The double 54th and 55th edition of Bitef will take place 13-25 September, under the slogan Edge of the Future. The main programme will consist of fourteen productions from ten countries.
One of the festival’s focuses is posthumanism, i.e. the vision of a world that should be less anthropocentric. This vision was created also based on awareness of the global environmental crisis and the possible cataclysm - which are also festival themes. The aesthetic (formal) focus of the festival is closely related to the thematic focus: it dehumanises the bodies of performers in various ways, through choreographic processes, lighting and video effects, the absence of performers, their digital presence, and the use of robots and drones on stage. Projects that explore this artistic phenomenon dominate the latter half of the festival.
One of the shows that explores the dehumanisation of the performers’ bodies is the Future Fortune choreography, by prominent choreographer and author Dragana Bulut, which premiered on the stage of the Hebbel am Ufer (HAU) theatre in Berlin, and it was created with support from the Bitef Theatre programme for the independent scene. With the presence of a humanoid robot on stage, the production that started as the recreation of historical avant-garde (Karel Čapek’s R.U.R. where the term robot first appeared), is conceptually deconstructed and becomes a debate on the (in)ability to design and control our future.
In keeping with the same artistic line, the performance I Put a Spell on You, by internationally recognized Iranian choreographer Ehsan Hemat, is performed by three dancers from Iran, Belgium and Japan, in a claustrophobic empty space, with robotised and mutually estranged movements. In conjunction with the supervision of the dancers by their fourth “partner”, a realistically present and active drone, such a choreography articulates one of the main problems of the modern world, the one that is becoming increasingly detached from humanistic deeds and turning to authoritarianism: technological and media control and manipulation. The participation of this choreography at Bitef is the result of the artistic team’s insistence that the festival also constantly invite non-European, non-Western theatre productions.
This year Bitef is actively addressing environmental questions. One of the activities that will be organized is the policy For a Spotless Tomorrow, on 13th of August. The meeting point is the café Gorski Smeško, at Popovica, only ten minutes from Novi Sad, at 10:30h. After the breakfast participants will clean up the most beautiful paths on Mt. Fruška Gora, and sort the garbage. The action is open to all interested members of the public, and participants will be treated to a welcome beverage, music and beans, which will be prepared as a common meal after the activity. For information on transportation to the site click here.
Due to the current epidemiological situation, reservations and sales of tickets for this year’s Bitef will start in the second half of August. Follow the Bitef website and social networks for more information.
The festival is traditionally supported by the City of Belgrade Secretariat for Culture and the Ministry of Culture and Information of the Republic of Serbia, the Goethe Institute, and the French Institute in Serbia, with support from Teatroskop - the regional program for performing arts of the French Institute in Paris and the French Ministry of Culture. Once again, this year Bitef’s partner and friend is I&F Group, within which the festival’s creative agency McCann Belgrade operates. The partners yet again are Erste Bank a.d. Novi Sad and long-standing friend of the festival Coca-Cola Hellenic Serbia.