Certain Futures

Updated: Mar 12, 2018

A proposed performance for Nuit Blanche Brussels, by Stephen Bain & Dianne Weller.

Certain Futures - Proposal

Certain Futures - presented by Dianne Weller & Stephen Bain

Performance Nuit Blanche 2018 – proposed creation for Institute Diderot

Contact

Dianne Weller +32 472 701 296 Dianneweller1@gmail.com

Stephen Bain +64 21 19 111 20 stephanobain@gmail.com


The concept

Certain Futures is an immersive performance that situates the public simultaneously as observer and participant in the presence of live voices, light and shadow within the Diderot Institute. A structured 25 min performance is led by the vocal score performed by 20 people from various age groups based thematically on the future of work. Who will have the right to work in the future, and how will we deal with the declining usefulness of human labour? Spatially inspired by the writing of philosopher Henri Lefebvre, with the public occupying the central corridor, while all aspects of performance are positioned at the peripheries, and thematically explored through the ‘rights to the city’ that Lefebvre famously insisted upon, and which are echoed here as the rights to work. But who’s rights? Who’s future?

Certain Futures responds to the historic role of the Diderot Institute, an educational facility that has adapted to the changing role of training the workforce throughout the decades.

The performance incorporates light (shadow and projected image) and vocal text (spoken live by a choir of 20 people on the upper mezzanine).



Concept Video - 2 mins


Context - relationship to theme

The global protests of 1968 mark a rupture between the paternal authority of post-WWII governments and a self-actualising youth culture that imagined a future free from the weight of the historical social structures. Fifty years on, the effects of these protests are profoundly integrated into the social fabric of liberal democratic society. The ‘rights to the city’ that Lefebvre insists upon as renewed rights through participation and appropriation is today in a constant state of negotiation between individual concerns, corporate interests, and state/civic involvement that in recent years is receding more and more into a role of facilitation. The ‘rights to the city’ are now written into social policy across the cities of the world, a cover-all label interpreted in a multitude of ways but somehow united in intention, both from the political left and the right. In this way the greatest beneficiary of the ’68 protests can perhaps be seen to be the individual.

Half a century later, the voice of the youth is neither united nor overtly political, rather it is multiplicitous and individualised, as much concerned with succeeding at winner-takes-all capitalism as it is critical of the weighty legacy of the exploitation of resources. The future is only certain for some (certain people), for others it is even harder to imagine than it was for the two generations succeeding them. There is good reason to believe that the working life will go through still more radical changes, with the exponential development of AI and a labour market that is obsessed with efficiency and competition. The future of work is as diversely speculative as the many social identities to which young people aspire.


Description of performance

The performance incorporates light (shadow and projected image) and vocal text (spoken live by a choir of 20 people on the upper mezzanine).

Light. The space is defined through the peripheries; the back wall, the windows to the outside (courtyard), the upper mezzanine, and the ornate ceiling. The wall of glass windows leading to the courtyard project a shadow from miniaturized cardboard sculptures in the courtyard, while multiple light sources at floor height (red, blue, green, alternately) cast a super-position of coloured light and shadow of the audience who stand at the centre. Video projection simultaneously plays on the wall, but only visible within the shadows, thereby activating the public to use their own shadows to reveal the images.

The Voices - Dimly lit from well above the public, the sound fills the space and reverberates around the public, engulfing the space at times, at other moments minimal whispers of sounds open the space up like to the void. Developed through a series of workshops, the text will be in French, Dutch and English. We hope to include students and staff of the Institute into this process.


Vocal Choir – the work process

Ideally we would like to ask the Diderot Institute to participate in the creation of a choir with the help of current and past staff and students. This community project will consists of a series of 5 workshops, firstly to help create the text (through using discussions and contributions), secondly to create the skeleton of vocal composition. The creators will then develop the material in order to represent it back to the participants for rehearsals. The workshops will be inclusive and fun, yet developing skill sets and community building, a combination of learning and sharing knowledge, with a performance outcome. The workshops may take place at Institute Diderot or at a community facility. We invisage a choir of 20 would be ideal, however this is adaptable. All members of this chorus will be paid a fee for the performance (see budget), however the rehearsals would be unpaid.


