Winter Is Coming

In the image of the second act of Santarcangelo Festival 2050 a wolf is looking back, a wolf staring from above to the landscape behind it. It is probably taking a break before it keeps going. Where to? We do not know, but what is certain is that it is in the middle of a path, an exploration. This is the dimension we’re operating in for this Festival: after the July edition, we keep uniting a community of artists always in the flow of movement, of exploration, of adventure, of risk, of uncertainty, of the undefined, of the harshness of territories… There is nothing romantic in conjuring these situations in connection with the new groups we have invited, it just aims to incite movement, be it alone or as a group. Going beyond generational labels, more than a Festival for emerging artists, it will be a Festival of emergencies, conceived as new appearances. Winter Is Coming also originates from the political need to give support and space to some of the artists that should have been involved in the Festival last July. Unfortunately, some of their works were stopped by the current health emergency or needed more time to evolve, or again couldn’t be adapted to the open space for the summer edition. In a time of new beginnings, we support precarious voices with our delicate attempt, creating a flexible fabric to welcome divergent artistic experiences, which were born outside the fence, like “weeds”, and which still haven’t found their space within the institutional system.

The title of the second act of Santarcangelo 2050 was actually taken from a famous Game of Thrones meme: after all, we too ventured into a challenge with a space-time tormented (not only) by the pandemic, in an environment of widespread despair, now more than when we imagined it, until the point that we feel like saying “we don’t know if this will really happen“. The artistic proposals will be hosted in various locations such as the renewed Teatro Il Lavatoio in Santarcangelo, Teatro Petrella in Longiano, Villa Torlonia in San Mauro Pascoli and Teatro degli Atti in Rimini. From the forced outdoors of the last, fantastic summer edition to the protected indoors, quiet and severely distanced, we will interrogate ourselves on the “fantastic future” that awaits the upcoming generations of performers.

The shows and site-specific, multidisciplinary performances that will inhabit the spaces of the Festival (a lot of which were developed during several artistic residencies that took place during the autumn in Santarcangelo) will be: the national premiere of Emilia Verginelli‘s Io non sono nessuno, a theatrical project/documentary about the bonds that originate within a foster home – the performance will portray the relationship with Muradif Hrustic, one of the guests of the organization Emilia has been volunteering at for years; GLI ALTRI لخرین, by Corps Citoyen directed by Anna Serlenga, an evolving performance combining interviews, videos, songs, narration, and bio-fiction, to interrogate ourselves on our colonial heritage; the relationship with otherness returns in the project Virtual Studies for a Dark Swan, by Ethiopian artist Selamawit Biruk, a choreography broadcast through a digital residency by Nora Chipaumire for the Festival B.Motion / Operaestate and revisited within the project Boarding Plus Dance; Paola Stella Minni & Konstantinos Rizos‘s PA.KO doble, a performance that moves between dance and live concert by the France-based, Italo-Greek duo with a surreal and eccentric poetic; in Folk Tales, the first choreography by Gloria Dorliguzzo, the stage becomes a chessboard/battlefield for two dancers fighting the passing of time; Imagine an Heroic Landscape by Nova Melancholia, an international collective based in Greece, transforms Marxist revolutionary Rosa Luxemburg’s Letters from Prison in a scenic composition with a strong visual impact; Romantic Disaster by Madalena Reversa creates a short circuit between romance and climate change in the form of a live set/concert. Lastly, we will host at the Festival the incisive duo ANKKH with HY.P.E.R., a special DJ set. These young visual and performative artists embody “a new movement of mutant, awakened and androgynous beings”.

A section of Winter is Coming will be dedicated to A school with a view, an international programme conceived by Motus’s artistic direction in 2019/2020 in collaboration with some important European educational institutions such as KASK in Ghent, DAS Theatre in Amsterdam, La Manufacture in Lausanne, DAMU in Prague and IUAV – Teatro e arti performative in Venice. The project reflects on the role of performative arts schools as spaces of critical imagination and radical change. It has been postponed until July 2021, but some parts of it will be presented in the winter edition in December 2020. Coming from IUAV in Venice we will host Extragarbo, a collective that will stage two performances: Leonardo Schifino‘s Rovinati, an investigative research on a series of strange occurrences whose unpredictability degenerates in a hallucinatory club; and Call Monica, produced by the group of the same name, a reflection on the gaze as a construction and a carrier of power, starting from the feminine body on stage. Pankaj Tiwari, an Indian performer from DAS Theatre in Amsterdam, after his recent Art of Walking, will curate a “special and welcoming space” in Santarcangelo. Simon Baetens, artist and curator who graduated from KASK in Gent, will present for the first time in Italy Liquid Dreams, a performance concerning our obsessive relationship with the digital world, where the video takes over the actor.

We will invite these artists to expose, as in a sort of “anatomical theatre” their productive, technical, and collaborative processes which gave way to the birth of the varied array of performances we will witness. We need to look back to understand – and learn to say NO – when necessary, and imagine how to rebuild cultural institutions together (such as festivals, centres for artistic residencies, national theaters?), spaces of freedom, and unbridled imagination…

In this perspective, the Festival will host two important public talks that can be remotely accessed online. The first of these talks, After the end of the world: a theatre for groups, and solitary predators, curated by Motus, will take place on Saturday, December 5th and it will give a voice to artists and guests (and more) that in these tough times are taking on autonomous paths going against the grain of the system. The title creates a short circuit between past, present, and future, recalling the claim of the 1992 Santarcangelo Festival edition, directed by Antonio Attisani. During this edition, Motus presented, within a space for young artists, their first theatrical creation, Stati d’assedio, inspired by Camus’ work The Plague. The second talk, curated by Chiara Organtini, is titled Changing skins: cultural identities, bodies, and mutant dramaturgies, and it will take place on Sunday, December 6th. This will be a chance for a new meeting between companies characterised by a “cultural hybridisation” between groups made up of members coming from heterogeneous cultures. These artists put the encounter with otherness at the core of their narration and made mixing and blending the merging element of their aesthetic. These artistic routes offer a picture of our socio-political present, challenging the simplifying rhetoric of nationalism.

The talk will be attended remotely by Piersandra Di Matteo, artistic director of the Festival organised in Bologna by Emilia Romagna Teatro Fondazione, Atlas of Transitions Biennale, whose latest edition called “We the people” will take place from December 2nd to December 7th. The emergency circumstances under which we are currently operating brought us to overlap the dates of the two festivals in the region: we then turned this unexpected simultaneity into an opportunity to create an ideal “partnership” among the projects. Winter is Coming and Atlas of Transitions Biennale will share part of the communications and joint reflections on the theme of inclusivity. This will create a virtual alliance of ideas and practices that will help to join forces in an increasingly competitive political climate that pushes towards the fractioning of cultural proposals rather than promoting dialogue between them.

The cold and the relentless spreading of the pandemic will inevitably lead us to further shut ourselves in our homes (for those who have one…). Then, just as in the TV series, we will fear that everything will crystallyse and the Undead will resurface but, alone or in packs, we will keep connecting with new/other/foreign cultural and artistic worlds to overcome “The Wall” and widen, as always, our mental boundaries.

Daniela Nicolò and Enrico Casagrande / Motus