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25 May 2011

Sideways festival: Call for Projects

Trage Wegen


Sideways is an itinerant initiative for contemporary art and culture, exploring pathscapes in Belgium (August 17th – September 17th 2012). The Sideways Festival is currently accepting artists' proposals.

Andy Vandevyvere

Trage Wegen
Kasteellaan 349A
9000 Gent

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Sideways is a translocal, experimental festival for contemporary art and cultural research, exploring different 'pathscapes' in the northern region of Belgium. This first-time event will unfold on the go across a four week period in the summer of 2012. It foresees a broad program of visual art, walks, live art and site-specific interventions. The project is a joint initiative of an environmental NGO (Trage Wegen), a visual arts' centre (Verbeke Foundation) and an artist collective (Glasbak).

The festival invites artists and audiences to explore the many non-motorized paths and trails folded into the spaces of our everyday life. We propose the term pathscapes to differentiate these landscape lines and their surroundings form motorized roads and streets. Ubiquitous yet overlooked, these pathscapes comprise a broad diversity of 'spaces of going': crooked rural footpaths; cycleways spanning many kilometres; straight tow paths on the banks of waterways; transient 'desire lines' leading from one urban area to another; barely perceptible, overgrown backroads; picturesque hollow ways; etc.

Along these paths and trails, people move around and engage with their surroundings. Sideways sparks an investigation of these familiar places, asking artists to visit them, to rethink or re-imagine our experiences as we go along a variety of pathscapes. As such, the festival aims to question the past history, present use and future potential of these landscape features, as well as our conceptions of time, space, movement and memory.

The event itself moves beyond the conventional spaces of art display and reception. The Sideways programme stages diverse actions and situations on the open-air sites of paths and trails, both rural and urban. The programming blends arts-based and artistic practices with more vernacular forms of creativity and poetic practice that emerge along pathways. As such, Sideways sets out to create a collaborative meeting ground where artists and audiences can experience the multiple charms of being on the go.

The festival will be structured in three distinct but intertwined components:

1. Journey. A variable group of people will move across Belgium from west to east during a four week journey, mainly on foot or by bike. Through fortuitous situations, different forms of spatial engagement - walking, gathering, camping, etc. - and a series of activities - workshops, picnics, encounters, etc. - the traversed landscape will be touched upon, examined, explored and documented. The trek is conceived as an open-ended process of coming-into-being, of distraction and evocation, holiday and research, adventure and experimental praxis. The performers of the trajectory may leave public traces, both physical (traversed terrain) and digital (e.g. festival website and blog).
2. Festival nodes. Along the journey trail and during the consecutive weekends of the journey period, five sites will turn into festival nodes. Here, the trek comes to a halt, sets up camp and the festival opens up to a broad audience. The local communities involved are (tbc): Roeselare, Herzele, Hoegaarden, Turnhout and Zutendaal. Each node or hub location will present a parcourse of concentrated activity: a sequence of live, sonic and visual art to be experienced and enjoyed by an itinerant festival audience. The local pathscapes become nomadic narratives, sites of conception, production and presentation of art works, as well as a platform for public participation and dialogue.
3. Conference. The festival includes a one-day conference at one of the festival nodes, bringing together scholars, artists, cultural practitioners, pathscape users, NGO's and the interested public. By staging a series of lectures, panels, workshops, discussions and performances, the Sideways conference aims to provide a platform for a broader exchange and a shared development of knowledge.


The Sideways Festival is currently accepting artists' proposals.

General considerations and requirements
- All projects must engage with the main thematic thread of Sideways (pathscapes) or address related questions (see also project background below).
- Proposals may concern the journey component of the festival (or a phase thereof), as well as an intervention at one of the festival nodes (or a combination of both).
- Sideways is an outdoor festival taking place along actual footpaths, cycleways and backroads. Projects should consider the here and now of these sites: alongside people purposefully visiting the festival event, many passers-by will come across the works by chance. Overall, audience engagement will be essential to the success of the experiences, for both artist and audience.
- Art projects can deal with the sites (pathscapes) in various ways: physically, experientially, socially, by association, etc. Projects can take the form of outdoor installations, choreographed physical activities, artist-led excursions, work with new/locative media, meetings, ephemeral gestures, performances, sculptures, mapping, etc. Artists may also be involved in the shaping of the festival journey (introducing cues for action, a consistent attribute or focus, a blog or log book, etc.).
- The festival organisation will facilitate local partnerships, undertake all negotiations to allow projects to use public/private space and provide the necessary production facilities (residencies, promotional support, assistance in development of the project etc.). However, artists are expected to be highly involved in the preparation and installation of their exhibit, project or performance.

Procedure and timeline
The collaboration with artists is based upon the procedure outlined below. Depending on the dynamics of the festival's development, some elements may be added or altered.
- August 15th 2011 – Deadline for receipt of proposals and applications.
- Projects will be reviewed and selected by a jury panel including art experts and the Sideways team. Notification of accepted proposals will follow latest August 30th 2011.
- A series of prospective visits to different festival sites will be organized in September 2011. Selected artists will be invited to take part in these exchange meetings, conceived as moments to explore the terrain, match expectations, finetune project forms, etc.
- Selected projects will be realised, presented and/or performed as part of the Sideways festival, between August 17th and September 17th 2012 (tbc).

Proposals - application details
Applications must be written in English, French or Dutch. The complete application (paper or digital form) should be sent to the following address before August 15th 2011:

Trage Wegen vzw
Andy Vandevyvere
Kasteellaan 349A
9000 Gent (Belgium)

Please make certain to include at least the following information:
1. Contact details – name, postal and email address, telephone number and website (if applicable)
2. Name of the project – What's the working title of your intervention?
3. Project synopsis – Give us an explanation of the proposed artistic project. What happens (or is supposed to happen) when an audience experiences your work? Describe its scope or ambition – what is it trying to achieve or trigger? How does it respond to the specific locations of paths and trails? How does this intervention relate to your practice in general?
4. Project form – What kind of work do you propose (performance, installation, walk, web-based, sculpture, etc.)? What's the imagined site for your project (a particular path, trail or route; adjacent fields, walls or trees, etc.)? What's the length/duration of the project? What's the current state of this particular project (ongoing, to be initiated, etc.)? Which specialized needs or considerations should be taken into account (unusual space or installation requirements, production conditions, dependency on weather situation, etc.)?
5. Detailed budget – What's the projected cost for the realization of the project? Please include the following items: your proposed fee, technical costs, material costs.
6. Optional: any useful element to help us understand your idea and proposal - drawings, photos, books, maps, reviews, etc.