One Land Many Faces

Project: artistic and civic cooperation, involving Germany, Belgium, Spain, France, Hungary, the United Kingdom (with artistic contributions from South Korea and the United States) on the notion of European identity in construction

Period: 2013-2015

Partners:
The Transplanisphere (France)
House of Creation (Belgium)
Bildung und Integration (Germany)
Ortzai Teatro (Spain)
Sin Arts (Hungary)
Volcano Theater (United Kingdom)
French Institute (France)

Support:
Culture Program of the European Union
Region Ile de France
Hippocrocrene Foundation

 

with texts from  Jean Bofane (Belgium), Dan Friedman (USA), Kwang-lim Kim (South Korea),

Borbála Sebők (Hungary) and Andreas Wrosch (Germany)

 

Artistic Direction  Bruno Freyssinet (France)

Musical Direction  Michael Wolteche (Belgium)

Assistant  Arthur Navellou (France)

European performing artists :  Pak Yan Lau (Belgium), Donna Males (United Kingdom), Forbon N’Zakimuena (France), Iker Ortiz de Zarate (Spain), Natasa Stork (Hungary), Jessica Walther-Gabory (Germany)

Costumes: Antonin Boyot Gellibert

 

 

How to build a European identity when most of the nations of the Union are still wondering about their own identity?

 

At a time when the crisis is exacerbating tensions, what history do the peoples of Europe still want to write together? Do they dream of fusion, federation or independence? Do they perceive the distant echo of an old continent that was tearing apart 100 years ago? Finally, what is the rest of the world looking at today in this “small” European territory, once dominant, so rich and so diverse, in search of a new identity between multi and intercultural?

These issues often debated by politicians or academics will be captured by artists and citizens to be transposed on stage.

The show as a means of questioning the world, but also as a tool of exchange, of confrontation through dialogue, writing and creation. To the participants as to the project audience, the question will be asked of their feelings of belonging to a people, a nation and finally to Europe. What identity have they forged so far, and what story are they ready to tell, to dream?

Five authors opened the ball in this creative process. Three European authors associated with two authors from Le Monde (South Korea, United States), each from cultures deeply touched by the issue of the coexistence of peoples and by division, able to take a shifted look at this Europe that intrigues them both . Together, they have already conducted residencies in Berlin, Budapest, Swansea and Vitoria Gaseiz with two artists associated with the project. They exchanged, debated through writing workshops, workshops with students, meetings with experts to draw inspiration from a new writing.

With these five texts, an artistic team took over and created a show. Coming from Belgium, Spain, Great Britain, Germany, Hungary and France, these artists composed a Cabaret, prolonging the writing and bringing it on stage in stories and songs. The fragmented form of the texts gave rise to poetic or political expressions, pamphleteers or documentaries. The singular device enabled by the cabaretic form opened a new and stimulating dialogue with the public.

Through a shared experience, artists and citizens of Europe have tried to overcome their identity, geographical, historical or even psychological boundaries to interrogate their European identity together. With this project, the initiators also tried the experience of a renewed artistic citizenship in Europe.

 

One Land Many Faces, feedback on the experience

 

The aim of the project was to pose the question of European identity under construction in a context where many “national identities” are already controversial. At the time of project design, the stakes of the economic and social crisis were at the heart of the European debate. Meanwhile, the issues surrounding the massive influx of refugees have taken a unique place in our societies.

In a way, the project sought to understand which history the European people want to write together? How are they ready to live the multiculturalism of fact that transforms the Union? Issues related to the influx of refugees have greatly increased these issues.

The theater and the music were chosen as the vector of expression of the project. The show seen as an open public space to question the world. The disciplines of the show explored as so many ways to connect artists to each other, then to associate the public not only as a spectator but as an actor of the project: debate, writing, musical composition, staging, interpretation, sharing.

Associate artists and audiences represented many European origins, often mixed. Together they aimed to ask themselves the question of belonging to a people, a nation and Europe. They wondered about the identity that had already been forged, the story they could tell, the way it was today “crossed” or perhaps “misplaced” in the context of arrival of refugees. What belonging and what to become?

