Chiara Bersani interviewed by Gaia Clotilde Chernetich
Featured image: Spazio Kor. Photo © Andrea Macchia
Performer and choreographer Chiara Bersani unveils starting points and details of MUSIC NON STOP, a project developed with co-curator Giulia Traversi for Spazio Kor, a former church turned live arts venue in Asti, north-west Italy. This five-day event evolves by shaping a slower timing and by reflecting upon a renewed dimension of pleasure, intimately connected to music. Aerowaves Twenty22 artists Cassiel Gaube and Courtney May Robertson will present their works with enhanced accessibility thanks to a collaboration with Al Di Qua (Alternative Disability Quality) Artists.
Chiara, where does the idea of the festival MUSIC NON STOP come from?
There are many starting points. The first step took place in 2022 in Elefsina, during Aerowaves’ Spring Forward festival. I was attending as a participant of the Startup Forum, while Giulia attended the performances as curator of Spazio Kor. We had no preconceived plans and no specific objectives. We watched the shows, and I discussed a lot with the mentors of the Startup Forum, keeping in mind our curatorial mission at Spazio Kor. Suddenly, an intuition arose… Courtney and Cassiel’s works resonated with me in a very simple way, I felt connected to the inner power of their works. Both Courtney and Cassiel’s performances deal with the principle of pleasure, which is among the themes we decided to work and reflect on. Giulia had similar feelings, so we started dialoguing about them. Everything was simple, eventually, because we ended up talking about love and dance.
Both performances have something in common with the aim of Spazio Kor and with its spirit. There, we are developing a project on accessibility, aiming to reach spectators of different ages and with different types of disabilities – sensorial or neurodivergent. Usually, people with physical or motor disabilities don’t think of the theatre as a space for them. In most cases, they don’t even know that theatres can offer activities and experiences where they are welcome.
Your project displays a clear curatorial perspective on accessibility. What kind of collaborators will you involve? And how will you engage the Aerowaves artists you selected?
In Elefsina, the schedule was so tight that we had no time to meet the artists. We explained our project to them quickly, and postponed the possibility of a deeper, more detailed dialogue regarding their proposal and our approach. What we know, up to now, is that Al Di Qua Artists will engage with both performances to enhance their accessibility. They will soon start working with the artists to design a bespoke project to facilitate access for Spazio Kor’s audience. Artists won’t have to change their practices or the performance structure. However, it is important that they are open to new directions where it might be easier to encounter the audience.
Not all performances are accessible to everybody. I am a choreographer, too, and I know that some of my works are not fully accessible. All the people concerned in this exchange are invited to stay open and flexible to everyone’s proposals. The intervention towards accessibility operates on the performance to bring it closer to the community of the spectators – it can be a letter for the audience, a differently sensorial way to convey emotions and information, a different way to access the experience of the show …
How would you describe Spazio Kor?
Spazio Kor is located in Asti, a small Italian town in the north-western Italian region of Piemonte. It is not the place where I live. Giulia does not live there either. When we received the invitation from the direction of the theatre to become curators of Spazio Kor, we felt that there was space for us to create new approaches and experiences based on values other than time and production of events. Honestly, the invitation we received was so lovely that it sounded a bit crazy! Our first encounter with Asti’s community was influenced by the restrictions due to Covid-19. For the audience, it was difficult to discover our plans and perspectives. However, with each successive performance, the audience both grows and changes. This is our second year as curators. Usually, we propose a season with many appointments, and there are also three associate artists. We start to see younger generations coming back to our shows and events. Spazio Kor used to be a church, so it has the spirit of a space where people can come and go, according to their desire and possibilities.
Will MUSIC NON STOP be different from what you usually design and programme for Spazio Kor?
This is the first time we present a series of events, a so-called “festival”. We want to keep our attitude, respectful of slower approaches to social events and experiences. For this reason, we are programming only one event per day. We curate a small space, and we want to stay in dialogue with the people around us. We are not interested or looking for hyperproductivity. We have the possibility to envisage a more relaxed organisation by creating a space where people can be present as easily and smoothly as possible. At Spazio Kor it is possible to spend time together with the local community and with the artists. The festival displays this same curatorial attitude, but in a tighter schedule. The festival will also form the opening of the new 2024 season.
Why did you choose MUSIC NON STOP as a title?
The title refers to a song by Kraftwerk: Music Non Stop. Its lyrics consist of this unique sentence repeated over and over. When we were writing the project, the Italian government was enacting a stricter law on informal social gatherings with music, such as raves. We immediately thought that music, after years of social limitations, is one of the strongest pleasures we can count on. Music discloses pleasure. We are not organising a rave, even if we will have DJ sets, but we want to address the connection between bodies, music and pleasure.
MUSIC NON STOP will take place at Spazio Kor (Asti, Italy) from 13-17 September 2023.