Since 2005, Bâtard has been defending the interests of new performing artists. In addition to providing support, the organisation invites artists to the Bâtard festival every year. For this, the tenth edition, the artists were made responsible for the programme. Bâtard launched a call in May. Dozens of people responded to the question “What are your concerns?” Naturally, the reactions were all very different. Bâtard mapped them into various themes; into workshops, a collaboration with students from a.pass, P.A.R.T.S., and RITS, and a conference last week discussed and explored themes raised such as income, housing, and ecology.
But what does this festival, the motto of which is “Concerns in Motion” actually showcase? Performances on the cutting edge of artistic activism. Through actions and productions, starters including Anne Breure, Bryana Fritz, Chris Dupuis, Christoffer Schieche, Elly Van Eeghem, Henry Andersen, Maud Seuntjens, and Romain Hamard, confront political and ethical issues head-on. This mix of theatre directors, video artists, musicians, and historians reacts to Bâtard’s “map of concerns”.
Bâtard has a tradition of keeping the programme’s content secret until it is unveiled at the opening. But you can expect a big dose of enthusiasm from brand-new artists. They are chomping at the bit to present their budding work. But you should also expect trial and error because Bâtard deliberately goes for a shared journey, last minute programming, and risk-taking. The organisation aims to learn at least as much from the organisational process as to aim for a defined end result. And in seeking a balance between individual desires and a common purpose, in exploring a format for a new group dynamic, mistakes can be just as valuable as successful experiments.