MTL’s festival season starts
with audacious performances
Altamira 2042 and Holoscenes at the FTA, and OFFTA’s Invisible
By Jacqueline van de Geer
May 27, 2022
The FTA is back in full swing, and so is the OFFTA! Both festivals have wonderful programming, so check out what is happening if you are in for surprising and audacious performances. Let’s start with the FTA:
Altamira 2042 combines advanced technology with spiritual elements of shamanism.
Altamira 2042: a passionate dedication to the Xingu River and its people
The already 16th edition of Festival Trans Amériques is happening right now! After a long two-year wait, artists from eighteen countries take part alongside dance and theatre creators from Canada.
FTA’s new joint artistic directors, Martine Dennewald and Jessie Mill present this year’s programme, which includes Altamira 2042, a totally bewitching performance, created and performed by Gabriela Carneiro da Cunha. This work is a passionate dedication to the Xingu River and the River people displaced by the construction of the Belo Monte Dam. Brazilians have a knick name for it: the Belo Monstro Dam and, sadly, with good reason.
Created in Sao Paulo in 2019, this solo performance piece, which has toured Brazil and Europe, combines advanced technology with spiritual elements of shamanism. The audio-visual installation using many fluorescent speakers and projections, amplifies the testimonies of those deeply affected by the dam’s construction. Brazilian spoken testimonies are translated into French and English so we can easily follow the history of the sad destruction of the surroundings of the Xingu River.
Meanwhile, Gabriela guides the spectators through the experience, and they slowly but surely transform from onlookers into participants. During this intense performance, the audience is invited to actively join the resistance. They become totally engaged and work together in an attempt to stop the violent exploitation of the territory of the indigenous people, the animals and flora. Sadly, a Canadian mining company (Bel Sun) is contributing to the damage of what was once a beautiful natural environment. A must-see.
Altamira 2042 takes place at Edifice Wilder until Sunday, May 29, with two representations on Saturday, May 28.
‘Mixing dance and physical theatre, Holoscenes encourages us to become aware of the reality of climate change and invites us to reflect on our own water consumption.’
The fluid magic of Holoscenes
While you are at the festival, do not miss the chance to witness one of the many appearances in this living installation, created by American artist Lars Jan.
The performances are happening in a giant aquarium on the new Esplanade Tranquille. The symbolism of water in this work is very strong, showing several scenes from daily life. The scenes are taking place in fast-rising water. For instance: one performer tunes a guitar, a second performer sells fruit, another one reads the newspaper while drinking a coffee, and yet another performer dances with a drape.
In less than a minute, the performers are submerged under twelve tonnes of water. Mixing dance and physical theatre, Holoscenes encourages us to become aware of the reality of climate change and invites us to reflect on our own water consumption.
I learned from the guide that the water is reused for every scene and will be used after the performances to water the plants at the Esplanade Tranquille. A hypnotizing experience – check it out!
Holoscenes is a public work, free and accessible to all.
Until Sunday, May 29 at 6 pm
OFFTA rocks with Invisible!
Are you in for a performance of 72 hours? If so, do not miss Invisible, choreographed by Aurélie Pedron. This durational performance invites the public into a celebratory space where nine performers and a dog play, dance, exchange and connect.
‘Aurélie Pedron creates in Invisible an intimacy that is immediate. From the first moment I stepped into the big room, I felt enveloped by the dancers’ fluid movements and I was immediately at ease being part of this experiment.’
Here, in the intimate room of LAVI, the spectators are invited to experience the continuum of time, free to drop in and out over the course of three days. How lovely it is to be sharing time in togetherness. I witnessed the first hour, and I will certainly go back several times to experience the evolution of this performance.
Aurélie Pedron creates in Invisible an intimacy that is immediate. From the first moment I stepped into the big room, I felt enveloped by the dancers’ fluid movements and I was immediately at ease being part of this experiment. This piece moves between installation, choreography and performance and feels like a transformative experience.
Get a ticket for this durational performance in which the spectators are invited to come back several times during the performance, day and night!
Invisible takes place until Sunday, May 29 at 5 pm at LAVI – Laboratoire Arts Vivants et Interdisciplinarité
Feature image: Altamira 2042, by Nereu Jr
Other articles by Jacqueline van de Geer
Originally from the Netherlands, Jacqueline van de Geer crossed the Atlantic Ocean in 2005 to live and work in Montréal. She has a bachelor’s degree in visual arts and performance arts.