At Studio Urbanization experimentation is key. Mestizo Arts Platform identifies what the buzz is in the city and who’s creating it. Talents are discovered by open invitation and by the antennae of our extensive network. In the initial experimental stage we work with a multi-disciplinary group of artists from different genres to create a performance or installation. The MAF year theme provides a starting point for the experiment. During this creative process the performers and artists seek a common language. There is also room for individual creativity: everyone starts from their own strengths. An artistic guide helps the group identify their ambitions, encourages cross-pollination and helps translate ideas into new repertoire. We then work with a number of performers on definitive productions for the Mestizo Arts Festival in October. We call this the fast track, because performers often find their way to MAF or other creative professional assignments through Studio Urbanization.
Studio Urbanization is a laboratory for ambitious artists. The first phase? Simmering in their own talents. And when cooked until tender they are handed a megaphone and their innovative voice can resound throughout the city landscape.
Studio Urbanization, first launched as a pilot project in 2009, was the result of collaboration between Arenberg and Fiëbre for the Mestizo Arts Festival. In the early years the emphasis was on young hiphop, rap and spoken-word artists. Gloria Boateng, Salah Ibnou Kacemi from NoMoBS, Simon Den Haerynck and others later collaborated in productions such as H&G (grimmiger), TROOST, the big band B.U.R.K.A., Rumble in da Jungle. In 2014 Fiëbre turned to the visual arts in the hope of discovering new talent. In 2015 we worked with a multi-disciplinary group of artists using the MAF year theme for the first time. The performers collaborating in this study were later selected to participate in the campaign image (‘the MAF wall’) and other MAF productions.
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