InlanDimensions International Arts Festival 2022 –  Asia Does Not Exist

InlanDimensions International Arts Festival has established itself as Central Europe’s largest multidisciplinary festival that rejects a differentiation between Europe and Asia, building bridges between different countries and cultures. Presenting a kaleidoscope of arts ranging from theatre, performance, dance and cinema to music, literature and visual arts, it brings together artists and audiences from all over the world, launching co-productions and facilitating negotiations between venues and producers through professional language services. Though the central focus of InlanDimensions is on postwar to postmodern art, the festival does not break up with tradition, stressing its transformations and influence on contemporary art. It introduces audiences to the concept of Eurasian theatre and film as a marriage of diverse cultures and genres within a piece of art. We invite a spectrum of artists to create another dimension of that vast intercultural empire that stretches inland.

InlanDimensions International Arts Festival 2022 shines a spotlight on contemporary arts in Eurasia, in order to make the viewer realise the commonalities and differentiations between the various nations and cultures, contesting ingrained stereotypes with "Asia does not exist" as its watchword, quoted after the Ambassador of this year's festival, celebrated expert in literature and Polish studies Prof. Sekiguchi Tokimasa. When we speak of East and West ambiguities inevitably pile up, beginning with the question: Where does East actually begin, and is it not perhaps the case that certain populations which appear Oriental in the eyes of the others see themselves as Western? In order to detect the thin lines between East and West these questions were posed by Jerzy Grotowski, Allardyce Nicoll, Eugenio Barba or Nicola Savarese. Prof. Sekiguchi is echoing them emphatically when he says "What I wish to say is extremely simple. ‘Asia' as such does not exist and the term ‘Asia' is unnecessary as a coherent geographical category that has relevant components in reality. My line of argument is very simple as well. It is facts themselves that do not uphold the term ‘Asia' but confirm that the use of it is redundant. On the contrary, by application of the term our perception of the world gets warped in a way that is hard to avoid and, even worse, hard to pinpoint, and the distorted world image ultimately triggers a distortion of self-knowledge – the image of ourselves.” These InlanDimensions are, after all,  where Arabs, Jews, Indians, Turks, Chinese, Persians, Mongols, Koreans, Malaysians, Japanese and even Russians live. How to find a common denominator in any of the possible categories – geographical, demographic, linguistic, religious or even culinary?

The brainchild of the Bridges Foundation organized in partnership with the Grotowski Institute in Wrocław, the Gdansk Shakespeare Theatre, and the Jan Kochanowski Powszechny Theatre in Radom, InlanDimensions International Arts Festival 2022 showcases a range of theatre productions, films, musical concerts, workshops and meetings as it did before, coming back in the form of fully live events. This year it will feature some key performances by leading contemporary Eurasian theatre artists: Interrupted Dream by Zuni Icosahedron  (dir. Danny Yung), The Respectful Prostitute by Shinjuku Ryōzanpaku Theatre Company (dir. Kim Sujin), The Citizens of Seoul by Seinendan Theatre Company (dir. Hirata Oriza), The Gambler by Chiten Theatre Company (dir. Miura Motoi), or  The Water Station by SEAMI Theatre Group (dir. Kim Seil), which is coming back to Poland after nearly forty years, in keeping with the concept of misemono no fukken (restoration of spectacles).

As in the previous years, selected elements of the theatre programme will be linked to film showings under a shared focus – this time discovering Japanese-Korean relations in the arts and the status of the Zainichi artists of the Korean minority in Japan. The musical headliners will be Kaguramusō in concert, a project that merges subtle sounds of traditional Japanese instruments with the aggressive sound of heavy metal music, and a performance by experimental trio Kūkangendai playing the score live to The Gambler by Chiten Theatre Company. This year's festival will see the Bridges Foundation and InlanDimensions International Arts Festival start collaboration on initiating international theatre co-production projects and wider film distribution. One of our special guests this year will be Koike Hiroshi, who will hold an audition for a Polish-Japanese theatre performance of Cosmos based on the novel by Witold Gombrowicz, co-produced with the Jerzy Grotowski Institute.

Alexander III of Macedon, the greatest Hellenistic ruler, did not live to see his political dream of conquering the Far East come true but he blazed the trail for an immensely rich Eurasian cultural exchange: Hellenic-Buddhist sculptures in the region of Gandhara on India's outskirts, plays by Sophocles and Euripides staged at Susa to grace the weddings of Greek officials and daughters of Persian satraps, the blundering fool vidushaka of a Sanskrit drama – these are just selected examples of the early dimensions of that Eurasian, inland melting pot. The revival of the traditions of Eurasian theatres and extensive international exchange have been made possible by the Organisers, who put their heart and soul into this project, working incessantly with perseverance in tough and ever-changing conditions, as well as the Sponsors: the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office Berlin, Agency for Cultural Affairs, the Japan Foundation, EU-Japan Fest Japan Committee, Arts Management Center Fukuoka, and–  last but not least – the Audience, who have been supporting theatre and cinematic venues throughout the two years, helping them survive the storm. Jerzy Grotowski used to point out that the only thing necessary for theatre to function was a core of actor performing to an audience in a space, so it is you who are the Dimensions that live Inland! 

Nikodem Karolak InlanDimensions International Arts Festival Director