By putting its various points in perspective, we can think that the main objective of the project was accomplished by allowing the participants from the different countries to focus their attention on the issues of identity in a European perspective. The project has allowed them to confront a long-term perception (what is my personal identity, local, regional, national, European?) In a context of refugee crisis that recently shakes up these perceptions, but which promises to be sustainable. to the point of playing an important role in the definition of the identity in movement and thus of the European future.

Another objective of the One Land Many Faces project was to allow a wide transnational mobility of the people involved in the project. The goal has been achieved in various ways. The 6 co-organizers met in Brussels, Paris and Berlin at the end of the project to conduct the project management meetings. But it is especially artists who have benefited greatly from the European dimension of the project and the partnership involving 6 countries. The 5 authors were able to benefit from residencies of research and writing (2 weeks) in 4 of the 6 project countries (Germany, Hungary, United Kingdom, Spain), while the 9 members of the directing team and two long residencies (4 weeks each) in the two remaining countries (Belgium and France). All of the artists also toured the 6 countries (during 4 weeks) and were able to share their experiences widely with local audiences.
The circulation of the works and artistic products resulting from the project was also one of the objectives of One Land Many Faces. Written texts and musical works circulated in all partner countries. They were accessible to performing audiences, but they also served as a basis for workshops with adult amateur audiences, students and youth. This very concrete “use” of sound and textual works has allowed great public appropriation. Finally, the works have been accessible on the internet via the dedicated website and publications on youtube.
As part of the European Year of Citizens, the project questioned European identity and national and community identities. As we had imagined, the project provoked discussions on the definition of citizenship in its national (often well known) or European (rather unknown) dimensions. The debate on the status of refugees has raised questions about the degree of citizenship of everyone in the European system, and also raised the question of belonging: am I a citizen of my country and / or a European citizen. Refugees welcomed by Europe can become Europeans, or become citizens of the country that welcome them at the end of their journey.

 

Dan Friedman, Jean Bofane, Borbala Sebok, Kwang-Lim Kim in Berlin (Germany)


9 literary texts written by 5 different authors, from Europe and the world:

 

Jean Bofane (Belgium-Congo), Dan Friedman (USA), Kwang-lim Kim (South Korea), Borbála Sebők (Hungary) and Andreas Wrosch (Germany).

The authors wrote in French, English, German or Hungarian; the Korean author who chose English rather than his own language. After a week’s residency in Berlin at the beginning of the project, they defined with the artistic directors a framework in which to write and give coherence to the different works.

Elsolatogatas (First meeting) Borbála Sebők (Hungary)

A Hungarian mother from Budapest visits for the first time her daughter who settled in Berlin. Two generations are talking about Europe under construction: political, economic and, above all, sentimental issues. Should we stay in Hungary or leave, when so many generations have asked the question already? What future does Europe offer?

Bebi Europa (Baby Europe) from Borbála Sebők (Hungary)

A baby without parents is found in a boat of migrants arriving on the Spanish coast. Its history is on the front page of European newspapers, fueling public debate, and becoming a school case for the administration of Brussels. The mother and daughter of the previous sequence discuss their desire to adopt the child

A shit story of camp Yellowstars (a story of m … at the camp of the Yellow Star), by Kwang Lim Kim (South Korea)

Young recruits arrive at Camp Yellowstars with the mission to stand guard on the sacred flag of the European Union. For reward, they will have the money and the glory (at the risk of losing some aspects of their composite identity). Everything is going well in the camp until one of the recruits indulges in an act that we do not understand if it is a weakness or a provocation, but that will shake the certainties of the camp.

 

Eurea, is not the revolution rumbling? by Jean Bofane (Belgium / Congo)

In a far-off country, Queen Eurea gives birth to a child she does not want to recognize. In a troubled context of decadence and end of reign, the kingdom is overwhelmed by a massive influx of migrants who manifest even under the Palace’s borders. The administration seeks a solution while everyone questions: who is the father of the child?

