Playground plays with the boundaries and intersections of the performing and visual arts and explores them in two locations. This is the great asset of the tandem between STUK and M. While many joint programmes often don’t imply much more than the combination of two separate and distinct approaches, the Playground programme is a genuinely collaborative project. This makes the blur between the stage and the museum complete, but also the experiment itself. Curator Steven Vandervelden (STUK): “After eleven editions, Playground continues to be an artistic laboratory and it is wonderful that increasing numbers of colleagues from across Europe come to Leuven for Playground. Almost systematically, we present either creations that are nowhere near finished when we programme them, or reprise older productions that must be completely recreated and reworked for the festival. Nothing about Playground is ready-made." ‘We know that many artists are waiting for the unique combination that M and STUK are able to provide at Playground", curator Eva Wittocx (M) adds. "It is difficult for them to find the right forum for this kind of work in the big, regular cultural centres. That is why we invite artists to come and do something new and try out unusual and unconventional things. It is always unique and every time is a brand-new beginning. Many of the artists at this year’s edition were given the opportunity to develop and present new work. Indeed, 80 to 90% of the Playground programme consists of premières."
The highlights of 2017
In a late night show, Benjamin Seror presented his new band The Masks. With specially written live music, Seror recounted murder mysteries with Wittgenstein as the detective. In 'A Breath Cycle', Belgian artist Fabrice Samyn took us on a breath-taking tour of seven ‘breath pieces’. 'Elastic Habitat' was an installation by Helena Dietrich in collaboration with Janneke Raaphorst in which you could change your identity by putting on new clothes.
Every year, M adapts its exhibition programme to the festival, with an exhibition by a contemporary artist who uses live elements. This year, M presented the automated robot performances by Cécile B. Evans. From the museum halls, Cally Spooner ran an improvised company with sixteen employees. Dominique Gilliot took the audience on a tour in which she invited them to look for missing links in the museum collection. Finally, the artistic reference point Guy de Cointet also returned for this edition. He presented his latest, never previously staged performance 'The Bridegroom Suites'.
Save the date Playground 2018
The date for the next edition of festival has also been announced. Playground 2018 will take place from 15 until 18 November 2018 at STUK and M-Museum Leuven.