'Concert by a Band Facing the Wrong Way' is a portrait of a group of Western artists who run endlessly onward. It is unclear whether they are fleeing from all the misery in the world that is not theirs or racing towards it. This performance is a pressure cooker bursting with boundless effort, which leads to an exuberant optimism that has lost all sense of direction. The ‘Band Facing the Wrong Way’ consists of Maarten Seghers and Rombout Willems as guitarists and singers and Nicolas Field on drums.
The effort made to communicate in this concert is boundless, but wrongly directed. Something is shouted that is entirely audible but not necessarily comprehensible. ‘Concert by a Band Facing the Wrong Way’ is a performance about effort. About the effort it takes.
The lightning-fast composition and the choreography for men storming endlessly onward: their sounds, light and gestures reverberate off the rear wall of the theatre. This reverberation of effort becomes the tragedy in itself.
I am searching for the potential tragedy in the attempts of pop musicians to communicate and of artists to be heard. This is where tragedy and entertainment come together. They are not presumed to belong together; they do not exist without each other.
The performance of pop music as a metaphor for humanity, of society, of coming together and being together (or at least the desire and the attempt to achieve this), or for the difficulties inherent in getting people together. This metaphorical potential makes music and sound political and of the people. Entertainment’s inherent optimism is a tragedy of unperceived poetic and political significance.
My attraction to the image of a concert expresses the wish to please. And the rejection of the image expresses the desire to be wiser than that. It was John Cage who persuaded me that being wise can be entertaining. He created silence so as to be able to hear the coincidence of reality.
For ‘Concert by a Band Facing the Wrong Way’ I exclude chance and leave not a moment’s silence. All the sounds of reality become material to be used and manipulated for this new composition. Without exception, all the sounds that refer to all possible ideas, people, occurrences, problems, dramas and tragedies are to be blown into the concert hall like a nail bomb. An action that is as compact as possible, with the greatest possible impact.
Maarten Seghers makes objects, installations, performances and music. He has been an integral part of Needcompany since 2001.
In his solo, ‘WHAT DO YOU MEAN WHAT DO YOU MEAN AND OTHER PLEASANTRIES’ (2014) he smartly and inimitably exposes art practices with apparent absurdity and with beauty and hilarity ploughed through the inevitability of our woes. This feast of feelings contains a human life full of love and tragedy. For this production he was nominated for the 2015 Prix Jardin d’Europe for choreographers in Vienna.
In the performance ‘O or The Challenge Of This Particular Show Was To Have Words Ending In O’ (2016) Seghers confronts himself with the artists, musicians and dancers Fritz Welch, Simon Lenski, Nicolas Field and Mohamed Toukabri, for whom he wrote an invocatory song about the noisiness of comforting.
The sculpture ‘Fountain (Late-Pornographic Equilibrium) I’ (2010) is now in the permanent collection at FRAC Nord - Pas de Calais.
In 2006 Maarten Seghers set up OHNO COOPERATION in association with the artist Jan Lauwers and the musician Elke Janssens. Together, they create performances, video works, installations and music. OHNO COOPERATION also invites other artists and musicians to join, and presents these joint ventures in series of international exhibitions and concerts, including ‘The Tragedy of the Applause’.
Needcompany is an artists’ company set up by the artists Jan Lauwers and Grace Ellen Barkey in 1986. Lauwers, Barkey and Seghers form the core of the company, and it embraces all their artistic work: theatre, dance, performance, visual art, writing, etc. Their creations are shown at the most prominent venues at home and abroad. In addition to the presence of Maarten Seghers as a performer in the work of Jan Lauwers & Grace Ellen Barkey, his compositions make a substantial contribution to their productions.
Direction, composition, installation: Maarten Seghers
From And With: Nicolas Field, Rombout Willems
Assistant To The Director: Morgane Benyamine
Sound Design: Pierrick Drochmans
Lighting Design: Ken Hioco
Production Manager: Marjolein Demey
Technical Support: Saul Mombaerts In
Collaboration With: Lot Lemm
Coproduction: L'auditori & Festival Grec De Barcelona, Malta Festival Poznań
With The Support From: Tax Shelter Measure Of The Belgian Federal Government, Casa Kafka Pictures Tax Shelter Empowered By Belfius – Isabelle Molhant, Valérie Daems, Christel Simons
Needcompany Is Supported By The Flemish Authorities