The secret by Dan Friedman (USA)

A Master of Ceremony (MC) addresses the public to deliver his secret: Europe is in the world. He is contradicted by the sudden appearance of the world itself, gently explaining that it is now the world that is in Europe, and that things will change. A surrealist dialogue begins between these two figures, describing the destiny of Europe.

Europe’s Ghosts by Dan Friedman (USA)

The Master of Ceremony receives in dream the visit of the ghosts of the past and the future of Europe. Everyone shakes on these certainties as well on the history of the continent as on the prospects for the future.

European Soap Opera by Andreas Wrosh (Germany)

A great European family: the son, the mother, the grandfather, the housekeeper, the father-in-law, the aunt of England, the old lover, the urn of the great-grandmother. The great-grandmother founded a family business years ago. A sausage empire. The play revolves around an important vote that must decide the future fate of the company.

 

Walter from Andreas Wrosh (Germany)

A grandfather hobo harangues the public in front of the room and will enter the theater at the beginning of the performance to claim to have his share of the cake of European wealth.

These texts were compiled in a publication available online on Amazon publishing.

 

 

Creations for the stage

 

The texts written by the 5 authors have been adapted for the stage, put into play and in music by the team of multidisciplinary interpreters composed of:

Directed by Bruno Freyssinet (France). Musical direction: Michael Wolteche (Belgium), artistic collaboration: Arthur Navellou (France), Pak Yan Lau, musician (Belgium), Donna Males, actress (United Kingdom), Forbon N’Zakimuena, performer (France), Iker Ortiz de Zarate , actor (Spain), Natasa Stork, actress (Hungary), Jessica Walther-Gabory, actress (Germany).

For the creation in Paris, Carreau du Temple, a first version of the show associated all the texts for a representation of about 1:30. On tour, the team chose to present the works alternately in the form of a program designed on a case-by-case basis according to the place of performance, the language spoken by the public and associated workshops.

 

Workshops.


For this project, special attention was paid to the offer of ambitious workshops for adult amateur audiences, students and young people. Depending on the country, the context of the news or the invited audience, the workshops took different forms. Music and sound work was often favored for choral experiences and then used in performances. Because the workshops were organized so that the participating public could then attend and contribute to the representation that welcomed a wider audience.

For One Land Many Faces, the workshop dimension has had unprecedented scope for partner organizations, some of them unaccustomed to offering audiences “amateur” activities related to professional shows.

For France, for example, the project provoked a local experience involving 5 partners in the Paris region (Collectif Canal) who conducted a series of 8 joint workshops allowing very different audiences to meet and question together the concept of identity. In September 2015, a “delegation” resulting from this experience even came to Brussels during the tour of OLMF’s European troupe to live a workshop with performing artists and members of the community of the local partner Maison de la Création. A unique opportunity to “feel” Europe and to “practice” it creatively.

Debates


The after-performances and some workshops allowed for moments of debate with the public who focused most of the time on the refugee crisis. It was significant to note how different the regions of Europe visited were, particularly because of their geographical position. In September 2015, the debates in Budapest and Berlin were obviously more related to the crossing of refugees in Europe than those in Vitoria Gasteiz or Swansea. In Brussels, our host even organized a workshop especially in the camp of the Maximilian Park, in the center of the city, with the participation of Iraqi and Afghan refugees and mediators of a responsible NGO.

 

Website and web documentary

 

The various stages of the project have been documented and have been the subject of various video retracing the stages of the project on the site onelandmanyfaces.eu.

Interviews with the authors associated with the project have shown different points of view on Europe lived from the inside, straddling the inside, the outside, or straddling both points of view. Other videos have shown the variety of experiences in workshops with very different audiences (adults involved in civic life in Vitoria Gasteiz, students in Budapest, high school students in Swansea, refugees in Brussels, etc.).

