Following an international programme marking half a decade of curating and commissioning, spanning Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom in 2019, the Block Universe 2020 programme began in the United Arab Emirates.
In Dubai, Block Universe was invited to curate a programme of performances at Quoz Arts Fest, hosted by Alserkal, on January 24 and January 25. Presenting a series of works in the context of Dubai, the inaugural Middle Eastern programme for Block Universe reflects upon social and cultural histories; diasporic roots, migration and embodied or archival memory. Artists included EglÄ— BudvytytÄ— (LT/NL), Alex Mirutziu (RO) and Himali Singh Soin (IN/UK). More information can be found here.
For Spring 2020, we will return from 25 May to 29 May 2020, with Sessionsâ€“our first virtual performance art festival featuring workshops, podcasts, spoken-word, live performances and music. Further information can be found here.
We are excited to let you know that next yearâ€™s festival will also transition us into a new phase in the Block Universe trajectory. From 2021, Block Universe will curate a major springtime biennial festival in London, whilst continuing to annually commission and curate contemporary performance globally through partnership, collaboration and invitation.
We have made the difficult decision to postpone the sixth edition of Block Universe until May 2021, following the latest advice from the government in regards to COVID-19.
Weâ€™re utterly disappointed we wonâ€™t be able to realise the festival our audiences and artists deserve and expect from us this year. However, itâ€™s also crucially important to us to keep all members of the Block Universe community well during this difficult period and to work with our institutional partners to press pause until safer and brighter times.
We understand the tough times that artists, art workers and freelancers are living through and express our deepest respect and solidarity. We would also like to share A-Nâ€™s guide for organising and action with you here and this link to help fund artists through these troubling times from the Artists and Freelancers Fund. A PDF of other resources we have found useful as a team can be downloaded here. Finally, we wanted to highlight this poignant essay from Paul Maheke, which sums up so much of what many of us feel right now. Thank you, Paul.
We’re deeply saddened by the impact this is having on the many friends and collaborators we work with and we’re thankful for our partners who have been most supportive and understanding. As a non-profit arts organisation relying on project by project grant funding, this will also be very hard for us. It would make a massive difference to us if you would consider making a donation to our programme to help us bring our Block Universe community, with artists at the core, back together in 2021.