An interdisciplinary platform dedicated to the exchange of knowledge, ECAS is held every two years in a European capital, bringing together over 2000 researchers and civil society actors from across the world. ECAS 2015 – the sixth edition – will take place at the Sorbonne, under the aegis of France’s two most important African studies institutes: Institut des Mondes Africains (IMAF) and Les Afriques dans le Monde (LAM).
Alongside the colloquium, IMAF is organizing AFRICA ACTS, a weeklong event dedicated to performance art in Africa and her diasporas. Developed with a large, local and international audience in mind, AA will take place in locations across the city of Paris and its Northern suburbs. The very first event of its kind in France, AA will offer ambitious and innovative programming focused on the work of artists at once highly original and deeply engaged. Choreographers, playwrights and actors, poets, composers, filmmakers, scenographers, street artists, DJs and VJs hailing from cities across the globe will meet and collaborate.
The artists who will be taking part in AA work resolutely outside the box. They share a refusal of easy choices and a dedication to forms of expression that push the boundaries of their respective disciplines. Their practices speak truth to power, rejecting in manifold ways the social, political and economic violence of our contemporary world and seeking, simultaneously, to transcend it. Theirs is art that re-enchants the social order, thinking it through the prism of imaginaries that stand on their heads clichés and ready-made ideas.
AA is not a survey, an all-encompassing take on performance art(s) in Africa and the Diaspora. It does not seek to be exhaustive, but to offer to a diverse group of artists a carte blanche: a space of interaction to enter upon as they wish, in dialogue with a wide range of audiences. With this in mind, the event will take place in and around many types of venues: contemporary art spaces, museums, galleries, theatres large and small, streets and plazas, gardens and marketplaces. In these various arenas, at a time when Paris welcomes visitors from around the globe, the city will be abuzz with the work of artists who are among the international art scene’s most thoughtful and challenging practitioners.
From Lagos to New York, Tokyo and Paris, art from Africa and her diasporas is booming. AA reflects this state of affairs and builds upon it, focusing on forms of performance that stand at the very cusp of contemporary practice.