An unsuspecting visitor last night at Theater Kikker may have gotten the impression that the Youtube battle was already in full effect, as festival curators Samantha Culp and Cher Potter opened the Impakt Festival 2012: No More Westerns.
Through a whirlwind of clips from all around the world they introduced the audience to No More Westerns, opening what they called the Utrecht satellite of the China African Think Tank Forum. Of course the Impakt Festival is not connected to this event, but it might as well be in a post-Western world in which America is just another country, China and Africa form alliances that completely bypass the West and visual culture from anywhere but Europe or the United states will fill your televisions, newspapers, movie theaters and cities.
The theme however, is not meant to be anti-Western or anti-American, or even anti-anything. As festival director Arjon Dunnewind puts it in his speech. “Like any hip, postmodern European festival, we like Westerns”.
With the program being as vast as it is, Sam and Cher’s preview could impossibly cover it all, so they made sure everybody got a little taste of what to expect, and left them hungry for more. Next to works from artists like AES+F, the audience was served science fiction from Ghana and India and the African appropriation of Gangnam Style (a.k.a. the ultimate No More Westerns soundtrack – a Korean popsong topping charts in the Netherlands and the United States, with dozens of international remakes appearing online on a daily basis, what more can we ask for?).
Some of the artists and speakers who will be present during the festival already made an appearance this evening, all of them eager to take part in the festival and share their new world perspectives. Festival Fellow Parmesh Shahani even needed to be held back, as he almost went and gave all four of his lectures at once. Be sure to check out his talk at the symposium on News in a Multipolar World. Preceding his Masterclass this morning and MC Nova’s participation in the round tables on Saturday, the official start of the festival was provided by Filastine, who blew everybody away with his audiovisual liveshow.
Although the slang concerned with this year’s festival might be confusing to some (providing a glossary was even suggested), the program is so diverse anyone can find something of their liking. And though acronyms like ENA, BRIC and BASIIC are available in abundance when it comes to a post-Western future, all you need is #NMW.