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Amen & Beyond: the Spoken Brought Together
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Amen & Beyond: the Spoken Brought Together

From 16 until 26 May 2019, festival and art center Vooruit in Ghent organizes in cooperation with curators Barbara Raes and Colin H. Van Eeckhout a programme dedicated to death, grief, pain and rituals in relation to art. Amen & Beyond brings together various artists from all over the world in order to let the audience experience something new, let them deal with their inner demons in various sorts of ways.

What happens if you bring together two sides of the same coin? Something quite interesting, probably. That is what Barbara Raes from Beyond the Spoken, a workspace for unacknowledged loss, and Colin H. Van Eeckhout, frontman of the post-metal band Amenra, must have thought when they brought together their separate but similar visions. In Amen & Beyond, the result of their collaboration, they will try to deal with suffering, rituals and solace in new and innovative ways. Barbara Raes represents the silence in pain and grief, while Colin H. Van Eeckhout tries to convey the same message with his dark, loud music. They absolutely believe in their complementarity: they say they speak a different language, but talk about the same things.

Amen & Beyond is packed with talks, philosophy, theatre, debates, music and dance, workshops, performances, food, and rituals. Naturally, Raes and Van Eeckhout are not tackling this programme on their own: both have invited international artists who have something interesting to bring into the “discussion” on this particular subject. Indonesia, France, the USA, China, Italy, the UK, Ireland, Congo-Brazzaville, Poland and of course, Belgium itself are all represented at Amen & Beyond. Some of the invited artists are clearly the choice of the musician, while other initiatives are more of interest to the mentor. However, they have also searched for common ground and that is mostly found in performance art.

Colin H. Van Eeckhout himself has marked especially 18 May 2019 in his agenda, because Olivier de Sagazan, a guest whom Van Eeckhout himself invited to the program, will be performing then. De Sagazan’s Transfiguration is a highly original and incredible piece of performance art: he wants to bring his work to life, and he therefore wallows himself in wet clay and becomes the sculpture himself. The artistic collaboration between Amenra and Beyond the Spoken is also definitely something to look forward to: Barbara Raes develops a fire ritual for the unacknowledged loss of the city of Ghent, with music from Amenra in the background. They get the help of Indonesian artist Toni Kanwa Adikusmah, who has been trying for years to melt together a primitive lifestyle with modern art and who will make a sculpture to be burnt on 26 May 2019 in order to collectively introspect and let go of sorrow.

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