The second press conference to announce the double, 54th and 55th Bitef Festival, which will take place between 13th and 25th September this year was held in Belgrade. The conference focused on presenting side programmes, and the opening of the festival centre.As already announced, the thematic focus of the festival, which will be held under the slogan Edge of the Future, will be placed on the concept of post-humanism, in the context of the world which should be less anthropocentric. The vision has developed out of the awareness of the global environmental crisis and a possible cataclysm, which are another two topics of the festival. The attendees of the press conference held in the Kombank Dvorana were addressed by Ivan Medenica, Bitef Festival art director, Miloš Latinović, Bitef Theatre director, and Marijana Cvetković, from the Zajedničko Platform.
Wide-ranging side programme
Ivan Medenica has, presenting all the Bitef side programmes, announced the traditional ones – Meeting the Authors (moderated once again by Milena Bogavac), After Ten parties, which will be somewhat smaller due to the pandemics, Bitef Library, Polyphony, and Cirkobalkana [photo: Christoffer Collina], a festival of contemporary circus, which will once again be organized in cooperation with Cirkosfera. Again this year, Philosophical Theatre, realized by the philosopher Srećko Horvat in cooperation with Maja Pelević, will be held in Belgrade. Horvat’s guest will be the Serbian director Želimir Žilnik. Medenica mentioned a novelty in the side programme – workshops for local artists, which will be held by the French visual artists Franck Vigroux (the author of the performance Flesh, which will be shown in the main programme) and the choreographer Wim Vandekeybus of the company Ultima Vez, whose performance Traces will open this year’s Bitef.
Bitef and Zajedničko platform are organizing an international conference We Are Sitting on a Branch: Solidarity or Downfall
The central part of the side programme is an international conference on climate changes and the crises it has caused, which will be organized by Bitef and the Zajedničko platform, named We Are Sitting on a Branch: Solidarity or Downfall, which will gather about thirty experts in art, politics, philosophy, and activists from Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Hercegovina, France, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland, Mexico, Syria, etc. Some of the participants are Franco „Bifo” Berardi, Boris Buden, Wim Vandekeybus, Srećko Horvat, Amanda Piña, Haris Pašović, Dobrica Veselinović, and Ivana Vilotijević, the Secretary of the Environmental Protection of the City of Belgrade. Talking about the conference, which takes place between 16-19th September in Mira Trailović Square, Medenica stated that it will tackle global and political but also social consequences of eco-crisis that affect theatre in terms of production and art. Co-curator of the conference, Marijana Cvetković, said that if we are responsible to our natural resources as a community and as a society, we must organize all our activities accordingly. The conference will, therefore, consist of various topics and panels, from the ones that treat the environmental problems themselves, to the ones that deal with political aspects of the crisis with a focus on sustainable town management, to the ones that project ecologically sustainable concept of theatre production. Consequently, any kind of events and social acts, organization of a theatre festival included, must be implemented with that in mind. Cvetković concluded that the main message of the conference is solidarity, for only cooperation can lead to better working conditions.