“SPAfrica” is a collaboration between the German-Dutch director Julian Hetzel and the South African-Bernese performer Ntando Cele about empathy and extractivism. The project explores how closely racism and capitalism are linked through the element of water as a central conflict. It explores the limits of empathy and exposes its problematic mechanisms. What if empathy is a practice and an active technology that is not designed to change and challenge privilege and power, but is in fact a tool that reinforces them?
“SPAfrica” introduces a sustainable product that is as contradictory as it is unambiguous: drinking water that comes from sub-Saharan regions and is imported to Europe. SPAfrica – the world’s first empathy drink. The project combines the extraction of natural resources with a more poetic idea of extractivism, working with tears as an alternative raw material.
The artistic proposal goes beyond the commercialization of concrete materials and addresses the possibility of capitalizing on intangible values such as identity and cultural background. In the international art market, these have become valuable assets of value creation. It seems that trauma is the new gold of the arts. What does it take to turn a negative resource into something valuable?
Julian Hetzel has a broad artistic portfolio as a director and initiator of formally very diverse theater productions, which often have an installative character and point strongly beyond theatrical fiction in their political power. Ntando Cele is well known not only in Bern, but also at international festivals and guest theaters, e.g. as creator and performer of the productions “Go Go Othello” or “Black Off”.
Europe has far too much of many things and Africa far too little. In “SPAfrica” it is exactly about this, but with an invented example. Ntando introduces us to a drink that has never existed. The drink consists of a liquid that we all have enough of. But in Europe it plays a different role than in Africa.
Künstlerische Leitung: Julian Hetzel
Mit: Ntando Cele
Dramaturgie: Miguel Angel Melgares
Musik & Komposition: Frank Wienk
Künstlerische Beratung: Sodja Lotker
Technische Leitung: Cesco van der Zwaag, Martijn van Nunen
Produktionsleitung: Marieke van den Bosch
Koproduktion: auawirleben, CAMPO, Théâtre Vidy-Lausanne, Schauspiel Leipzig, SPRING Performing Arts Festival
Unterstützt von: Onassis AiR Athens