ZKB Patronage Prize 2018

«Mining Stories» by Silke Huysmans & Hannes Dereere (Brazil, Belgium)

Statement of the jury

«What would the world be like, if we were speaking powerfully to people who are listening consciously in environments, which were actually fit for purpose?» This question literally lingers on after the end of «Mining Stories». Silke Huysman and Hannes Dereere impressively manage to prove that theatre can comply with this request. In their first stage production, they address the 2015 iron ore dam disaster in Minas Gerais with outmost respect and determination. Fully aware of our visually oriented representational culture, the Belgian artist duo relies on an impressive yet simple staging strategy that prefers the voice over images. They generate an open space in which the viewer can individually relate to the avoidable environmental disaster and draw conclusions. Silke Huysmans actions on stage consequently serve the platform which gives a voice to diverse relevant positions on evenly placed and arranged screens. The statements of the interviewees (victims, experts, politicians) are equal and are never exhibited or exposed. Due to the consequence of this approach, Sikle Huysmans and Hannes Dereere do not appropriate the stories of the victims and thus avoid the trap of conventional documentary theatre. They rather uncover the frightening interconnectedness of personal, entrepreneurial and eco-political interests. «Mining Stories» exemplifies that there is no unique historiography but always multiple perspectives and realities. Huysmans and Dereere have composed a performative writing of history with an honest, ethical statement with regard to eco-political topics and issues.

The jury unanimously decided to support this work of Silke Huysmans and Hannes Dereere with this prize and equally the courage to real experimentation and possible failure. Especially in an economically oriented climate of efficiency, it is important that artists are given time, space and money without the expectation of immediate results.


ZKB Acknowledgement Prize 2018

«The Architects» by Youness Atbane & Youness Aboulakoul (Morocco)

Statements of the jury
«Me, personally, I was convinced about this collaboration because Youness is one of the most famous artists in Morocco and North Africa.» This sentence kicks off «The Architects», the highly intelligent and clever performance of the Moroccan artist duo Youness Atbane & Youness Aboulakoul. From the beginning, they expose in pleasurable ways how representation formats, art exhibitions and art markets work. The performers wittily criticise the capitalistic system by playing with the bias between being human and the object. Within a most accurately choreographed structure, Youness Atbane and Youness Aboulakoul make themselves the subject as well as the object of their work and thus question the relation of object and art. With this play they skilfully contort institutional (art) systems and lend their work a cosmopolitan character. «The Architects» coherently weaves the cultural background and artistic career of both performers to a multidisciplinary creation which arouses the curiosity about the duo’s future performances.