A flag is a manifestation of national unity and sovereignty. In Ula Sickle’s performance Relay, a black flag is kept in continuous motion. It tells quite a different story, of protest, resistance and collective agency.
Part of the programme OPEN SCHOOL2
In the exhibition Regenerate (+3)
Included in the entrance ticket of the exhibition (€ 0 > 10). Book your time slot here.
A black flag floats in continuous motion. Its movement and the flapping of the fabric become both choreography and sound. Presented as a single, continuous action, Relay draws its inspiration from the many recent protests taking place around the globe, in particular the mass marches in Poland, in defence of women’s rights, called “Czarny Protest” (Black Protest). The black flag cannot be linked to one particular battle and hence defies easy interpretation. Former WIELS resident Ula Sickle and a diverse group of performers relay one another in a fascinating test of endurance. Their movements pass back and forth between inertia and hope, resistance and powerlessness. They each individually take on the responsibility to keep the flag moving, but it is the collective effort required that makes Relay such a powerful symbol. How is resistance still possible in a system that has managed to incorporate every form of opposition? Which individual and collective agency are we left with?
Concept, performance, choreography: Ula Sickle
Sound design: Yann Leguay
Live sound: Raphaël Hénard
Original Cast: Popaule Amisi, Liza Baliasnaja, Sidney Barnes, Amanda Barrio Charmelo, Mavi Veloso, Mohamed Toukabri, Nathan Ooms
Cast in WIELS: Amanda Barrio Charmelo, Liza Baliasnaja, Nathan Ooms, Popol Amisi, Ula Sickle
Executive Production: Caravan Production
With the support of Nuit Blanche 2018 & Kunstenwerkplaats Pianofabriek
Courtesy of the artist, collection Flemish Government
Ula Sickle (b. 1978, CA/PL, based in Brussels) is a choreographer and performer working across disciplines, drawing from the visual arts or contemporary music. She studied Art History & Semiotics at the University of Toronto and Performance Studies at Paris VIII, before attending P.A.R.T.S. Performing Arts Research and Training Studios in Brussels. She has been presented in many international theatres and venues such as Kunstenfestivaldesarts (Brussels), Wiener Festwochen (Vienna), Teatr Nowy (Warsaw), B:OM Festival (Seoul), Zürcher Theater Spektakel (Zurich) and Tanz im August (Berlin). In 2018 she was artist in residence at WIELS in Brussels. She is currently pursuing a PhD in the arts at Leuven University and LUCA School of Arts in Brussels.