The events that shook Brussels on March 22nd, 2016 made it clear that the virtual images of faraway imagined places we are accustomed to seeing on our screens are becoming a painful reality in our cities.
A hyper-connected world
While the attacks have been opening the floodgates for all kinds of emotional speculation, they should more pertinently be taken as serious symptoms of the deep problems that run through our world’s societies. More specifically, they should alert us to the fact that extreme globalization has come with an extreme widening of the gap between rich and poor.
We now live in a hyper-connected world of tremendously multicultural societies. These developments have been challenging our education and cultural policies, which are fundamental to defining our values of citizenry and living-together. We also live in a world endangered by climate change and by the crisis of our economic and political models. Together, these emergencies are fueling nationalistic and extremist ideologies, conflicts and wars. These in turn bring thousands of desperate people to the shores of our continent every day.
In response, politicians have chosen to invest even further in the strategies of borders and ultra-liberal policies. In doing so, they are giving more credibility to measurable and lucrative results than to humanistic values. Meanwhile, artists have consistently been choosing to be closer to people. They transgress the traditional boundaries between art forms - between fiction and reality - and question established perceptions, models and institutional structures.
As a cultural landmark in Ghent, Vooruit will seek guidance from these artists. They are the partners we look for, especially in these uncertain times. They are engaged in a permanent process of interpreting our world. They are taking risks. They are provoking us and nurturing our imaginations. And in doing so, they are proposing diverse and different visions for our world, as well as sustainable alternatives to our crisis-ridden models.
Artistic voices make up an integral part of Vooruit’s DNA. Those we intend to follow are young, established, activists, contemporary, traditional, strong-willed, fragile, known and unknown. They are what our world needs.
With this statement, Vooruit is determined to honour and to reaffirm its founding mission: to be a cosmopolitan meeting point and platform for celebration, a vibrant laboratory for creativity and experimentation and a safe space for critical thinking and freedom of expression.
A new season
The program for the 2016-2017 season is a humble introduction to Vooruit’s plan of action for the coming years. We want to investigate the intersections between the arts and our worlds, as a way of providing guidance toward active participation and identification for the members of our diverse society. In this endeavour we will first and foremost channel Vooruit’s legacy of dedicated engagement in its local context and openness to the world.
During the season 2016-2017 we welcome a whole range of artists and partners, from young makers over activists to household names. Some work on a small scale, some present larger productions. Some are inviting the audience to participate in their research process and some present the results of their work. We will nurture and challenge the knowledge and knowhow of artists and partners, by inviting international guest curators to inspire us and to share with us their own views of the world.
Not only will we welcome artists and partners, we also welcome you, our city, our society and the world. Because only together we can make the power of the arts strong, whether it is aesthetic, innovative, controversial or all together. Only by joining forces, we can creatively discover possible solutions for the problems of our globalized societies.
Let’s meet each other soon, here at Vooruit.
Khadija El Bennaoui