Curatorial statement

Modern Body Festival: art as research through experience

What exactly is the ‘modern body’? We are inclined to think of our bodies as limited to what is contained within our own skin, but technology, philosophy, spirituality, religion, and science all challenge this idea. Modern Body Festival, an initiative in The Hague by artists / makers / performers Stephanie Pan and Stelios Manousakis, strives to examine the nature of our current existence through the perspective of the ‘modern body’.

Theme: I/WE/THEY

For our second biennial edition, we develop the theme I/WE/THEY to reach beyond the physical body to the social body, to explore how we exist and belong in today’s networked world, and what the cultural borders of a globalized society are. We are particularly interested in the effects of technology, digital communication and architecture as they are fundamentally transforming the way we exist as a society, culture, species. We focus on identity and community: how we interface with I/WE/THEY. Where do the limits of the self extend and where do the social bodies of group and community begin? How do we understand and position ourselves as individuals, while still feeling a sense of belonging and connection to an expanding global community? How do we exist, identify, and interact? Furthermore, how does architecture and technology influence our interactions with each other, and how can we in turn, influence architecture and technology?

The festival

For this edition, we collaborate with cutting-edge Taiwanese architecture platform DEZACT, to create a 5-day event in The Hague in November/December 2016 hosted in re-purposed buildings, made up of workshops, symposia, and a 2-day showcase with exhibitions and performances. The festival is constructed as a total experience for our visitors – one meant to move them viscerally, emotionally, mentally. The showcase itself will be a multi-sensory environment encouraging exploration across disciplines, seeking the modern body primarily within the worlds that emerge when artforms intersect, collide, and modulate each other.