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Diggin' the Future


What is our current attitude towards the future and what effect does this have on contemporary performance and media art? This is the topic dealt with in Diggin’ the Future. This study day focuses on the impact of ongoing geopolitical shifts on the present depiction of the future. It also touches on such artistic practices as internet activism, network art, retro-futurism, digital performances, immersive technologies and virtual worlds such as Second Life. A study day about the future cannot avoid looking at China. Chinese experts will talk about ‘instant future’, a term for a cultural context where present and future coincide.



Introduction by Kurt Vanhoutte & Frederik Le Roy

Kurt Vanhoutte (1971) is professor in performance studies and visual arts criticism at Antwerpen University. His current research is closely intertwined with the work of CREW, a multi-disciplinary team of artists and researchers at the melting point of live arts and technology. His research participates in 20203D Media, a large-scale European Research Consortium that focuses on the translation of cinematographic and performative codes in immersive environments and on changing notions of narrativity and spectatorship for academia and industry.

Frederik Le Roy is a PhD student affiliated with the Department of Theatre Studies (Film and Media Studies) of Ghent University. He has studied philosophy in Ghent and Leuven, and theatre studies and performance studies in Ghent, Paris and UC Berkeley. His research, which is funded by the Flemish Research Foundation (PhD fellowship - FWO-Vlaanderen), explores ways in which traditional concepts of history  and cultural memory are put into question by aesthetic strategies in contemporary performing arts.


Mailea Houwahine, Emissary of the Kauwahi Hawai'i - 'Almost there, Pone in the heart of Europe'

Mailea Houwahine is the cultural emissary of O’ahu and neighbouring Islands of Hawai’i. She holds Open University Ma degrees in Cultural Studies and in International Relations. She combines jobs as a researcher, teacher and designer of hyper-contextual teaching materials with her function as a cultural representative of one of the most remote inhabited areas on earth. In her research she focusses on the application of the traditional values like the Hawaiian concept of pono (honour, rightousness) across geographical and cultural extremes.

Maya Van Leemput - 'Representations of the future in the plural'

Maya Van Leemput works in futures studies since her Ph.D. research at the University of Westminster which was completed in 02001 with the thesis: Visions of the Future on Television, A Content Analysis and Production Study of Representations of the Future on British Television in the Mid- Nineties. She collaborates with visual artist Bram Goots on the independent research project Agence Future (AF), a research project designed to explore the content and make-up of non-mediated images of the future. In 2007 she developed and implemented the O58 project of the heritage cell of the city of Antwerp. On the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the world-fair held in Brussels in 01958, a discussion of the 100 year period until 02058, was taken up in 35 interviews and presented in a video-montage of 47 minutes.


Panel conversation with FoAM and Constant about the connection between certain visions on the future, and the conceptualization of a contemporary artistic practices (moderated by Elke Van Campenhout)

Constant is a non-profit association, based and active in Brussels since 1997 in the fields of feminism, copyright alternatives and working through networks. It develops radio, electronic music and database projects, by means of migrating from cultural work to work places and back again. See:

FoAM is a cross-disciplinary, trans-local laboratory. See:

Elke Van Campenhout is a freelance dramaturg and researcher. Previously she worked on artistic research projects in Nadine, PAF (performing arts forum) Reims, TQW (tanzquartierwien), Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Gasthuis Amsterdam and many others. She is in charge of the artistic and pedagogical profile and functioning of APT (Advanced Performance Training):




Hu Fang & Cao Fei - 'Instant Future & RMB City'
(moderated by Els Silvrants)

Hu Fang was born in 1970 in China. He graduated from the Chinese Literature Department of Wuhan University in 1992. He is one of the founders and is active artistic director of Vitamin Creative Space. He lives both in Guangzhou and Beijing. As a novelist and writer, Hu Fang has published a series of novels including Shopping Utopia, Sense Training: Theory and Practice, A Spectator, Pavilion to the Heart's Insight and New Arcades (Survival Club, Sensation Fair, and Cool Shanshui.) His fictions and art essays have appeared in major Chinese and international magazines since 1996. His curatorial practices are widely engaged in different situations within Chinese and international contexts. Since 2006, he is coordinating editor of Documenta magazines.

Cao Fei, born 1978, lives and works in Beijing, China. Known for her multimedia installations and videos, Cao Fei is acknowledged as one of the key young artists emerging from Mainland China. She mixes social commentary, popular aesthetics, Surrealism, and documentary conventions in her films and installations. Her works comment on the rapid and chaotic changes that are occurring in all facets of Chinese society. RMB City is a virtual art community in Second Life, initiated by Cao Fei as a public platform for creativity.

Els Silvrants is Artistic Director of Theatre in Motion (TIM)/beiLAB – a non-profit organization founded in 2005, building a context for the contemporary performing arts in China. TIM runs an international residency program, sets up workshops, undertakes research and organizes small scale curatorial projects in collaboration with festivals, art centres, theatres and academies in China. TIM is part of beiLAB, a hybrid of organizations and creative individuals representing different disciplines, conceived as a hub and meeting place for artistic, architectural, scientific and corporate communities researching China’s artistic, social and urban dynamics in all its greyscales.


Coffee break


'Futurism, Past and Present' (moderated by Frederik Le Roy)

Luca Scarlini - 'Heritage: When Future becomes Past. Postfuturist tradition'

Luca Scarlini is an essayist, playwright and performance artist. He is teaching at the Fine Arts Academy in Milano and works with many theatre and dance companies. He has been working on the relationship between historical avantgarde, futurism and contemporary art. His latest books: La paura preferita, Lustrini per il regno dei cieli.

Claudio Sinatti in conversation with Marianne Van Kerkhoven about the ‘entirely new’ futurism of the live media performance RHOMBOIDE

Claudio Sinatti is an Italian multimedia artist, focusing on spatial video systems and sound interaction. He teaches ‘experimental multimedia’ at the Istituto Europeo di Design. He was the founder of the Sun Wu-Kung video collective (working from 1999 to 2002), the audiovisual projects Crop (with Sergion Messina) and Grain (with Jonas Coshto). Besides a prolific series of personal video projects he has collaborated on live performances with artists such as Christian Fennesz, Stephan Mathieu, Olivier Lamm, Scanner and many more. In 2004 he started the mix media project Pirandelo with Andrea Gabriele and Marita Cosma. In recent years his work has focused on installation projects and performances, for personal research and commercial purposes, moving between art festivals, brand events, pop concerts, television, fashion, cinema and theatre. He has worked for brands such as Nike, MTV, Pirelli, BMW, Heineken, Rolex, Breil, Gas, Piombo, Strenesse.

Marianne Van Kerkhoven (°1946) started working in theatre in the 1970ies. From 1976 to 1982 she worked at the Brussels University as a researcher in theatre science. Since the beginning of the 80ies she started working at the Brussels Kaaitheater as a dramaturg. She worked with Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, Jan Lauwers, Josse De Pauw, Jan Ritsema, Peter van Kraaij, Guy Cassiers, Rudi Meulemans…. Recently she started developing dramaturgical work with a new generation of young artists , e.g. Kris Verdonck, Hooman Sharifi,  Marijs Boulogne, Merlin Spie and others. She gave many lectures and wrote many articles about dance and theatre. She was a member of the editorial board of Etcetera, the Flemish magazine of performing arts, since its beginning in 1983 till 2004 and was editor in chief of the fourlingual magazine Theaterschrift from 1990 to 1995. An anthology of her articles was published in 2002 in the book ‘Van het kijken en van het schrijven’.


General Discussion

LANGUAGE : Dutch English