Dance - Performance - Location project
Studio Cité 2019 - Benjamin Vandewalle

“The public space is where conflicting points of view are confronted without any possibility of a final reconciliation”. (Chantal Mouffe, Agonistics)

In Studio Cité, Benjamin Vandewalle combines a series of installations, performances and interventions in one square or venue in a city.  During a period of several days or weeks, Vandewalle transforms the urban location into an artistic fun fair, a playground for the human gaze and a space where social encounters, discussions and the exchange of ideas can take place.

Vandewalle starts from the idea that the way in which we perceive the world determines how we think about it and thus also act in it. By changing the way we perceive reality, we can challenge our thoughts and actions in and about the world we live in. All installations and performative acts in this project deal with how we perceive our everyday reality and questions how our senses operate when we observe, experience and engage with our surrounding environment and the people who are part of it. By choreographing the gaze, Vandewalle makes the audience aware of the potential of the world we inhabit everyday. Vandewalle uses the human body as a tool to manipulate our gaze and manipulate our experience of the public space. By activating the body of a spectator, the spectator becomes a performer. Vandewalle wants to teach this spectator/performer new strategies and methods to engage with our everyday reality . All installations are characterized by a multisensorial physical experience. They are all different, yet several elements resonate between them, allowing them to amplify each other’s effect. Most importantly, all of the installations can function or come to life only when a person activates them.

Through Studio Cité's intense presence in one place for a longer time, Benjamin Vandewalle aims to have a deep and long-term impact on the social context of the city and to give its inhabitants a collective experience. The project wants to facilitate encounters and dialogue between different members of the community. 

Benjamin Vandewalle and his collaborators play a crucial role in the project. They act as masters of ceremony: they invite people to engage with the installations and encourage them to share their experiences. In the centre of the square a bar is installed, where people can start a conversation while enjoying some coffee or tea. As Vandewalle wants the project to have longevity and impact beyond its presence in the square, a podcast is made, in collaboration with a sound artist or radio maker. This podcast is an auditive representation of the physical and visual experiences of the participants. Travelling from city to city and square to square, an auditive map is formed of a place and its inhabitants. 

Studio Cité can feature the following installations and performances: Peri-masks, Photo-masks, Inter-view, Inter-face, Peri-sphere, Peri-sphere XL, Micro-sphere, Framing the Circle, Tracking Traces, Out-post, the Bar and a podcast.

Concept and direction Benjamin Vandewalle Performance Alice Van Der Wielen, Shosha Van Kranendonk, Yentl De Werdt Technical coordination Hans Van Wambeke, Jonas Vanhullebusch Technical support Bjørn Gunnar Otten Technician on tour Pierre Daugy Technical engineering Joris Festjens Sound Yoann Durant, Laryssa Kim Sound engineering Gert Aertsen, Leander Schönweger Costumes Sofie Durnez Graphic design Fien Robbe Thanks to Aernout Vandewalle, CB service, Ivan Lucadamo

Studio Cité, an IN SITU Pilot project, has received a creation aid by the ACT project, co- funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union. The co-producers are Atelier 231 (FR), Festival di Terni (IT), Freedom Festival (UK), La Strada Graz (AT), Lieux publics (FR), Norfolk & Norwich Festival (UK), Østfold kulturutvikling (NO), Oerol Festival (NL), Theater op de Markt (BE), UZ Arts (UK)

Executive production Caravan Production (Brussels) Coproduction SoAP (Maastricht), Kaaitheater (Brussels), Workspace (Brussels) With the support of the Flemish Authorities