On 29 September 2021, CULTURESCAPES opens its 16th edition, which also marks the start of a new festival series focusing on regions of global significance.
For two months, artists, activists, and cultural actors from all parts of Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador will be present in over 40 cultural institutions in Switzerland, Germany, and France. With its programming, CULTURESCAPES as a format goes beyond the usual cultural events.
CULTURESCAPES 2021 Amazonia aims to provide access points to this critical ecological and social space, establishing a deeper exchange of knowledge with Switzerland and Europe. CULTURESCAPES also aims to raise awareness about the threat posed to the Amazon by climate change, as well as about the importance of indigenous cultures and global social responsibility.
The framework for this approach and examination is formed by four thematic lines that overlap and are interconnected:
The Amazon river is vast a network of waterways that connect the continent from the Andes to the Atlantic ocean. It serves as a blood circulation system for the tropical forest, for the cloud generation and movement, and the people that live around it. It is important to see the river also as a metaphor of life, connectivity, and communication.
The new geological era of crucial human influence on the Earth brings challenges of climate change and reviewing the concepts of progress and development. The need to search for new formats of relations between peoples and between humans and non-humans (various agents of nature) is urgent and is an important topic for a variety of artists.
Colonial history of South America created an environment of an intense and often quite tense co-habitation of different peoples and cultures. These peoples, their traditions and ways of lives, their stories and visions, rights and fights, interrelations between each other and nature is what is at the core of the Amazonia. Their voices need to be heard through the festival texture.
Violence and peace
Not only in the past but very much in the present, South America and its Amazonian part is a continent of extensive violence. What is Europe’s role in these processes nowadays? How peace and reconciliation are envisaged by artists and thinkers?
Another important focus of the festival is the overwhelming impact of COVID-19 on the region. The pandemic has also affected preparation for CULTURESCAPES 2021 Amazonia. However, we are confident that the festival will take place between the end of September and the beginning of December, both with the usual physical as well as with new virtual formats.
CULTURESCAPES is a multidisciplinary festival that aspires to promote cross-border dialogue and mutual learning between cultures, as well as cooperation and networking. Our mission is to be the platform for advocacy for more inclusive, pluricultural, open, and responsible societies.
Since 2003, the festival focuses on the cultural landscape of a country or a region. Based in Basel, Switzerland, it extends its presence far beyond one city involving up to ten other Swiss cantons and the neighboring regions of Germany and France.
With each edition of the festival, the number of partners and audience outreach steadily increases. At the moment, we collaborate with about 40 cultural institutions in Switzerland.
Each festival edition occurs in the fall and goes on for 2 months presenting over 200 events to an audience of almost 60,000 visitors. With each new edition, the festival researches diverse cultural and social experiences, ranging from Georgia (2003) to Israel (2011), the Balkans (2013), Tokyo (2014), Iceland (2015), Greece (2017), and Poland (2019). The festival program includes performing and visual arts, film and literature, university lectures, open public debates and tailored programs for younger audiences.