When we chose the title Communs singuliers (“Unusual Commonalities”) for this year’s festival, we could not have imagined the unusual turn that 2020 would take. Although our work is developed through encounters with artists whose practices are in direct contact with reality, we were the first to be surprised when we discovered the meaning of this title broadened with the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. In the light of history such an event is truly exceptional. This health crisis, which occurred simultaneously on a planetary scale, abruptly put the rhythm of the world on hold. The spread of the virus reveals the complexity of our interactions to everyone. Beyond our bodies it infects the very fabric of our relationships. Our most familiar gestures and our daily lives have suddenly become eerie. While our society favours individualism, the pandemic has made us face up to our responsibilities. What we allow ourselves to do or not do can have repercussions on the whole planet. How better to translate this than with the words of philosopher Édouard Glissant1: “The state of the world is our true community today”? Given the work far° does in the performing arts and the place we occupy in society, how do we respond to such a situation?
While several scenarios were initially developed to maintain the festival in its usual form, the uncertainty and the obstacles that emerged in the spring regarding the holding of the event prompted us to change course and adopt a resilient dynamic. The crisis we are experiencing is not only health-related, but also social and environmental. Artistic and cultural communities, like so many others, will face difficulties in the long term. The pandemic has revealed many facets of a system that needs to be reinvented. This is why far° is operating a transition into a fabrique des arts vivants, literally a performing arts’ factory. We are offering to open up new realms of imagination in order to reinvent ways of working and creating, both within our own structure and in collaboration with the artists. By focusing on the core of our goal (creation, artistic support and participation), we wish to explore other ways of coming together and making art happen. This resolutely collective adventure invites the public to take part in the artistic process in order to address the format of the works and their temporality. The aim is to redefine together the role of artists and cultural institutions in our society. With practices that venture to break out of traditional models, the artists we work with offer sensitive experiences that allow for other approaches to reality. By addressing social and environmental issues, they give value to cooperation, to the attention we give to each other and to nature. How does one cultivate a sense of creativity that can transform daily life? How can art be a vector for change?
The performing arts’ factory opens with Communs singuliers#1, the first part in a series that will run until the summer of 2021. A high point to in the proliferation of new ways of being, feeling, thinking and acting together. Ten days during which surprising “de-spectacularised” artistic practices are presented in your home, in the middle of nature and in the public space. From a collection of love songs and stories to the production and transmission of knowledge, the works featured seek to revitalise our imaginations and must be seized as opportunities to question what we have in common.
The next phase of Communs singuliers will take place this autumn. Starting in November, projects will unfold in various locations, from Nyon and its surrounding district to La Chaux-de-Fonds and the Val d’Anniviers next spring. Art will become part of reality and the social space. The intensity of each event will feed the next, thus creating a chain of actions and reactions specific to these Communs singuliers. A think tank composed of artists, specialists in the philosophy of ecology, economics, anthropology, sociology and the general public, will continuously provide material to think, create and transform.
Véronique Ferrero Delacoste
and the far° team
1. Édouard Glissant, François Noudelmann, L’entretien du monde, éditions Presses Universitaires de Vincennes, 2018 (excerpt) – translated by AJS Craker.