“LAbO-Alter Ego" Festival, DeSingle, Antwerp

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Alex Murray-Leslie presents a “proposal” Alter-Ego performance lecture informed by this
years theme, with a choreographer Lisbeth Gruwez performing a “response”.

Words by Artistic Director Marko Ciciliani about this/next years theme:
The exploration of alternative identities – Alter Egos – have a long tradition in the arts. In 1921, Marcel Duchamp for example started to portray himself under the pseudonym Rrose Sélavy, while David Bowie performed as Ziggy Stardust between 1971 and 73. More recently, the playful free-form oscillations between fabricated identities, Alter Egos and DIY celebrities are abundantly to be found in social media. As Beatrice Mustocea puts it, “The fashioning of alter-egos […] has been stripped of pathological connotations and appropriated to a form of self-empowerment or even political stance.” The many manifestations of Alter Egos in the arts show that the adoption of alternative identities can constitute an important outlet for creativity.

The artist’s desire to construct an Alter Ego is often based on the need to evade a form of self-censorship. The alter ego is a mechanism that allows to safely and publicly experiment with forms of expression while keeping the integrity of one’s “official” identity intact. But what is it exactly that makes such mechanisms necessary? Where are the origins of such limitations that are imposed on us as artists that create the need for this escape-strategy? Where do these taboos come from?

These are the questions we intend to investigate in the 2020 edition of ChampdAction.LAbO. We want to provide the incentive to interrogate one’s creative practices; to locate the points where we knowingly, or unknowingly censor artistic options because they do not conform to what we perceive as our “main” identity. During the ten days of the workshop ChampdAction.LAbO offers a safe place to reinvent oneself, to leave safe-zones behind, and to explore the sides of one’s self that remained, yet, under-explored but that may just as well be an essential part of one’s creative potential.

Photo: Ann Eysermans, LAbO #8, 2019.

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