Attakkali biennial 2021
A Transglocal Community Arts Engagement Initiative
As we wait on the cusp of a year gone and a year anew, the Attakkalari India Biennial (AIB) is poised to pull the curtains up for the show to begin. The past two years have been tough for all of us, and even as the world continues to heal, there is also a palpable need for interaction, reconnection, and inspiration.
The Biennial, which rings in its 10th edition this year, hopes to add that extra zing with a thoughtfully-curated stream of events centred on the theme: INSPIRE BENGALURU. The festival this year has dance companies, dancers and choreographers from India, South Korea, Netherlands, UK, Australia, Japan, Spain, Germany, Norway and Switzerland taking part.
As a cultural force, the Biennial has also attempted to reflect and mirror contemporary realities. This year is no different. In this new world we inhabit, the boundaries of the stage have been blurred. The proscenium today has segued past brick-and-mortar into our devices. In step with this new world order, AIB 2021-22 comes to you as a hybrid festival, so that viewers anywhere in the world can cue in and immerse themselves in the shows. It will be a translocal community initiative where artistes, art lovers and viewers can come together to watch, connect and dialogue with one another - irrespective of their physical geographies.
An idea that was planted in 2000, AIB has grown over the years to become one of India’s - and South Asia’s - largest and preeminent movement and digital arts festivals. It has emerged as a revered stage for renowned dancers and choreographers the world over, and as a platform for encouraging new talent in the contemporary movement arts space in the region. The Biennial in every edition has succeeded in presenting acts and ideas that question the status quo, raise uncomfortable questions and show a new way of thinking. Like all art must do.
FESTIVAL DIRECTOR'S NOTE
“Inspire Bengaluru” – Attakkalari India Biennial 2021-22
These are strange times and most of us are facing challenges and uncertainties of one kind or the other. Some of us have gone through events posing even existential threats that we wish we never had to face. But it is now high time to discard the gloom and doom that descended upon us and embrace the resilience of human spirit, the power of imagination and ingenuity to move forward to envision a better future by cherishing the vital importance of breath, movement and a sense of community in our lives. While we absolutely need to maintain all COVID related health and safety protocols, it is also the time to come out of the constraints and enforced isolations to reconnect as members of interlinked communities, and celebrate the value of collective sharing and understanding of each other. It is time for us to pause for a moment and reflect on the environmental catastrophe and climate emergency that are threatening our lives on earth and recognise the urgent need to tread a different path. A path of environmental sensitisation, self-preservation and care for one another in order to collectively earn the right to live on this planet. When faced with challenges of such magnitude, humanity have always found new ways of overcoming those difficulties through profound visions for creating a better world. It is time to value sacrifices and hard work for the common good, and enhance our understanding of the differences and sharing the material, intellectual and cultural resources with each other. Performing arts, particularly dance, as an embodiment of all these values, is probably one humble way to explore this possibility of saving ourselves. We have the capacity to begin this path with our own body, mind and spirit through dance and movement. As history has proven before, innovation and technology are coming to our aid to connect with each other. Today technology has the power to provide much needed dance and arts services to the society at large. At Attakkalari too we had our fair bit of technological innovation. To mitigate the aftermath of the pandemic and its negative impact on performing arts, Attakkalari has set up a digital arts house called Attakkalari Culture Port, thanks to the generous support by the Goethe-Institut Max Mueller Bhavan Bangalore. ACP allows Attakkalari to document events on multiple cameras, live edit and stream them instantaneously through multiple internet channels, thus providing access to audiences across India and beyond, who otherwise might not be able to access them. Attakkalari India Biennial 21-22 has a healthy mix of live on stage physical performances, hybrid events, installations, film screenings, conferences, conversations and residency on a range of subjects including the one on “Writing on Dance” to nurture the talents of emerging dance critics and writers. The festival will present works from India, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, South Korea, Sweden, Japan, the UK, the Netherlands and Australia.
This Attakkalari India Biennial is like no other – reinventing performance as we knew it, through embodied and often disembodied reflections on these troubled times, its conflicts, pains, trials and tribulations as well as seemingly insipid yet poignant and short yet vital moments of happiness. In this transglocal iteration, the biennial will connect local communities with the contemporary cutting-edge works from across the globe bringing solace, bonding and love, but also the realization of the transience of human existence and the vital importance of nurturing the environment and nature to ensure our own wellbeing. The biennial is also a celebration of the courage and tenacity shown by ordinary people when faced with seemingly insurmountable challenges, bringing hope when our patience, endurance and even human relationships were tested. Above all it is the reaffirmation of the vital role of the arts in enriching life and giving it a meaning, thus making it worth living.
Team Attakkalari has worked incredibly hard to bring this unique version of the Biennial to truly inspire Bengaluru while making it accessible for the wider world too. We would not have been able to deliver this biennial without the support of International Culture Fund of the Goethe Institut, Government of India, ICCR, Karnataka Tourism Department, Tata Trusts, Fanuc India Ltd, Goethe Institute-Max Mueller Bhavan Bangalore, Pro Helvetia, Japan foundation, Instituto Cervantes, Spanish Embassy, InKo Centre, Japan Foundation, The Royal Norwegian Embassy, Swedish Embassy and Italian Cultural Centre.
There are numerous other individuals and organisations who have supported Attakkalari to make this festival a success. On behalf of the city of Bengaluru and Team Attakkalari I am ever so grateful for their generosity. We are very much looking forward to welcoming you to this special Attakkalari India Biennial. Please spread the word, support dance and the biennial, and participate in as many events as you possible can with friends and family.