At the still point of the turning world

On February 8, STUK welcomes you for At the still point of the turning world, the new edition of Artefact festival. Contemporary art, current events and societal challenges meet in a versatile exhibition, energizing concerts and performances, in-depth lectures and thought-provoking films.

“At the still point of the turning world. / Neither flesh nor fleshless; / Neither from nor towards; / at the still point, there the dance is, / But neither arrest nor movement. / And do not call it fixity, / Where past and future are gathered. / Neither movement from nor towards, / Neither ascent or decline. / Except for the point, the still point, / There would be no dance, and there is only the dance.” —T.S. Eliot, “Burnt Norton”

How can you be awake amidst the turmoil in the world and still hold your own?

In At the still point of the turning world, artists search for comfort, strength and meaning. In the cosmic and oceanic, in family ties and kinships across generations, in the relationship between forms and materials, and in poetry.
The title of the exhibition references a section from T.S. Eliot’s Burnt Norton (1936), in which he described a special state between time and motion, beyond the physicality of our bodies. Eliot wrote the poem between two world wars, trying to find a way out of the tension of societal destruction and social hostility, a tension that is all too recognizable in our current times. Today, the suffering of the world is intensely felt in our daily lives, and chaos tugs at our sleeves. How do we remain awake and conscious enough to stand up for each other’s rights in solidarity instead of rubbing the sleeping sand of powerlessness deeper into our closed eyes?

As the world changes from a chaotic to a repressive place for a growing number of people and communities, the question of how to hold your own becomes increasingly urgent. The artists in this exhibition each show through their own practice how to take a stand by making connections with each other, by sharing intergenerational stories and ancestral knowledge, and exploring the relationships between the material and emotional, the individual and the cosmic. The necessity of art and poetry in a world in decline may sound soft-headed, but is essential. Back in 1985, Audre Lorde already stated that “Poetry Is Not a Luxury”. Therefore, the exhibition is imbued with the words of poets, such as Lorde, Etel Adnan, CAConrad and more.

Inspired by the exhibition, Artefact Sound brings together groundbreaking musicians and sound artists. The programme features new creations by artists-in-residence such as Kara-Lis Coverdale & Leuven’s Alumni Choir, Valentina Magaletti and NAH, complemented by a handful of world-class performers: Swans, Tashi Wada with Julia Holter, Bolis Pupul and Oren Ambarchi’s trio Ghosted. From club night to performance and from opening night to closing afternoon, Artefact Sound provides a three-week stage for adventurous music off the beaten track.

Etel Adnan, Felipe Baeza, Anouk De Clercq, Arpaïs Du Bois, Beatrice Gibson, Sky Hopinka, Saodat Ismailova, Alfredo Jaar, Anne Duk Hee Jordan, Germaine Kruip, Liliane Lijn, Margaret Salmon, Hyun-Sook Song, Pei-Hsuan Wang, Sophie Whettnall, Mickey Yang.

Artefact Sound
BELLY FLOP (Farida Amadou & Leslie Gutierrez), Bolis Pupul, Brorlab, Clara Levy, GAIKA, Gaëtan Rusquet, Hiele Badenhorst, Hieroglyphic Being, Jente Waerzeggers, Kara-Lis Coverdale & Leuven Alumni Choir, Laura Conant, Lukas De Clerck, ML Buch, Maria W Horn, NAH, Nixie a.k.a. Siren Calls, Oren Ambarchi, Johan Berthling & Andreas Werliin, Swans, Tashi Wada with Julia Holter, The Germans, Valentina Magaletti & Theresa Baumgartner.

Films, talks and performance
Malek Rasamny, Matt Peterson, Adam Pendleton, Paul B. Preciado, Gaëtan Rusquet, Angie Madalijns (bricol’art vzw), Stéphane Symons.