April 27, 2020

Quarantine to deliver ‘Ark’ in 7 European cities

We’re building an ark – before it’s too late…

We’re delighted to announce that over the next two years Quarantine will work with partners to deliver a major public project in seven cities across Europe.

The ‘Moving Borders’ project, initiated by a consortium of European theatres, festivals and public bodies, sets out to deliver seven iterations of a single artistic concept that explores the concept of borders. Following a call for proposals, Moving Borders partners have chosen to commission Quarantine and our concept for a project called ‘Ark’.

We will work with the partners and local people to deliver Ark in Strasbourg, France; Athens, Greece; Utrecht, the Netherlands; Dresden and Mülheim, Germany; Porto, Portugal; and Warsaw, Poland.

An ark is a place to imagine, argue and plan for a new and better world. It can transport you there. It’s a refuge.

In each of the seven cities, we will invite local people to build the ark that they want to make. We’ll construct it together and once complete the ark will become the site of a programme of events and encounters between neighbours.

Located on the site of a metaphorical or physical border, Ark will be a public meeting point. It may materialise as a physical space or it may take a conceptual form. Either way, it will create space for encounters, creative inspiration and discourse, and it will be a symbol for a world that welcomes and supports diversity. Each iteration will respond to its local context, but they will be united by an interest in the notion of ‘borders’ and how they manifest in our cities and in our lives – in both productive and unproductive ways.

Through Ark, we hope to bring people together who would not usually meet and find a methodology for dissent. As we face deepening political divisions across Europe, heated debate around migration and rights of belonging, and the accelerating climate crisis, Ark will configure the circumstances for a progressive democratic space. The kind that political theorist Chantal Mouffe describes as agonistic pluralism.

We began the project with a kick-off meeting at the end of March. Scheduled to take place in Dresden, the meeting was relocated to Zoom, with 26 people connecting from their living rooms, kitchen tables and home offices.

It’s an unusual and challenging time to begin such a project – one that will involve extensive travel, that will take place in public space and that, at its heart, is an exploration of how people meet, interact and exist together in cities. But it is also an exciting time to be starting something new and to be thinking about the future. It has never felt more relevant to be thinking about borders – as we individually and nationally erect and enforce our own boundaries to protect ourselves against a virus that breaches borders so swiftly and effectively. The current pandemic will inevitably affect the way we relate to one another and to public space, and we’re fascinated to see how this filters into and influences Ark.

We’re beginning the project preliminaries now, getting to know our partners and making plans. There will – we hope – be laboratories and workshops in autumn 2020 and the seven iterations of Ark will be delivered in spring and summer 2021.

The two-year Moving Borders project, which is co-funded by the European Union’s Creative Europe programme, is being led by Hellerau – European Centre for the Arts in Dresden. The other partners are: Ringlokschuppen (Mülheim, Germany); Le Maillon (Strasbourg, France); Teatro Municipal do Porto (Portugal); Onassis STEGI (Athens, Greece); Performing Arts Institute Warsaw (Poland); and SPRING Performing Arts Festival (Utrecht, the Netherlands).

Ark will be delivered by members of Quarantine’s ensemble, including: Simon Banham, Designer; Kate Daley, Artist & Producer; Alison Dunican, Producer; Richard Gregory, Co-Artistic Director; and Renny O’Shea, Co-Artistic Director & Dramaturg.

Find out more and follow the progress of the project, here: movingborders.org

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