The Artists

Brussels-based vocal artist Dianne Weller and Auckland (NZ)-based theatre director & designer Stephen Bain first encountered each other’s work during studies on a.pass (Advanced Performance and Scenogrpahy Studies) in deSingel, Antwerp in 2010. The two artists have continued discussions and shared an interest in the others research, building a common language to create a work together based on somatic and spatial practices. Stephen’s current doctoral research on public space performance (through the University of Tasmania, AU) has brought him back to Brussels in order to more deeply understand the complex richness of socially and politically engaged work in Belgium. This project brings together their individual research and reaches for a shared artistic language, Certain Futures is a theatrical situation played out through relational dynamics where the vocalised text and spatial images combine.

Dianne Weller

Belgian based artist Dianne Weller is Australian-born working in fields of voice art, radio art, sound and performance. Her work centres around how we listen, how it effects our body and how voice and sound contribute to that process. In her recent work For Your Ears Only, she created a radiophonic theatre piece premiering at the Beursschouwburg in Brussels and toured in Flanders at Kunstencentrum BUDA and Monty Antwerp. The Passage… was presented at Kunstenwerkplaatz de Pianofabriek with a.pass (www.a.pass.be). She is currently working on a new installation performances entitled It could happen to you focusing on how the listening process effects the body using radio plays, foley voice over and sound installation. As a performer, Dianne has been working with Belgian/American Theatre maker Davis Freeman co-creating and performing in Assassins at Extremis Festival (Toulouse), Vooruit (Gent), Monty (Antwerp), Teatergarasejen & AvantGarden, Norway and Malta Festival (Poland). Worked with Fieldworks on their piece Borrowed Landscape which is touring Europe currently. In the Two Perfect Most Perfect Things by Adrian Fisher in the Hermitage Hotel Monaco and with the American Theatre Group Nature Theater of Oklahoma in Episode 2: Life and Times at the Kaai Theater (Brussels), de Singel (Antwerp) and Vooruit (Gent). Dianne is also performing with Contemporary Artist such as Marie Jose Burki, in a series of her films, recorded the voice for Ana Torfs’ piece Stain Manifesta Exhibition 2012, Egle Budvytyte for her performance Choreography for the Running Male in the Sydney Bienniale Arts Festival 2014 and Amy Balkins piece The Atmosphere: a Guide for the Artefact Festival 2016 in Leuven. Recently Dianne featured in two Radio Drama series in the UK, Isaac Asimov’s I, Robot for BBC Radio 4 and Dan Dare for B7Media Productions. Dianne is a Vocal Artistic mentor and collaborator working with the Belgian Contemporary Music Ensemble Ictus, Rosa Osmadottir, Maria Clara Villa Lobos, Aurelie Gravas and she coaches and teaches at the La Cambre School of Arts.

Stephen Bain

Stephen Bain is an Aotearoa:New Zealand theatre and performance maker. Trained in Architecture (Victoria University, NZ), Theatre (Toi Whakaari, NZ) and Scenography (a.pass, BE), he has directed and designed many original plays and performances, regularly recipient of arts council commissions (Creative New Zealand) since 1992, multiple theatre and fringe festival awards as well as artistic residencies. For the past 10 years he has been specifically engaged in public-space performances including audio interventions, theatrical shows and small scale interactive installations presented in Western European countries (Belgium, France, The Netherlands, UK with tour support from Fransbrood Productions) also Canada, Singapore, Australia, Finland, and extensively in New Zealand. In 2011 he was commissioned by Oerol Festival NL to create When Animals Dream of Sheep, subsequently presented at Chalon dans la Rue FR.

In 2012 Stephen was artistic director and curator for the New Performance Festival in collaboration with The EDGE in Auckland, New Zealand. In 2014 he co-curated the Festival of Uncertainty in collaboration with Feasting House, also in Auckland.

His design work includes many theatrical collaborations and teaching at performance schools universities. The design project Luminoceros appeared as part of the NZ exhibit at the Prague Quadrennial 2011. In 2014 he was artist in residence for at the Taipei Artists Village TW, he has also been artist in residence at Massey University NZ. Gallery performances (collaborations and solo) include shows in Taipei TW, Auckland NZ, Turku FI. In 2016 Stephen began Phd studies at the University of Tasmania AU to research public space performance and the strategic role of fiction to unsettle the political dynamics of space.

Stephen is director of Winning Productions

http://winningproductions.co.nz/

Solo and performance projects

http://stephenbain.co.nz/


Previous Winning Productions performances in a similar vein to Certain Futures

1 - The Floating Theatre

-2 - The Magnificent Western Park Open


3 - SOUNDIG



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