“On ugliness”: site-specific performance based on Umberto Eco

Oct 17, 2016

Ugliness repels us. A huge industry works to help us rid from the ugliness of our own. However, contemplating one’s ugliness is a fascinating process. There were times when a man went to watch executions and visited the circus - both are today substituted by the cinema. Why do we sometimes want to relate ourselves with the ugly, whilst staying aside in our own beauty and harmony?

From 20 to 23 October ARTiSHOK theatre will present the play "On ugliness" in the site-specific format at the "Isker" APO-1 plant in Almaty. This is the first performance in Kazakhstan, which will be held at a former factory floor.

The site-specific format, as opposed to installation and performance, is when the space takes on the role of live creativity and its function becomes equal to that of the actor. Site-specific performances take place all over the world and in various spaces: abandoned construction sites, gas stations, factories, sheds, and swimming pools.

ARTiSHOK’s chief artist Anton Bolkunov will serve as director of the play.

"While working on the production, we constantly weigh the beauty and ugliness in relation to other things. And an endless stream of objects pops up in the head. This particular stage space is beautiful, because it is natural, as it was never exposed to the outside (once the factory stopped functioning). And I think of it as of any other landscape, be it a forest or a mountain. Therefore, it is beautiful. In the play, we connect different concepts of beauty and ugliness," says Anton Bolkunov.

"On ugliness" is created within the framework of the interdisciplinary laboratory "Above the Barriers", which was initiated by the Goethe-Institute. This is a large international project aimed at consolidating different creative disciplines. It captures all the CIS countries, where the institute is represented and integrates the field of new music, contemporary dance, theater and new media. For example, the Almaty ARTiSHOK team works together with Alexandr Lyubashin, a choreographer from St. Petersburg.

The performance is supported by the Goethe Institute of Kazakhstan and the UN Development Program in Kazakhstan. The play series will be held at a significant time - on 24 October the international community celebrates the foundation of the United Nations. 2016 is also important as the UNDP celebrates its 50th anniversary.

“This is not our first project with ARTiSHOK. A couple of years ago we had a photo shoot - one of the most avant-garde in recent years. The picture that calls for GMO-free sustainable agriculture with the use of environmentally friendly technologies now adorns our office – anyone entering the UN building can see it. The photo session led to other interesting projects. We really like cooperating with ARTiSHOK, we have a lot in common. The theater uses the tools that make the audience get out of their comfort zone, applying innovative solutions and non-standard techniques. We at UNDP are also looking for innovative approaches and simple but effective solutions in the field of human development. Cooperation with such innovative thinkers allows us to learn from each other and mutually enriches us. For us, this play is special also because it takes place in the first years of implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda,” said UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in Kazakhstan Munkhtuya Altangerel.

The performance will take place at 3 Auezov str. (plant "Isker" APO-1) at 18:30 for only four days, on October 20-23. Tickets are available at: www.ticketon.kz, +7 776 628 2625, whatsapp +7 777 227 48 37

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