With a participation of more then 90 cultural operators, partners, hosts, artists and experts from 13 European countries around the Black and North Seas, the gathering held in Odessa, Ukraine, heard the results of the 6 month Dating/rendezvous process (field work of the artists). The artists gave their presentations to each other and to a group of cultural operators and producers who had been invited by 25++ and Intercult to hear the results of the dating process. It was hoped that the producers would (as a consortium) be able to commission the artworks with Intercult as part of the Black/North SEAS project (2008-2010). Also at the gathering were a number of representatives from the coastal cities, towns and resorts that the artists had visited.
The meeting took place at the Ukrainian Music Drama Theatre and was hosted by the theatre’s director Valentina Prokopenko and at the Londonskaya Hotel for the public conference held in connection to the gathering. The visitors were addressed by Oleg Dolzhenkov (Head of International Relations, City of Odessa) and Nadiya Babich, Head of the Department of Culture and Tourism. The first evening saw a presentation of Edip (Oedipus Rex by Sophocles) by Ukrainian director Dmitro Bogomazov supported by the Regional Administration of Odessa.
The first plenary session held on the 26th April focused on the presentation of Odessa by Lyudmila Tatsenko of the British Council in Odessa. She reminded the gathering that the great Russian poet Alexander Pushkin, who lived in internal exile in Odessa between 1823–1824 wrote in his letters that Odessa was a city where 'you can smell Europe”. Our host in the Ukrainian Drama Theatre, Valentina Prokopenko, analysed the situation of the contemporary art in Odessa. Karmella Tsepkolenko described the musical life of the city. The main event of the first session was a showing of the 25++ documentary by film maker Gilles Coudert. In the afternoon, and at the special arrangement of the Regional Administration of Odessa, the visitors were given access to the closed Opera House of Odessa which is under construction to see the conservation work. Two dates presentations followed – Nedyalko Delchev/Lotte van der Berg and Bogomazov/Siri Hermansen. In the evening was a special performance of the Ukrainian Decamerone at the Ukrainian Drama Theatre by director Vladislav Troitsky.
On the 27th April the gathering moved to the Londonskaya Hotel, for the public conference on Arts and Science – the culturebase.net Encounter as part of the Europe Now-Europe Next project. This was an opportunity for the artists and experts to meet and some of the general public of Odessa in a discussion.
The discussions were moderated by Adrienne Goehler, curator from Germany, and Chris Torch, artistic director of Intercult. Roman Brodavko (Head of Department of Culture and Arts, City of Odessa) and Volodymyr Mischeryakov (Head of Department on Cultural Heritage Protection, City of Odessa) welcomed and addressed the gathering.
Other speakers included Viktor Karamushka a Black Sea environmentalist; Jacek Dominiczak and Monika Zawadzka, architects and anthropologists from Poland, who presented a mapping of Odessa, analyzing the urban plan of the city; Ralf Steeg, water expert from Germany, spoke about the cleaning process of the rivers in Berlin; Ronny Aanes, from the Polar Institute, Tromso, Norway, described his work in the far North of Norway and the overlaps he found with the work of his artist wife (Siri Hermansen); Kirsten Dehlholm and Ralf Richardt Strobech, co-directors of Hotel Pro Forma and Eugenio Barba and Julia Varley, from Odin Teatret, both theatre companies from Denmark, presented the artists statement.
After lunch, the session continued with 2 Dates presentations in the main hall of the Londonskaya: first Theatre du Centaure, France (Camille Galle and Emmanuel Bez) and Tyatro Oyunevi, Turkey (Mahir Gunsiray and Claude Leon); and secondly Metro-Boulot-Dodo (Esther Simpson, Paul Long, Steve Gibbs), UK and Wunderbaum (Walter Bart), Netherlands. The day ended with a performance at Maski, Odessa’s famous comedy-clown theatre.
On the 28 April, the presentations of the dates continued with Hotel Proforma, Odin Theatre and Jacek Dominiczak, Signa Sorensen and Arthur Kostler/ Lola Lafon, Javor Gardev (who presented on his own), Karena Johnson/Melih Gorgun, Dritero Kasapi/Venelin Shurelov; Anne-Lise Stenseth/Cosmin Manolescu. The day finished with the guest performance “Deleted Messages”, by Badco, Croatia, a production from Intercult’s the first SEAS cycle (2003-2005).
„Overview of the Arts and Science Encounter in Odessa and the Black/North SEAS Gathering“
Odessa is a city where you can smell Europe...Alexander Pushkin
Author: Adam Jeanes
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