”Mellemrum (…) forever changed my view on the Danish capital. I still share the hidden spaces, overlooked details and forgotten stories that I was introduced to back then. Kitt organized these Copenhagen city walks every second year until 2014, and I was captivated every single time. Regardless of it being Per Vers who threw around his rhymes at an old car workshop in Sydhavn, music that you received in the shadows of the mass grave at Vestre Cemetery or private homes that were opened so that stories could be shared, it was pure theatre magic every single time. Thus, it is these extrasensory walks and local stories that constitute the very yardstick, by which I assess the site-specific theatre in general today” – Thor Kidmose, theatre critic, Copenhagen, 16/5 – 19.
”… the hunt for the unknown opens up all our senses and without us noticing, the realistic surroundings merge into the artistic expression. Suddenly all houses and streets are part of the art – ourselves too, as a moving audience. We do not observe the artistic space, we participate in it… the journey is unique, spontaneous and very alive.”
– Stian Omenås, local spectator, Moss, 20/9 – 16.
MELLEMRUM encounters are close collaborations between Kitt Johnson and partners around the world, through which local miniature performance festivals are created, consisting of guided urban walks and site-specific performances by local artists.
The MELLEMRUM encounter concept springs from the site-specific MELLEMRUM festival, a biennale which Kitt Johnson arranged and curated four times between 2008 and 2014, in various parts of Copenhagen. From the very beginning the festival got an overwhelmingly positive reception among critics and audiences alike, which among other things resulted in a nomination for Best Theatre Experience of the Year 2008 at the culture site aok.dk. The MELLEMRUM biennale has its own archival website with both videos and information: www.mellemrum.info/en
The idea of MELLEMRUM encounter is, among other things, to offer a space and a platform for artistic exchange. Furthermore, the festivals are locally rooted and created in close dialogue with the residents of the selected area. The concept is characterised by a high degree of reciprocity and curiosity, both artistically and culturally, and the purpose is not merely to produce art but also to facilitate encounters between artists as well as between artists and residents.
The festivals themselves take the shape of highly unusual urban walks, during which the audience experiences a part of the city or local area from novel angles. The MELLEMRUM guides lead the audience through hidden and forgotten, known and unknown places, to a number of site-specific performances by local artists. With MELLEMRUM encounter it is our hope to give both the audience and local residents a chance to experience their surroundings through a performative lens – and possibly to rediscover the extraordinary in the ordinary.
No two MELLEMRUM encounters are the same, and the course of the encounters vary a lot in terms of length and structure. Sometimes an encounter will be divided into a series of visits over a period of several years; sometimes they will be compressed into one short process within a few weeks. The form and content will be adapted to local needs and conditions. There will always be, however, the following phases:
1) An introductory research phase, where Kitt Johnson will get to know the local area as well as the selected local artists – or she will herself participate in curating the artists, most likely through workshop auditions.
2) When the selection phase is completed, Kitt will use various methods – laboratories, workshops, masterclasses, etc. – to work deep into the site-specific with the selected artists.
3) In the final phase the creation of the festival takes place, as a cooperation between Kitt and the artists – planning and testing the routes and events of the guided urban walks, and each creating a site-specific performance to be part of the route, sometimes also including a new work by Kitt Johnson.
All MELLEMRUM encounters are organised as residencies, as Kitt Johnson will live and work in the local area through longer or shorter periods of time.
Upcoming MELLEMRUM encounters:
Graz, Austria, July/August 2020.
Recent MELLEMRUM encounters:
Tainan, Taiwan, October 2019, Rudkøbing, Denmark, June 2018 – Moss, Norway, September 2015 – May 2016 – September 2016 – Andros, Greece, 2016 – Macao, November 2015 – Budapest, Hungary, September 2015 – Copenhagen, Denmark, August 2015 – Godandugoda, Sri Lanka, January – February 2015 – Macao, China, 2011-13 – Zagreb, Croatia, September 2011 – Copenhagen, Denmark, October 2011 – Athens, Greece, Nov-Dec 2009.
For details of recent MELLEMRUM encounters – click here!
Photo: From the MELLEMRUM encounter festival ‘OFF SITE’, created in collaboration between the choreographers Candy Cook and Kitt Johnson, Macao 2015.
Photographer: Ao Ieon Mike
Performer: Candy Kuok