The School of Contamination Jerusalem / Brussels / Ghent / New York
Dina Mimi, Roland Gunst, Salvatore Calcagno, Nikima Jagudajev
residency / performance
| Arabic, French, Dutch, English → FR, NL, EN | ⧖ 2h30 | €10 / €7
An artistic practice is not only the result of what has been planned; it feeds on the unpredictable encounters and what cannot yet be imagined. The Brussels art scene has often been described as a network of formal and informal exchanges, collaborations, and cross-pollination. If even the pandemic has forced artistic processes to be more isolated, in this edition the festival has decided to open a temporary and shared artistic residency. For ten days, four artists – three of which are based in Brussels – work in four spaces in the Kaaistudios. While each of them works on different research projects, they have moments of collective discussion. Visual artist Dina Mimi investigates the story of her great-grandfather, who was subjected to medical tests at an Israeli military hospital in 1969. Nikima Jagudajev deeply studies choreography as a form of life. Salvator Calcagno immerses himself in researching cinema as a form of encounter, starting with Visconti’s movie Bellissima. Roland Gunst reflects on the legacy of rubber and its ability to provide a surface layer on colonial monuments in Brussels. The School of Contamination opens the way to another sort of ‘contamination’, and to its importance within the art scene and to its future.
Dina Mimi, Grinding the Wind
Dina Mimi’s performance navigates the missing parts of the story of her great-grandfather, who underwent medical testing and heart surgery at the Israeli military hospital Tel Hashomer in 1969. This event provoked a journey into archives, oral histories, dreams, and books. As she explains, “Like a surgeon who has wet dreams of inserting a finger into a heart during surgery, my research around the performative aspects of open-heart surgery is also motivated by desire. The heart of my great-grandfather, sealed behind more than one hundred stitches from his chest to his waist, was reduced to ashes as his final gesture of self-immolation.” Facing the mystery of this now inaccessible “archive”, for this new project the artist probes for clues to understand his descent into silence and protest, and eventually so even in death.
Roland Gunst, Moving monuments
The principle that organic containers such as human bodies or other movable structures are seen as a "place of remembrance" within Luba culture clashes completely with the Western construction of history and memory. Here, the past and often anti-democratic ideologies and authoritarian leaders are glorified through monuments in uncritical and static ways. However, fluid forms hold the potential to break open static, oppressive architectures. Trauma can heal through monuments in motion, which allow for a constant (re)positioning of identities.
'Lieux de memoires' are spaces in which the status quo is not simply accepted, but negotiated.
- Roland Gunst, Recto Verso, March 25, 2021
Bellissima is a research laboratory based on Luchino Visconti's movie of the same name, released in 1951. A singular work, unknown to the general public, which tells the story of a mother ready to do anything so that her daughter becomes the next big screen star. Through a free adaptation of the script, Salvatore Calcagno offers a portrait of a working-class environment lulled by dreams and robbed of its illusions, a satire of the film industry, and an encounter with a city and its inhabitants.
Basically is an ongoing live project by choreographer Nikima Jagudajev. Developed in collaboration, it is contextualized as a re-schooling in which space is made for the nurturing and sharing of our perversions. Together we will work on nonlinear choreographies that fold in on themselves like portals through time and fugue-like contrapuntal melodies. Daily I Ching castings will locate us in a shifty universe and unscheduled time will leave room for contingency. As visitors enter the studio, they become involved in making and remaking this environment; a sociality of difference in which all elements collectively make up the space and deviate.
Dina Mimi is a visual artist born in 1994 in Jerusalem where she lives and works. Her practice is multifaceted and uses video, sound, performance, and text. Dina Mimi has been researching issues and subjects regarding the body and death in the public sphere, and notions of visibility and invisibility in the relationship of archaeology to the object, and the museum to death. She has also been researching protest as a performance. Recently, for her MFA thesis, she examined the role of the body-force in public space in Palestine. Mimi obtained her Bachelor’s degree from Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem in 2016, and her MFA degree in art in the public sphere from ECAV (École cantonale d’art du Valais) in Switzerland in 2018. During her studies, Dina Mimi participated in numerous exhibitions and events in cities around the world, including Jerusalem, Amman, Seoul, Boston, Lisbon, Paris and Ramallah.
Roland Gunst (*1977) is a conceptual artist of Belgian-Congolese origin. Through films, performances, installations, objects, photography and mixed media he researches the potential of fluid identities and Afro-European narratives, inspired by the concept of Afropeanism. Gunst creates disruptive hybrid concepts and forms to reflect on the boundaries that define identity, culture, human condition and history. He is inspired by African and European art history, anthropology, psychology, philosophy and mythology.
Salvatore Calcagno, Belgian director and artistic director of the company garçon garçon, conceives the stage as a meeting of different artistic languages: musical, plastic, cinematographic and choreographic. Present on the Belgian contemporary scene and more specifically in places of creation and contemporary writing at the international level, he combines writing, research and development of new artistic forms, cultural mediation and recently, pays particular attention to the adaptation of classical texts. Salvatore considers creation as an intimate gesture sublimated by an aesthetic power. On stage, he remains very close to his actors, doesn’t show, doesn’t impose but defines a state of work where precision touches the extreme. He instills an energy, an energy that he wants to give to perceive, to feel in his shows. His work is characterized by a great sensuality, sensoriality. He is now an associate artist at the Théâtre Les Tanneurs and an artist supported by the Théâtre de Liège for the 2018-2022 seasons.
Nikima Jagudajev (b. 1990) is a choreographer based in New York, USA and Brussels, Belgium. Her work, expanding formal dance into the construction of open-ended socialities, has been presented at the Whitney Museum, Human Resources Los Angeles, Crush Curatorial (New York) and Judson Church, in the context of Material Art Fair’s Immaterial (Mexico City) and 89+ at LUMA/Westbau (Zürich), Kurimanzutto gallery (Mexico City), Centre d’Art Contemorain Genève, Rockbund Art Museum (Shanghai), Villa Empain (Brussels), and as part of the Marrakech Biennale (Morocco). She was assistant editor of the anthology Post-Dance (MDT, 2017) and has published various essays including ‘Relations of Unpredictable Encounters’ in the Movement Research Performance Journal 51 (2017), ‘the landscape thinks itself in me’ in Asad Raza’s Root Sequence. Mother Tongue (Walther König, 2018) and ‘A Resting Place’ in This Container Edition 08 (2020).
Presentation: Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Kaaitheater
With: Dina Mimi, Maya Khaldi | Supported by: Mophradat in the frame of the Consortium Commissions 2020 (Alkantara Festival, Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Spielart Festival)
Research supported by: Moussem Nomadic Arts Centre, Kunstenfestivaldesarts | Dramaturgy: Esther Severi | Residency at Moussem Nomadic Arts Centre
Research supported by: garçongarçon asbl, Théâtre Les Tanneurs, Kaaitheater, Kunstenfestivaldesarts
Research supported by: Bergen Kunsthall, Shedhalle Zurich, Decoratelier, Kunstenfestivaldesarts | With the support of: Oktoberdans and BIT Teatergarasjen | Part of Re-Imagine Europe | Co-funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union | In colllaboration: Laurel Atwell, Jordan Balaber, Emmanuel Diela Nkita, Ezra Fieremans and Mimi