Networks for performing arts in Latin America
Cross-border collaboration among artists sends a meaningful signal, particularly in times of increasing polarization in society. But with production deadlines and working relationships that are sometimes precarious, there is often little scope to critically examine the works of others: Where do we stand with our art in a society? What can we achieve? And how do we perceive current trends?
The SUR academies provide Latin America artists with an independent space for research and development. These collaborations casted a light on the continent’s diversity, differences, and resources while encouraging new views on different social perspectives. Every year, artists from all over Latin America come together at the SUR academies and work together on the future of theater: Movement, the culture of remembrance, or confronting violence and social injustice are just a few of the subjects that are examined. An accompanying scholarship program supports mobility. Projects pertaining to movement are supported by an accompanying stipend program. The academies are the initial spark toward cross-border alliances, collaborations, and projects while also serving as a platform that pursued innovation.
A dialog between art and society
In “labs,” theater makers conduct field research into their societal surroundings and experimented with new ideas. Emerging artists engage in dialog with renowned international artists in workshops, get to know each other’s work, and develop their style through feedback and critical examination. In addition, performances, lecture series, and discussions invite the public to explore these innovative approaches.
Theater – Dance – Live Arts
Each of the three SUR academies focus on a different element of the performing arts. PANORAMA SUR is based in Argentina and focuses on young authors and the creation of new theater pieces. Chile’s MOVIMIENTO SUR emphasize contemporary dance and the subject of movement. Finally, EXPERIMENTA SUR in Colombia is dedicated to multidisciplinary collaboration for developing experimental approaches to cultural work.
Every year, several emerging Latin American artists come to Buenos Aires to reflect on theatrical practices and how they are anchored in society. The main element of the program is a playwright seminar, which lasts several weeks and encourages an exchange between Latin American countries while highlighting the continent’s potential. Supplementary public performances, presentations, and round table discussions provide a broad public audience with a glimpse of the theater’s changing role in society.
PANORAMA SUR has been an initiative of Siemens Stiftung together with the specially established organization THE – Asociación para el Teatro Latinoamericano, an independent artist-based organization for the promotion of contemporary theater in Latin America. The PANORAMA SUR network of partners was supported by Goethe-Institut Buenos Aires, Malba (Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires) – Fundación Costantini and additional changing partners such as IUNA – Departamento de Artes del Movimiento, Complejo Teatral de Buenos Aires, or TACEC – Teatro Argentino.
Using contemporary dance and its innovative potential as a starting point, MOVIMIENTO SUR sees choreographers, dramaturges, artists, and architects come together in labs to address the subject of movement while researching new ideas and projects in an interdisciplinary dialog. Workshops, public panels, performances, and artists’ installations add innovative aesthetic approaches to the discussion.
Siemens Stiftung initiated MOVIMIENTO SUR in 2012 as a collaborative project. Since 2016, the academy has been run by the newly established Fundación Movimiento Sur. Main partners have included escenalborde – Artes Escénicas Contemporáneas, Goethe-Institut Chile, Parque Cultural de Valparaíso, and Consejo Nacional de la Cultura y las Artes de Chile. Recently-added partners include NAVE, INAE – Instituto Nacional de Artes Escénicas Uruguay and MEC – Ministerio de Educación y Cultura Uruguay.
The international academy EXPERIMENTA SUR focuses on current questions relating to the scenic arts and their connection to other creative aspects of society. It brings together artists, curators, dramaturges, and thinkers from Latin America to try out experimental artistic practices known as “Expanded Dramaturgies“(Peter Eckersall). Discussions incorporate a wide variety of disciplines, including aesthetics, philosophy, sociology, gender studies, or political theory.
The academy was initiated by Siemens Stiftung, Colombia’s Mapa Teatro, and Goethe-Institut Bogotá. The respective programs were also supported by cultural institutions, including Institut Français Colombie, Secretaría de Cultura, Recreación y Deporte, Instituto Distral de las Artes – Idartes, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Universidad Jorge Tadeo Lozano, Universidad Externado de Colombia, and Universidad del Rosario.
Together with THE – Asociación para el Teatro Latinoamericano and a close network of local and international institutions, Siemens Stiftung initiated PANORAMA SUR in 2010. MOVIMIENTO SUR and EXPERIMENTA SUR followed in 2012 and 2013. Over the years, a broad network of artists has grown from the academies, which has an impact on the art scene in Latin America. The encounters and experiences among the artists continue to inspire new cross-border cooperation and projects. Additional platforms for exchange and collaboration such as “Documenta Sur” in La Habana, Cuba or “Complexo Sul“ in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil have also emerged.
Embedded in national cultural scenes
Over the years, the three academies have become firmly established in the region. Each program is now independently curated by the artistic directors in the countries, with support from a network of national cultural institutions, private foundations, European cultural institutes, and universities. The Goethe-Institut took on a key role by providing stipends for emerging Latin American artists. The organizers of the academies are also networked with each other to encourage the flow of information and collaboration in the region. Examples of productions that have emerged from these networks can be found in an interview with Joachim Gerstmeier.