(Photograph copyright Beniamin Boar)
When it comes to dance in Switzerland, there is no way around Marc Streit.
This Zürich/Los Angeles based curator and networker in the performing visual arts space is also the brains behind the upcoming zürich moves! Festival. For the past five years, Streit has managed to establish the festival on Zürich’s event calendar. As the founder and curator, it is his passion to attract ever more local and international acts to Zürich.
Find out how Marc Streit has managed to grow this inspiring performing arts festival way beyond Switzerland. I recently kicked off my series of 44 minute chats with this talented Swiss artist.
Marc, how did this five year adventure start?
Marc: As a cultural entrepreneur, I have always had a creative mindset and an artistic eye. The zürich moves! Festival originated in the idea of bringing dance and movement based performances to more hybrid spaces. This could be off-spaces or galeries, with the artistic flow breaking the Greek meaning of “scenography”. The audience is separated from the stage and thus created a unique “happening” between the performer and the spectator.
The zürich moves! Festival has grown in the past five years and has contributed to create an international visual performing arts scene in Zürich. Also, it exposes Swiss artists internationally.
(Photograph copyright Isabel Lewis)
Tell us more about this year’s edition. What’s in it for us?
Every edition of the festival has a unique theme. Previous themes have been Queer Culture, Identity, Middle East, or Personal Bondaries. And since the first edition, we have been presenting contemporary dance, dance films and performance art developed in the context of boundary crossing and gender transcending artistic engagement.
The zürich moves! Festival lies at the intersection of art and life, where visual performances use the body as a tool to narrate. This edition rotates around the concept of time and persistency - in art as in life. It is about breaking rules and boundaries between performers and spectators, creating interaction and freedom within the situation that flows in a continuum over the four days of the festival.
These visual arts performances are a completely new experience for the artist who needs to adapt to the response of a “moving” audience, and make the spectator part of the performance.
Who are the artists performing?
There are several Swiss and international visual performers with completely different backgrounds. Take Isabel Lewis, a Berlin based artist of Dominican and American origins. She will perform an “Occasion” on March 18 at Walcheturm, an intervention influenced by the location in which it takes place. It represents an invitation to the audience to participate in a sensory, intellectually stimulating experience in a hospitable atmosphere.
Isabel creates “Occasions” in which text, music, dance, plants, food and aromas concur to create a unique experience for both the artist and the spectator. zürich moves! 2016 will be presenting long durational works in a non-stop cycle over the period of 78 hours.
The full program can be found online, and the viewers will have the chance to come and go during the performances and even stay overnight. Events will be taking place in multiple locations, and in particular at the Tanzhaus Zürich.
Where do you see yourself in five years? What is next for you?
zürich moves! is like a child to me. It felt right to organize it all these years ago, as it was a response to an artistic urge of creating something unique and inspiring for Zürich. Nevertheless, there are constant challenges in this role, including something all events like this face: Raising of enough funds to deliver the event, to securing the premises with permissions and managing the artists.
Sometimes, I think of letting the child go, as every year it is a new start and it would be great if the festival could at one point walk alone with the support of a funding association. Personally, I would like to continue developing the work done so far on this more fluid concept of visual arts, or simply hybrid spaces that allow the interesting mix of different art forms. I am definitely interested in working on more international projects and will be co-curating the Queer Biennial II this June in Los Angeles.
Zürich has changed a lot in last ten years, and an event like zürich moves! is clearly a proof of this change. Where does the city find the inspiration to change, and who or what inspires Marc Streit?
Zürich has become a magnet attracting people with new ideas from here and abroad. I also believe there are many out-of-the-box thinkers out there. By traveling and experiencing the world, they make a change by contributing to create a new artistic scene in the city.
Frankly, my admiration goes to those people who every day step out of their comfort zone to create something different and thus contribute to a change. Among these "crazy" people, there are those who have contributed to create the festival, like the partner venues and the main co-producer Tanzhaus, without whom it would have not been possible to have five editions of zürich moves!