TO AUTHENTICITY… AND BEYOND!

TO AUTHENTICITY… AND BEYOND!
TO AUTHENTICITY… AND BEYOND!

There has been a striking increase in the use of the word ‘authenticity’ over the past few years: in newspapers and other media, in various forms of discourse, and especially also in discussions of art and artists. The precise definition of the concept is not always clear, however. ‘Being authentic’ appears to be a general value or value judgement. The idea being that whatever is authentic is a cut above the rest: original, pure, real. 

In the 18th century, philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau turned his back on manmade society and withdrew into nature to find himself. In contrast to the rationally organized society that restrained the individual in a normative straightjacket, he idealized sublime nature. In the overwhelming and unspoiled power of nature, Rousseau began to discover the unspoiled origins of humanity. This new path of the authentic self would become a leitmotif of modern self-understanding for centuries.
While Rousseau’s self-liberation was driven by rebellion and emancipation, the search for one’s true self has now becoming mired in an obsession with individuality. While Rousseau went in search of inner transformation outside society, authenticity has become an imperative of the system, fed by social media and politics. Being authentic is increasingly becoming a question of outward display and self-marketing.
The market is skilfully capitalizing on this development: in neoliberal society, an authentic lifestyle is a question of the choices that you make as a consumer. And it works exceptionally well: artisanal products are just a little tastier, unspoiled travel destinations just a little more attractive, traditional customs just a little more meaningful, reality TV just a little more exciting, and participatory art just a little more real.
But what does self-liberation mean when we are so effortlessly led by whatever the market touts to us? What is originality when we buy the same authentic products in droves or strive for the same authentic lifestyle. In the urge to be ourselves, we risk becoming increasingly similar. And if this is the result, what do we think to find in this urge for the ‘real’ or the ‘original’? When does the desire for authenticity become collective nostalgia, conservatism, or fundamentalism? And is this desire not an enormous paradox anyway in a digital age when we simply click and swipe from one artificial, simulated reality to the next?

In the growing critique of Western, modern thought, an increasing number of voices are calling for a revision of historical and philosophical constructions. They invite us to ‘un-learn’ patterns of thought and narratives and to be receptive to whatever this exercise produces. What is more, this process reveals a desire for ‘realness’, in an age in which reality often no longer feels real or sincere. Throughout the season, we are bringing artists and intellectuals together to focus on this desire. Where might the search for truth and origins take us, if we are prepared to look beyond authenticity?

Jed Martin

Autoportrait/Zelfportret

theatre

Autoportrait/Zelfportret
Autoportrait/Zelfportret

Kaaistudio's

20.09 – 21.09.2018

Maarten Doorman

On Authenticity and the True Self

talk

On Authenticity and the True Self
On Authenticity and the True Self

Kaaistudio's

21.09.2018

Didier Eribon

Conversations #1

talk

Conversations #1
Conversations #1

Kaaitheater

24.09.2018

Katja Dreyer

Ophelia comes to Brooklyn

theatre

Ophelia comes to Brooklyn
Ophelia comes to Brooklyn

Kaaistudio's

25.09 – 26.09.2018

Elke Van Campenhout

Authenticity and Spirituality

talk

Authenticity and Spirituality
Authenticity and Spirituality

Kaaistudio's

28.09.2018

Juan Domínguez

My Only Memory

performance

My Only Memory
My Only Memory

Kaaistudio's

28.09 – 29.09.2018

Jan Steen

Being in Playing

talk

Being in Playing
Being in Playing

Kaaitheater

29.09.2018

Lisaboa Houbrechts / Kuiperskaai

Hamlet

theatre

Hamlet
Hamlet

Kaaitheater

29.09.2018

Petra Van Brabandt

To Heat By Melting

talk

To Heat By Melting
To Heat By Melting

Kaaitheater

16.11.2018

Mette Ingvartsen

to come (extended)

dance

to come (extended)
to come (extended)

Kaaitheater

16.11 – 17.11.2018

Ivana Müller

Conversations out of place

theatre

Conversations out of place
Conversations out of place

Kaaitheater

21.11 – 22.11.2018

Annie Dorsen

The Great Outdoors

theatre

The Great Outdoors
The Great Outdoors

KANAL – Centre Pompidou

22.11 – 25.11.2018

Bruno Latour & Frédérique Aït Touati

INSIDE

lecture performance

performance

talk

INSIDE
INSIDE

Kaaitheater

24.11.2018

Laurence Van Ypersele

Authenticiteit en de Groote Oorlog

talk

Authenticiteit en de Groote Oorlog
Authenticiteit en de Groote Oorlog

Kaaitheater

08.12.2018

Thomas Bellinck / ROBIN

Memento Park

theatre

Memento Park
Memento Park

Kaaitheater

08.12 – 09.12.2018

Afua Hirsch

Conversation #2

talk

Conversation #2
Conversation #2

Kaaistudio's

21.01.2019

Julian Warner

On Racial Authenticity

talk

On Racial Authenticity
On Racial Authenticity

Kaaistudio's

25.01.2019

Ligia Lewis

Sorrow Swag

dance

Sorrow Swag
Sorrow Swag

Kaaistudio's

25.01 – 26.01.2019

Els Dietvorst, Dirk Roofthooft & Aurelie Di Marino

MEMENTO MORI! !IROM OTNEMEM

theatre

MEMENTO MORI! !IROM OTNEMEM
MEMENTO MORI! !IROM OTNEMEM

Kaaistudio's

21.02 – 23.02.2019

SYMPOSIUM

The School of Speculative Documentary

debate

The School of Speculative Documentary
The School of Speculative Documentary

Kaaistudio's

25.02.2019

Rolando Vázquez

Authenticity, Decoloniality, and the End of the Contemporary

talk

Authenticity, Decoloniality, and the End of the Contemporary
Authenticity, Decoloniality, and the End of the Contemporary

Kaaitheater

02.03.2019

Faustin Linyekula / NTGent

Histoire(s) du Théâtre II: Eternal Laws of African Dance

theatre

dance

Histoire(s) du Théâtre II: Eternal Laws of African Dance
Histoire(s) du Théâtre II: Eternal Laws of African Dance

Kaaitheater

01.03 – 02.03.2019

Nina Power

Conversation #3

talk

Conversation #3
Conversation #3

Kaaitheater

08.03.2019

Thijs Lijster

Conversation #4

talk

Conversation #4
Conversation #4

Kaaistudio's

01.04.2019

The Political Party

Alternative Election Show

debate

Alternative Election Show
Alternative Election Show

Kaaitheater

30.04.2019