What can you expect from Festival Dag in de Branding on Saturday 14 December? We asked our artist-in-residence Meriç Artaç. In this edition she will have a discussion with filmmaker Simone Bennett and composer Petra Strahovnik at the Filmhuis The Hague about the psychology behind fear and distrust. Her opera Madam Koo is also performed in Korzo.
On December 14th the focus lies on three major social themes (women’s voting rights, mental illness and anxiety). Why these themes?
Actually the themes are women’s voice and psychology. Mental illness and anxiety fall under the psychology of humans and women’s voices under society. I wanted to connect the themes to my opera, Madam Koo, a woman character, and her psychology as being mentally disturbed, anxious individual. We also have her neighbor Mr.Oak, a male character, his own obsession and his own difficulties with Madam Koo and within himself. We are seeing individuals living in an apartment together and being comfortable in their own habitats and not wanting anyone interfering in their space. This space could be interpreted as mental space or physical space and most of the time I see that those two can trigger each other. All the other performances during the day have a connection with these themes and I believe that they all connect in their own strong way.
The program in Filmhuis and your own opera Madam Koo focus on anxiety. What can we do about the current ‘fear climate’?
For me in the fear climate, the most important thing would be to first see and realize that it exists and observe how it spreads and takes you over while you don’t even notice it. This is a very simple, quite fundamental human social connection. So it is really important to see first if it is real and if so what does it do to our society. I feel the urgency to show the fear climate by giving a tiny example of a focused neighborhood/apartment lifestyle with Madam Koo and her neighbor Mr.Oak and a fearless child figure Miku. Those characters are all representing something in our society in a metaphoric sense and my hope is to reflect what I see around, exaggerate them and to create a space for the audience to find their own reflection/solution to the current fear climate. Or perhaps they won’t see it at all…
Filmhuis is the new Festival Dag in de Branding-partner. Can you tell us about any future plans you have with this partner?
It is a great opportunity to partner with the Filmhuis and connect movies with newly written live music performances. We are planning to collaborate for the June 2020 edition with them. The theme of that day will be ‘abandoned’. This can be an abandoned place, piece of music, composer, an idea, anything or anyone that has been not looked over for some time… I want to connect to the theme by shooting a short movie and composing a new piece for it. I found a beautiful, big abandoned hotel in Turkey. The hotel that hosted many weddings, events, many great memories and for a long time the building is abandoned, forgotten and rotting… I will be working with a Turkish director and we will be focusing on the relationship between abandoned and space/memory.
Festival Dag in de Branding takes place on Saturday December 14 from 2 p.m. The complete program can be found here.