BRAVE NEW WORLDS
Scenography / 2010
Scenography for the project "Brave New Worlds" during the theater-festival THEATER DER WELT (Mülheim-Essen)

Nowhere in the world is China’s rapid rise to power more evident than in Africa. From multi-billion dollar investments in oil and minerals to the influx of thousands of merchants, labourers and cheap consumer goods, China’s economic and political reach is redefining Africa’s traditional ties with the international community. Meanwhile, thousands of Africans travel to China to study, do business or to search for a better future.
The Brave New Worlds research project probes the migration process of the goods and people connected to this Chinese-African mobility through an in-situ encounter between individuals that – even though increasingly connected in political propaganda and on economic fact sheets - in real life hardly seem to meet.
During a fieldtrip to Kinshasa and Guangzhou in March 2010, 5 Chinese and 5 Congolese artists, architects and writers visit each other, looking for traces of their own culture while exploring unknown territories.
On the 9th of July at Theater der Welt in Mulheim, they meet again for the first time. On a grid of tables – that function both as a working station and as a presentation platform - they lay out the objects and stories they brought back from their travels, taking the form of artistic proposals. These serve as the basis for further discussion, among themselves, with invited guests and the visiting audience.
Given the fact that Brave New Worlds is made possible thanks to Western organizations, and is now shown for a Western audience, the project also addresses the role of the West, both in (the perception of) Sino-African relations, as in the representation of non-western imagery and artistic production.
This presentation thus breaks into a process rather than concluding it. Traditional boundaries between artwork, artist and audience are reset as the space that unites them takes the form of an open studio in which artistic proposals are made, shown, re-appropriated and adapted.
(Els Silvrants-Barclay)


Brave New Worlds is a research project initiated and organized by The Institute for Provocation (Beijing) and KVS (Brussels), co-produced by Theater der Welt and Arthub Asia, supported by the Prince Claus Fund

A fieldtrip to Kinshasa, Congo took place from March 1 to March 15, followed by a fieldtrip to Guangzhou, China from March 16 to March 24 2010

Alain Polo (artist), Chen Shuyu (architect/curator), Chi Peng (artist), Freddy Tsimba (sculptor), Jiang Jun (urbanist/writer), Kiripi Katembo (filmmaker), Marie Louise Bibish Mumbu (journalist/novellist), Pak Chuen Sheung (artist), Vitshois Mwilambwe Bondo (artist) and Zhao Chuan (theatre director/novellist)

Documentation: Adrienne Altenhaus
Artistic coordination: Ula Sickle and Els Silvrants-Barclay with Paul Kerstens
Production coordination: An Van der Donckt / KVS with Theater der Welt
Scenography: Laurent Liefooghe
Logistical support: Paul de Braeckeleer / De Muur Ghentund

http://www.theaterderwelt.de/en/
http://brave-new-worlds.org 
http://www.iprovoke.org
http://www.kvs.be