HET PERSONEEL (THE EMPLOYEES)
February — March 2022
In spring 2022, Ezra Veldhuis and Bosse Provoost gave a two-week workshop to the Masters Theater and Film Studies at the University of Antwerp.
They worked with twenty-one students in Stormkop, a kind of freespace in the harbor of Antwerp. The workshop consisted of a physical and spatial translation of Olga Ravn’s science fiction novella The Employees (shortlisted for the International Booker Prize 2021). The book is composed of testimonies of employees, human and humanoid, who give us a fragmentary insight on the ins and outs of a spaceship that has stumbled upon a planet of alien objects, evoking all kinds of feelings and sensations that thoroughly disturb the labor regime on the ship.
Choreographic and compositional principles were explored to depict a rigid work regime that is gradually unraveling, and performative strategies to explore the (non-)humanity of androids and cyborgs.
In October 2020, Bosse Provoost worked for a month with five students of Woordkunst at the Antwerp Conservatory. The goal of the project was to stage Paul Celan’s collection of poems Shneepart (Sneeuwpartij / Snowpart).
Celan’s language is so complex, dense and kaleidoscopic that it forces a performer to make strong performative choices to make poems tangible. As a spectator, you witnessed performers wrestling with language, fighting to get something shared. Very fittingly, bridging an (impassable) divide between writer and reader as well as between the living and the dead is also a major theme in Celan’s poetry.
Shneepart was published after Paul Celan’s death in 1970 and it deals primarily with the theme of self-intended death. The “inside of death” is being imagined. Plants and beetles are described as brothers and sisters, death as both an arrival and a descent. In addition, the Shoah, the social unrest of the late 1960s and the space race also recur regularly in the collection.