Residenties komt met Reflecties

Rainer Hofmann: “Blijf zwemmen, bouw een ARK en troebel water wordt eens weer helder” 
Vanwege corona kon festival SPRING in het voorjaar niet doorgaan. Vandaag gaat SPRING in Autumn van start, in XXL-versie van drie weken, met theatervoorstellingen die passen binnen de beperkingen, bijna zonder traditionele publieksopstelling. Tot op het laatste moment was het onduidelijk of SPRING in Autumn wel door kon gaan. Wat betekent deze onzekerheid voor je festival? Rainer Hofmann, artistiek directeur van SPRING, beschrijft het in zijn reflectie.
“Three years ago I quoted the American writer David Foster Wallace in my opening speech for SPRING Festival:There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says: “Morning, boys. How’s the water?” And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes: “What the hell is water?”I was claiming that art can tell us about the water we are swimming in. Now, with Covid-19, there is a new situation. The water is so troubled by the virus, and we all are like the young fish.In May we had to cancel SPRING. But we created an extended version of our second edition SPRING in Autumn which is corona proof as long as there is no lockdown. Will we open it on the 28th of October? I do not know it at the moment that I write this text. With admirable resilience the whole SPRING team works on something which might take place or not. They keep on swimming.This virus overshadows everything we do and feel. It looks like the biggest crisis since World War Two. But is it, politically speaking? As a friend said: We do not live in Syria and we have no bombs falling on us. Not all, but many of us live through this time in pretty nice houses. Believing in science, I ask myself, are we not getting distracted from other topics?All the conspiracy theorists who find their growing echo chambers on those social media, whose business model is based on polarization? Populists who feed on them? A growing number of people who cannot be reached by reason anymore? Facts which are not seen as such anymore? Truth which does not count as truth anymore, because everything has become just an opinion? Our polarized society?The troubled water with the virus in it accelerates these developments. And should we not ask ourselves why we have such a vulnerable health system with its minimized medical capacities after 10 years of neoliberal government? And then I have not even started to talk about climate questions.Coming back to the virus, how can we as artists and organisers not fall into depression and paralysis, lacking perspective as all of us do? But is it not something we are good at, finding a way in troubled water? Creating our own light? I think of a project we do together with the British theatre company Quarantine (what a name!) and its artistic director Richard Gregory, also in cooperation with Residenties in Utrecht.Their project called ARK is about borders in our urban society. We want to declare the city of Utrecht an ARK. We want to move borders. We want to create artistic encounters of diverse groups and people in Utrecht.We plan this ARK for May 2021. We keep on creating. It is the best we can do. Swimming on, building an ark, waiting for the troubled water to become clear, sketching a path, finding a way, for us and others.”Rainer Hofmann
Artistiek directeur SPRING
22 oktober 2020