 

 

Impact

 

a – One Land Many Faces has helped to raise the awareness of many Europeans about the role of artistic creation and more particularly live performance in the political debate. He proposed an open and stimulating meeting between art and society, creation and citizenship. The project actors (artists, organizers, participating public) were able to experience together a form of alternative to activism as proposed by civil society for “peaceful activism” through artistic creation.

b – The project proposed a concrete perspective to embody the European identity in construction confronted with the identities of Europe and the World, in particular by allowing the meeting of artists themselves mixed race people expressing the variety of the peoples of Europe connected to the world . In addition, it has also fostered a dialogue between citizens from very different backgrounds, generations and backgrounds.

c – The project demonstrated by example the possible role of the European Union in the construction of a common identity, by favoring the implementation of this type of transversal experiences that could not be realized without its support .

 

 

The project path

 

Kick off meeting of European partners / Belgium / Brussels

Maison de la Création, Jacques-Yves Le Docte

October 14-17, 2013

 

The various partners gathered at the House of Creation, located in the district of Laken in the North of Brussels. They shared on the various aspects of the project, in its artistic dimensions of course, but also in its dimensions of production and communication.

This meeting was delayed by a few days compared to the initial planning to allow the Transplanisphere team to participate in the Kick Off Day of the EACEA agency and share the achievements of this meeting.

Author residencies / Berlin / Germany


Bildung Und Integration e.V, Holger Gumz

9-15 December 2013

 

The 5 associated authors met in Berlin with the director and the musical director of the project to discuss the stakes of the project and lay the foundations of the writing work to be done. They also visited different symbolic places of German identity and European identity, and met personalities likely to feed their reflections.

This activity was delayed by a few days compared to the initial schedule due to scheduling constraints of the invited authors.

 

Authors’ Tour in Europe

 

SIN Arts & Culture Nonprofit – Nagy Zoltan / Budapest / Hungary
Volcano Theater – Hannah William / Swansea / UK, Wales
Ortzai – Iker Ortiz from Zarate / Vitoria Gasteiz / Spain, Basque Country

3 parallel sessions 16-22 December 2013

The authors are spread over 3 of the project’s partner cities and work on site to develop the writing of their future play. They meet local groups (artists, young people…). They animate workshops.

Hungary. Sin Arts / Jean Bofane and Dan Friedman

 

Swansea, Volcano Theatre / Andreas Wroesh

 

Vitoria Gasteiz, Ortzai Theatre / Kwang Lim Kim et Borbala Sebok.

 

 

Writing period

 

The 5 authors work autonomously and each prepare their texts. They will produce different texts, send them in intermediate reading to the artistic team, then deliver a final version.

Some authors follow the line imagined at the end of the Berlin meeting, namely that everyone will have to write two scenes relatively of a duration of 10 ‘approximately. Others choose to write a single longer piece that can be fragmented.

Without having consulted each other, the authors all choose to deal with the issue of migration and refugees, which they consider to be a key aspect of the construction of Europe’s identity.

 

First Rehearsals

 

15 Sept / 6 Oct. 2014. During 3 weeks, the artistic team for the stage is gathered for the first time, with 6 performers each representing one of the partner countries. The period is also an opportunity to offer public workshops. It concludes with a presentation of work in progress at the Maison de la Création. The images of this presentation are broadcast as a trailer for the future creation in Paris.

 

Lien Youtube : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ECkw-1dtk90

 

Meeting partners

It is reprogrammed in Paris during the creation in February 2015 at Carreau du Temple. It allows to set up dissemination activities of the project, and especially to share with the partners the choices of the artistic team to propose a tour privileging the public workshops. Partners can also agree on a realistic tour schedule scheduled 8 months later.


rehearsals


January 12 to 29, 2015. In Paris, the recently opened Carreau du Temple gives the team its rehearsal studios to create the first version of the One Land Many Faces show. Some rehearsals are open to the public. The social context is particularly heavy given the attacks of Charlie Hebdo that have just taken place, knowing that the epicenter of the events (Place de la République) is 300 meters from the Theater.

