Artefact Expo/Festival 2023: The Ecstatic Being

Artefact Expo/Festival 2023: The Ecstatic Being

STUK — House for Dance, Image & Sound

Ben Russell, Trypps #7 (Badlands) (still). 

May 29, 2023
Artefact Expo/Festival 2023
The Ecstatic Being: Between knowing and understanding
June 8–25, 2023
Opening: June 8, 7–11pm
STUK — House for Dance, Image & Sound
Naamsestraat 96
3000 Leuven
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Curator: Karen Verschooren

On June 8, STUK opens the doors of its freshly renovated building for The Ecstatic Being, the new edition of Artefact festival. Contemporary art, current events and societal challenges meet in a versatile exhibition, energizing concerts, in-depth lectures and film, and surprising performances. 

“What the rest of us see only under influence of mescalin,
the artist is congenitally equipped to see all the time.
His perception is not limited to what is biologically or socially useful.
A little of the knowledge belonging to Mind at Large
oozes past the reducing valve of brain and ego, into his consciousness.
It is a knowledge of the intrinsic significance of every existent.”
—Aldous Huxley, Doors of Perception, p.33

It is hard not to notice; the interest in mind-altering substances and -practices is on the rise. Some speak about a new psychedelic revolution and eagerly look forward to the possibilities it might bring.

Mind-altering substances, breathing and meditation techniques, music or dance,.. they all have the power to generate a different state of consciousness. They make us perceive and understand our inner world and the world around us in a different way. The ecstatic experience can be understood as an outlier in this scope of altered states of consciousness. The Ecstatic Being takes this experience as a starting point and lens to delve deeper into a variety of altered states of consciousness, the intentions behind them and the contexts in which they take place.

In the West, accounts of ecstatic experiences are usually associated with and limited to the context of religion, sex or drugs. However, The Ecstatic Being takes a much broader scope, looking at ecstasy as a self-chosen state of metamorphosis, a transformation. Sometimes described as a loss of self or ego, it is perhaps better understood as a heightened form of subjectivity; a super-clear awareness of one’s own mind and body stripped of dominant cognitive filters.

An ecstatic experience temporarily overrules the dominant frameworks of knowledge that help determine how we view ourselves and the world. In the West, our knowledge system is mainly characterised by a cognitive, linear way of thinking and reasoning. It broadly involves a rational understanding expressed mainly through language. An ecstatic experience allows us to glimpse at what lies beyond this dominant framework of knowledge. It provides access, as it were, to another form of knowing and understanding.

The Ecstatic Being thus aims to look at these mind-bending practices and altered states of consciousness with an open mind, without judgment, but with an attentiveness to the conditions that make us crave them and the complex and multi-layered ways in which they are present within our society. 

We invite you to come and discover the works, to let go of what you (think you) know, and to follow the artists through their “doors of perception.”

Inspired by the theme, Artefact Sound focuses on escapism, rituals and repetition in music. The program involves a.o. high energy rhythms by Parisian DJ Crystallmess, the ecstatic sound patterns of Bendik Giske, living legend Charlemagne Palestine, a ten piece avant-gamelan orchestra and ear blowing acid dub.

Julius Bockelt, Fia Cielen, Laurie Dall’Ava, Nan Goldin, Tom Hannes, Hanne Lippard, Henri Michaux, Warre Mulder, Matt Mullican, Laure Prouvost, Ben Russell, Jeanne Susplugas, Emma Talbot, Myrthe van der Mark, Sophie Whettnall

Artefact Sound
Afrorack, Alto Fuero, Avalanche Kaito, Bendik Giske, Charlemagne Palestine & Seppe Gebruers, Crystallmess
Dienne, Egidius, Ensemble Nist-Nah, Grid Ravage, Hans Beckers presents La Floresta (+ Berlinde Deman, Nathan Daems & Indre Jurgelevičiūtė), Holsen & Cassiers, Klein, OJOO GYAL, OM Unit presents “Acid Dub Studies” live, Otis, Slagwerk, ssaliva, Use Knife, Vincent Moon & Mohammad Reza Mortazavi

Film, talks and performances
Tom Hannes, Laura Poitras, Erik Thys, Myrthe van der Mark, Sander Vloebergs

Exhibition guide / publication to download from from June 8, 2023

RSVP for Artefact Expo/Festival 2023: The Ecstatic Being
STUK — House for Dance, Image & Sound
May 29, 2023

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