Today is yesterday and tomorrow. Each step we made yesterday has influenced today’s world. Whether we think about tomorrow or not, we influence it. Stef Kamil Carlens, Aarich Jespers and Zita Swoon Group are performing with instrumental music and a video installation.
“Today tomorrow will be yesterday, just as the day before yesterday yesterday was tomorrow. This is easily forgotten, when we think of ourselves in the present. We always seem to think as if only we were the only real ones. The others will see it differently tomorrow, when they look at us. We ourselves will see it differently, when we think of ourselves. The others will see it that way, when they think of themselves. The others will see it differently, when they look at themselves. We must live today, they say. That is more easily said than done. For, we have to live today, and today will be yesterday tomorrow. There is no once and for all.” Claude Lichtenstein. Gestures and Traces from the book Air Made Visible: A Visual Reader on Bruno Munari p. 244. Lars Müller Publishers 2001
Musical directors and compositions by Stef Kamil Carlens (guitar) and Aarich Jespers (drums). Musicians; Wim De Busser + Pieter Baert March/April 2013 (piano, Farfisa organ), Tomas De Smet (contra- and electric bass), Jeroen Baert (violin, acoustic guitar, mandolin), Karel Coninx (alto violin), Seraphine Stragier (cello, harp, autoharp)
Co-production deSingel Antwerpen be Rotterdamse Schouwburg nl Motel Mozaique nl KVS Brussels be. Production Wolvin / Zita Swoon Group vzw supported by the Arts Administration of the Ministry of the Flemish Community
‘New Old World’ is a very catching musical project, a cross-pollination between swinging jazz, pop idioms and a dash of classical music (…) The music is intelligently supported by self-made movies recorded at deSingel. The videos show apparent banal fragments from life. Children playing and drawing, a stage being built, dancing people, young and old. But the combination between music and the movie works really well.
At the end, the world explodes. ‘In a playful way’, says Carlens immediately. ‘I wouldn’t go looking for big messages. You have to try and stay hopeful, right? All the kids in the movies are the musicians’ or mine. You know they’re going to be running around here for a long time to come. So you have to stay positive.’ Koen Van Boxem De Tijd
‘It’s a carefully composed, completely instrumental work, on which he (Stef Kamil Carlens) intensely worked with drummer Aarich Jespers, his most faithful companion on the road (…) Furthermore, both were trained as visual artists and felt it was time to integrate that background in the Zita Swoon Group. ‘New Old World’, for which each wrote half of the material, is a successful combination of music with visual and even theatrical elements. ‘New Old World’ can be abbreviated as ‘NOW’ and that’s handy because the production is about the current state of our planet and the level at which humanity is held responsible. The present is the result of what happened yesterday, but at the same time it carries the seed for tomorrow within. On the one hand, and in various areas, for instance the ecological, it’s five to twelve and we seem to be heading for imminent disaster. On the other hand, the Zitas appear to believe that it’s not too late to work toward a sustainable and just world. To illustrate their message they consciously choose an abstract poetry and the power of suggestion (…) The performance constantly swings back and forth between old and new, uncertainty and optimism, threat and security, nostalgia and futurism, melancholy and frivolity, perception and dream, disaster and feast, but it’s up to the audience to connect the dots. ‘New Old World’ is a layered project that asks some effort from the spectator: a complete concert with new music produces a pile of information and sometimes we had the feeling we fell short of eyes and ears to process everything.’ Dirk Steenhaut Focus Knack
‘Stef Kamil Carlens: ‘An instrumental performance, sometimes poetic, sometimes philosophical, sometimes abstract. It’s a combination of our composed music with film scenes we shot ourselves. Aarich recalls the intimacy of his youth with slides of his trips to France in one of those old Citroën HY-delivery vans, while I try to playfully contrast it with the cold, hard reality of today. I’ve created a few installations, like a spinning, burning globe with colourful monsters flying around it; the world is on fire. We’re combining our visual work with our music for the first time. Something completely new.’ Karin Vanheusden GVA
‘NOW is, after Dancing With The Sound Hobbyist, the next step in what Zita Swoon Group wants to be doing more of: performances based on music, but which are a combination of theatre, dance and visual work. In NOW, man is central. Man comes to this world, eats, drinks, plays, builds, organizes and procreates. He creates his own world within this world without considering the past or the future or the other inhabitants, even if they are of his own kind. That same human is a victim of the ghosts of his actions. Using the interaction between the music and images we want to tell the audience something in a poetic way about living during a crucial time. About the many voices pointing out how important a change is and that it’s not too late to think up and organize a new world. But also about how the old world, the way it’s turning, is unstoppable and disaster seems inevitable. The music echoes sounds from the past: The Shadows, Pinguin Café orchestra and Brian Eno.’ Stef Kamil Carlens
‘I’m making a music collection that has grown from a kind of nostalgia. Old memories form the basis for a musical theme. Like this, the whole is almost like a soundtrack that accompanies the idea around certain situations or incidents. Often cheerful, funny and playful and sometimes also melancholic and sad. Essential in composing are the different musical links to older music that seem intertwined with the memory of a specific time. (For example Nino Rota, Duke Ellington, Hayasaka, Charles Dumont, Ry Cooder…) Two worlds come together by reproducing a certain feeling or by mirroring a certain memory to the present. In a mixture of daydreaming and observing, two layers come together in a new old world. Where it seems as if not everything is subject to the pressure and speed around us, as if everything can escape from reality even for just a moment. That’ s why there are fragments in the arrangements that are a little bit more dramatic, a reference to the rush, chaos and tension in daily life. The video should be able to say something, in a very abstract way, about the duality between people who are open to the world and people who shut themselves out; for instance, the contrast between feast and disaster. About people who, despite the dangers and unpleasentnesses of the outside world, have fun, hoping to make life more bearable.’ Aarich Jespers