KFDA012: Museum of Natural Science Fiction

Kurt Snoekx
© Agenda Magazine
(© New Forms of Life)

For its performances the New Forms of Life collective makes up fictional stories that augment reality with the fantastic. In Natural Mysteries they explore, with the audience, a number of rooms at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, where the existing collections are used for a poetic guided tour of an alternative world.

New Forms of Life is in itself a “new form of life”, exploring new forms of art.
SAM FORSYTHE: We [Franziska Aigner, Billy Bultheel, Daniel Jenatsch, Enad Maroufn, and Samuel Forsythe - MB] formed this company in Frankfurt two years ago and we all have different backgrounds in the arts. We came together out of a strong desire to do something that crosses the boundaries of disciplines. The name of the collective reflects our ambition of constantly trying to challenge ourselves without ever getting locked into one way of looking at things. One consistent element in our performances is the use of fictional scenarios. We approach real-life situations as if they were fiction.
In Natural Mysteries the collection of the Natural Science Museum is the location for a “guided tour”.
FORSYTHE: We don’t want to give too much away yet, but let’s say that it is a science fiction performance. Through the narrative, which is more a reinvention of the context of the museum in a different time and space, we hope to achieve an experience of the museum that dissolves the borders between the real and the imaginary, and access all the potential meanings that the museum may contain. We all like the Natural Science Museum because, on the one hand, it is supposed to represent a rational, organised scientific view of nature, but on the other hand it is a very symbolic and almost surrealistic environment, where the relationships between the exhibits are not always clear or are extremely complex. For instance, if you were to go into the whale hall, which contains all the whale skeletons, not knowing what a whale was, you might not come out knowing it. There are few depictions of whales, only those huge skeletons hanging from the ceiling that give you the impression of being submerged with them. The room doesn’t only fulfil a scientific purpose, but becomes symbolic and to a certain degree abstract. Not only the natural world is expressed, but also social, mental, and emotional environments.
As a collective we look for constellations of the exhibits and their architecture to which we can attach ideas that are not normally associated with the museum. Especially in the more old-fashioned rooms with a certain powerful aesthetic that allows the imagination to come into play. Those rooms rely on your prior knowledge of natural science, but once this knowledge no longer applies, they become very dreamlike spaces.

> New Forms of Life: Natural Mysteries 5, 6, 9 > 12/5, 19.00, €12/16, EN, Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences

4 > 26/5 • Verschillende locaties/Divers lieux/Various venues
Centredufestivalcentrum: Schildknaapsstraat 50 rue de l’Écuyer, Brussel/Bruxelles, 
070-22.21.99, tickets@kfda.be, www.kunstenfestivaldesarts.be

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