being forced further and further to the edges of our society by extreme right-wing politics.

If you wish to sign this declaration or have any questions, please go to: www.dievielen.de