Intro

NATURE OF FEAR

Come play with us, Danny.
– Grady Twins
(from The Shining, by Stanley Kubrick)

Think of something you’re really afraid of.

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Notice what happens.
Your pulse becomes a little faster and you’re overcome by a slightly unpleasant sensation. A tiny echo of fear.
This is not what you wanted to feel, reading an intro to an arts Festival.
You push the feeling back, into that place in your mind where most of the unpleasant things are buried. This little act you just did, is the most common practice that is being repeated over and over again, every day, all over the world.
Fear – or the constant avoidance of fear – is the main condition of contemporaneity.

***

Fear has become more than just an emotion, but a driving force that rules over economics, politics, human relationships.
The markets fall and surge because of fear, and the elections are won and lost.
Fear is a bodily experience. Not only it resonates within the body, as shivers, tremors, rushed pulse, heart in mouth, difficulty to breathe – but it also endangers bodies, creates distances among bodies, limits bodies’ movements in public space. So, after the last year’s focus on the body as the political tool, this edition looks into the politics of emotions. Because while we are being told that fear is only natural, who you are afraid of – and why – is political.
Nyctohylophobia – the fear of forests at night – is a phobia learned from the fairy tales about monsters and murderers lurking in the darkness. Fear is made stronger by repetition of stereotypes: in the same way as children are shown scary pictures of dark forests, adults are being manipulated by terrifying narratives from the news cycles.

***

Affect, emotions and being close to nature have been traditionally seen outside of the rational vision of modernity, inferior to the scientific mind. We claim that emotional intelligence is one of the most urgent skills to learn, that it is crucial to recognize the role feelings play in the shaping of the world today.
This edition is an emotional landscape: a dark, lush forest at night. We invite you to re-discover the landscape, to reclaim the connection between mystery, nature and emotions. It offers a path through emotions and nature, taking you to the secret green meadows, along the wild rivers, on the seashore at sunrise. It is co-performed with nature, and here sunset plays as much of a role as performers on stage.
Can a Festival be a reminder of that feeling when you enter the forest at night as a child – the both exciting and terrifying feeling of freedom?

Warmly,

Eva Neklyaeva and Lisa Gilardino
and the Festival team