Not so long ago, we claimed to be capable of delineating with more or less precision the border between here and elsewhere. Today, such an exercise is futile. Borders now have a tendency to distend, if not to dissolve. Inexorably.1
Have you ever tried to trace the borders of a country or city on an empty map?
There is perhaps nothing as abstract as that thin line drawn on paper, acting as a barrier.
These lines not only divide territories into geopolitical maps, they also inadvertently transform private, poetic, and imaginary spaces without our knowledge. They provide a false sense of security and immunity, while being the subject of claims and regulations. They are closely related to the way we perceive ourselves; to our understanding of identity and otherness. Once these lines and boundaries take hold of us and our surroundings, they unavoidably lead to the erasure of all that we share in common. As philosopher Achille Mbembe so aptly writes, we believe it is incumbent upon us as “passersby” to “secure, organize, and govern passages instead of leading to new closures.”
It is thus quite natural for this inspiring though often polarizing issue to become a central theme in the construction of the OFFTA’s 12th edition. Firstly, because it is intrinsic to the very nature of the festival. Each edition, we strive to blur the boundaries, whether disciplinary or imaginary, in order to welcome all forms of hybridity.
Then, of course, through the practice of the artists comprising this edition, for they are among those who work to break down the walls that surround us. They do so by (re)imagining the world, by confronting it and its various facets, and by providing us with the space required to envision new perspectives.
These artists who fearlessly challenge the lines that we have unknowingly established within us; we are convinced that they are part of the solution.
So let’s allow them the space to break through;
To breach the imaginary walls that have been holding us back.
So that finally, they may collapse and let other worlds emerge from their debris.
The co-directors and team of LA SERRE – arts vivants