 

Premiere in Paris

from January 30 to February 4, 2015. This version proposes 1h30 of musical show in a scenic device quadri frontal. The authors are invited to Paris to discover how their pieces have been adapted and combined. They also meet the public. For each performance, a public group is invited to participate in a pre-workshop in the hours preceding the show, also involving European performers. These participants / actors are then involved in several moments of the show to interact with the artists on stage, in front of the other spectators.

 

Tour

September 7 – October 3, 2015

The principle is to start the tour with a few days of “contact recovery” to set up the conditions of the tour. The team makes the choice to consider the different pieces of the authors as a repertoire that will be played differently depending on the host countries and the workshops conducted upstream with the public.

If Paris took place in the context of Charlie Hebdo attacks, the tour takes place in the midst of the refugee crisis, including the terrible humanitarian situation in the Mediterranean and Eastern Europe.

The team meets first in Vitoria Gasteiz (Spanish Basque Country), then goes to Berlin, Budapest, Brussels and finally Swansea. Each stage is an opportunity for specific experiences organized by local partners.

 

 

Meeting partners


It takes place during the Berlin stage of the tour. The partners can express their reaction to the project’s timeliness in a European context where identity issues are very strong.


Documentary film (filming / editing)

Rather than a long documentary film that is unlikely to be viewed in its entirety on the web, the partners decide to focus filming and editing of several films evoking different moments of the project.

Video links:

 

 

 

 

 

 The “products” of the project

 

Workshops and debates were held in each country at the pace of residencies and public performances. The partners invested themselves to allow the meeting of new audiences that they did not touch usually. In Paris, each workshop targeted a different type of audience. Young high school students, students, amateur adults, young emerging artists … In Berlin, among the various workshops, a specific experiment was conducted involving young Germans, French and Russian [Appendix Plate photo # 12]. In Hungary, a workshop invited Hungarian students returning from studies in Europe or the United States, living very concretely the question of the desire for intra-European immigration [Appendix Plate photo # 13]. In Brussels, an exceptional workshop was conducted thanks to the mediators of the Belgian partner who established the relationship with the mediators of the refugee camp of the Maximilian Park to allow the setting up of an original workshop with young Iraqis and Afghans [Appendix Plate photo # 14]. In Swansea, the partner convinced a high school in a city on the outskirts to associate three classes with an artistic option (music, dance and theater) to meet the entire artistic team on tour for a day full of workshop ending with a festive rendition [Appendix Plate photo # 15].

Texts written by 5 recognized authors, gathered in a publication accessible on the web. These works have immensely inspired the art team and workshop participants and have become the building blocks for the entire experience. The idea of ​​associating two extra-European authors and an Afro-European author also allowed a very rich perspective of our European identity in construction seen “from the outside”. [Text in annex]

A One Land Many Faces show on tour, and a series of participatory moments designed with local amateurs (see workshops above). The duration of the experiment allowed the team to conduct several phases of research on the form of the show. During the final tour, they adopted a modular structure that adapted to the country of representation and the public concerned, especially in terms of language spoken or understood by the public. [Appendix Plate photo # 11 to 15]

A series of documentary films filmed during the different stages of the project in different countries accessible on the web. For these films, the Volcano Theater has played an active role in offering original and personal videos, complementing the films already produced by the Transplanisphere.

A rich website of writings, images and videos collected throughout the project: onelandmanyfaces.eu

A complementary project came to be built as part of One Land Many Faces: the Canal Collective. It allowed an unprecedented cooperation between artistic companies from Paris and its suburbs, in connection with the Belgian partner of the project. This Collective continues to take action today and makes it possible to sustain the OLMF experience beyond the duration of the European proje

Intangible “products”

 


A new perspective on the European identity and identities of Europe and the World, with a focus on the issue related to the refugee crisis.
An open and stimulating meeting between art and society, creation and citizenship.
An unprecedented dialogue between citizens of different horizons and origins: authors, artists, young people and civil society
Strengthening Europe’s role in shaping everyone’s identity, as well as the Union’s role in triggering innovative cross-cutting projects. This experience has allowed the Transplanisphere to design a new European project “Here We Are!” Submitted to the call Europe Creative in January 2018.