EUTOPIA INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL 2017
EUTOPIA means, from Greek, a beautiful, a lovely place. Thinking back on the festival days in July 2017 the overall impression is that the festival lived up to this name. Eutopia. A grey, concrete part of Aarhus with a mainly bad rumor was turned into a beautiful, lovely place where everybody could meet, experience, enjoy, relax and reflect together.
The heart of Gellerup created the framework around the festival. Parking spaces, grass areas and town squares became in the time of a few days full of red and white stribed tents, palms, food trucks and small oases, where both artists, guests and audience could meet in an informal way with room for everybody. A little town, Eutopolis, full of life, art and time together.
The festival contained a variety of different shows and performances with artists from 23 different countries altogether. With a poetic street performance from Spain about life and war, a powerful dance performance from Iran on a Persian carpet, a highly physical performance from Japan filled with existential questions to reflect upon, an extremely visual and dreamy show from Switzerland with a stage filled with lightbulbs, overwhelming choir music from Ukraine and much more, the festival contained a big variety of cultural experiences and artistic expressions.
In spite of the diverse program, the common thread remained. Across the different performances, expressions and debates, the level of reflection, deep feelings and emotional impacts was intact and something all the shows and conversations had in common. In that way, the festival program was very cohesive with emphasis on giving the audience a united and complete experience. A feeling of becoming a little wiser and richer through the meeting with new people, different art forms and pure presence.
From big musical experiences and enchanting performances to the intimate meeting with an artist, a stranger, a human. Focus on conversation, presence and the meeting with each other.
One of the main hypotheses within this festival “experiment” was that culture and art can make a difference – also in places and in relation to topics that isn’t clearly related to it. Art and culture can make us look at things and problems in a new way, and as a result of that, act and react different. Creating a culture festival in a ghetto in Denmark – an area most people ordinarily avoid – was a challenge. But letting people meet right in that particular place, to let them laugh, cry, eat, talk, dance and sing together was an eye opening experience. Those who had never been in the area before, was surprised by the atmosphere and the beauty of the place. The locals were happy and proud to show their neighborhood to all the festival guests. Looking back on the festival it is clear that the hypotheses is confirmed: Culture and art can move mountains, break down boundaries and make people meet on a higher level.
© EUTOPIA 2017