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Fierce Festival 2013: Birmingham’s international festival of live art

Date uploaded: September 25, 2013

Fierce Festival 2013: Birmingham’s international festival of live art
October 4th – October 6th, 2013

Fierce Festival 2013 is the collision of many dialogues, ideas, slow cooked ambitions and unexpected twists. We see the festival as the public manifestation of a diverse set of artistic activities (workshops, site visits, conversation, collaboration, inspiration) that build throughout the year and culminate in this celebratory communal gathering.

To open the festival (Friday 4th October) culinary wizards Blanch & Shock will serve a feast made with with seasonal ingredients grown at Edible Eastside, Digbeth’s urban allotment. These vegetables were originally planted at our Start Party back in April. Gardening is a useful metaphor for our approach to producing a festival.

Fun With Cancer Patients by Brian Lobel, or Sounds Like Catastrophes by Eva Meyer-Keller & Sybille Müller, have involved extensive workshops with young people in Birmingham several months in advance of the exhibition or performances that you’ll see. In both cases the projects are elevated by the beautiful idiosyncrasies of their participants.

The festival changes shape annually to find a form that best accommodates the work we are presenting. The programme this year is an intensified weekend of one-offs. This spirit is embodied by the ‘pack’ Wolf in the Winter, who descend on a city, wilfully uncertain of exactly what they will do and how long it will last.

In 2013, for the first time, In Between Time, SPILL and Fierce occurred in the same calendar year. Collectively they have named this ‘A Year of Live Art’. They have marked this by inviting one international highlight from each of the preceding festivals to perform at Fierce. Worktable, by Kate McIntosh from In Between Time in Bristol and Heather Cassils’ Becoming An Image from SPILL in London. They will also be inviting writer Diana Damian to consider how the festivals resonate with each other, culminating in a text to be published later in the year.

As recipients of a grant from the European Commission Culture Fund for festivals, Fierce have been able to expand their international outlook. This year the programme includes artists from Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Scotland, Sweden, Spain, Netherlands, France and Switzerland. Beyond Europe Fierce are working with artists from Lebanon, the United States and Australia. Their ongoing exchange with Next Wave festival in Melbourne continues to be enriching.

Their partnerships, ranging from Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Teenage Cancer Trust to Warwick Arts Centre, bring multiple textures to the programme. At Warwick, the festival finale unites the seductive glitchy beats of Nicolas Jaar with the symphonic psychedelia of New York’s Joshua Light Show, an ambitious co-presentation with the Barbican, London.

2013 is Fierce’s 15th Anniversary! The festival has taken many turns since its founding as Queerfest by Mark Ball in 1998. They have celebrated our birthday by delving into Fierce’s archive. But they are also looking to the future, with a series of projects made with teenagers that include Rehearsing Revolution by Authentic Boys, and the continuation of our young people’s digital journalism project Fierce Press Gang.

Click here to view the programme.

Click here for more information on the fierce website.