This year, Malta Festival Poznań is determined by the dynamics of a leap. With the theme of this edition, the Leap of Faith Idiom, we are considering possible variations on the approaches to faith: a risky leap into admiration and beauty, but also into fanaticism. We ask how different beliefs and axiologies can come together in a discussion. Where do dividing lines run, as well as those of understanding?
The festival will begin with a collective cleansing action: the construction then destruction of a cardboard assembly resembling the newly built keep added rather controversially to the historic structure of Poznań's Royal Castle. This innocent albeit subversive gesture by Oliver Grossetête and numerous volunteers will herald various festival projects showing that art has the power to unmask the madness of the world around us, and to protest that madness both as individuals and as citizens.
In the year commemorating Poland's centenary of independence, at a time when freedom, opposition and the struggle for sovereignty are so readily appropriated by nationalist liberation discourses, we propose a reverse narrative. Celebrated young theatre director Aneta Groszyńska and dramaturge Jan Czapliński will address the anatomy of the Polish soul, possessed as it is by the idea of romantic martyrdom. At Malta's invitation, they will create the spectacle inspired by novel Messiások (Messiahs) by the Hungarian writer Györgi Spiró.
Five years since their last visit, Poznań will host the legendary Needcompany from Belgium. Grace Ellen Barkey, Jan Lauwers and Maarten Seghers will meet with the festival audience in a new role: as the curators of the Leap of Faith idiom. Based on the etymology of the word 'curator' (cūro in Latin: to restore to health), they understand this role as one of healing, and wonder how their presence in Poland as guests can resonate with the current socio-political situation. The artistic programme they are proposing provokes the question of how art, dealing with topics such as death, war and religious fundamentalism, can arouse hope. Needcompany - an extraordinary multi-generational collective of artists from various backgrounds - performs leaps of faith every day. Not only by creating new projects, but also by working for the younger generation of artists and for their closest neighbours: the Molenbeek community of Brussels. This is the location of Needcompany's new base, the MILL, which fulfils in practice the idea of a home for the arts that is open to all.
For Needcompany, this concept of community is vital. And at Malta, in like fashion, we never forget how celebrating the city, music and theatre can bring us all closer. Hence Malta's, growing stronger for six years since its inception, is the Generator, a community-arts programme presented at Liberty Square. This year, as before, it will become a meeting place at the intersection of many paths: a venue for music and theatre premieres, installations, workshops and discussions till dawn.
And for the Malta finale, a song will resound in the open space of Wieniawski Park, with everyone invited to sing along to the music of Zygmunt Konieczny in the exciting interpretations of Agata Zubel, arranged by Cezary Duchnowski.
Malta Festival Poznań Director