Grand Re Union materialises in the context of multiple crises. The pandemic outbreak only highlighted its complexity, making it clear there is no way back to “normal”, as the “normal” had not been working anyway. The ongoing revolution in Minsk, murder of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement in USA, revolution and explosion in Beirut, disastrous fires in California, Brexit, a war in Armenia, violently populist governmental actions in Brasil, a campaign against LGBTQ+ society and Women’s Strike in Poland, turbulent elections – this restless series of events recalls just a bit of what had happened within months from June to November 2020. What is at stake here is the social and political order, a need to reclaim the agency, to have the right to choose the way we gather, build relationships and structure our societies.
The GReU idea has been articulated in response to the urgent need of reflecting the current context and explore the political potential of choreography as a way to think, to act and to perceive reality. We aimed at challenging the way we gather, hosting a variety of views and practices, experimenting possible and impossible alternatives.
But can we actually practice listening to the registers we might not know yet? Are we able to sense the complexity of the ecosystem we operate in on the every day basis? Questioning our relation with humans and other-than-human and opening for possible alternatives in co-existing can become a uniquely inspiring, strengthening experience. It is not about escaping from reality, on the contrary – it is about shifting the perspective of how we perceive it and looking for ways to reshape its very structure.
So here we go, in the middle of this turbulent time, inviting you to delve into the map of ghostly landscapes and haunting sounds. Following Ingrid Vranken’s exciting invitation, we are taking you for a walk between the everyday experience and its unexpected, sometimes unnoticed layers. Ghosts can be understood here as a sound coming from the past, a forgotten narrative, that has never been heard. A history of the struggles of the silenced ones, a vanishing present or a haunting future, a future that could have happened if only other voices were allowed to speak.
Participation in the struggles we are facing these days is exhausting: physically and emotionally. Therefore I believe we need building new, unusual alliances. I used to think that the imagination can be a strong political tool, helping to cope with reality. But one of the lessons from the recent months that I have learnt is that imagination can quickly become exhausting if practiced in isolation. I realised that while longing for reaching out to others (humans and other-than-human) through different surfaces than a flatness of a screen and a sight of very tired eyes. What if we think of the ghosts as modes of perceiving what remains invisible and inaudible? As diverse ways of noticing the materiality of realness? Can the embodied practice of sensing the traces open the perspective we might have never thought of otherwise? We may or may not notice the ghosts, but let’s follow the imaginative and political potential they offer.