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A festival within a festival

Asia-Europe Cultural Festival 2024 Poster

Performances, exhibitions, round tables: the best contemporary art practices from Europe and Asia in one festival.

Asia-Europe Cultural Festival is an arts festival that celebrates the artistic diversity between the two continents and promotes dialogue and exchange between distant artists. Presented by the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) since 2018, the Festival for the past six years has witnessed the rich tapestry of cultural exchange between Asia and Europe, promoting artistic collaborations and opening connections between two continents known for their diversity and creativity.

The nature of the Festival is to travel annually between Asia and Europe to involve an ever-widening network of partners and connection with the local communities of each host city/country. For its sixth edition, in 2024, the Festival will be presented for the first time in Italy, in Rovereto as a ‘festival within a festival’ on the occasion of the 44th Oriente Occidente Dance Festival.

This year's programme will allow Italian audiences to enjoy events ranging from dance, video art, multidisciplinary art installations and music by artists from China, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, the Philippines, Singapore, the UK and Vietnam.

Asia-Europe Cultural Festival will open on 30 August with the video art installation SOUND OF X, a collection of video soundscapes of cities by artists from Asia and Europe. Without words, only based on local sounds and acoustics, these five short videos will transport the audience to different urban and cultural identities, across different regions and locations.

The first appointment with performance art is scheduled for 31 August with the open studio of Last Portrait, by Ashley Ho (Singapore) and Domenik Naue (Germany) with the guidance of artist Pietro Marullo (Italy). The three artists have been working together since February 2024 with online sessions and two periods of on-site residency in Indonesia and Italy to research how memory and cultural traditions are linked to loss, detachment and migration.

On 1 September, the Festival will move to Trento, at the MUSE Museo delle Scienze, for the opening of the collaborative and community art installation BIOMODD [TTO15] by the international collective SEADS (Space Ecologies Art and Design). During a four-day workshop (28-31 August), local volunteers are invited to co-create an experimental system in which recycled computers and living ecosystems coexist and reinforce each other. The resulting interactive artwork will be exhibited in the museum galleries and the public will be able to experience customised computer games running on computers that receive sensor data from living organisms.

Following the presentation of the installation to the public, a panel discussion entitled BREAKING BOUNDARIES: Rethinking Art, Technology, and Sustainability for the Future will bring together artists, scientists, and cultural professionals in a conversation on the topic of art, technology, and defence.

Music and dance are the focus of the other events. On 1 September, in the splendid spaces of the Trento and Rovereto Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (Mart), two musical ensembles, Siong Leng (Singapore) and Tempo Reale (Italy), will join forces in the concert Bridge, combining traditional Chinese Nanyin music with electronic music and sound art.

The culminating event of the Festival will be Seeta Patel's contemporary dance performance The Rite of Spring on 3 September. Drawing on the traditional form of Bharatanatyam, the award-winning choreographer creates a compelling interpretation of the iconic work, combining the intricate rhythmic footwork, geometric and dynamic movements of Indian classical dance with Western music.

In a world where borders continue to exist despite technological advances, the Festival stands as a beacon of artistic unity, transcending geographical and language barriers to bring Asia and Europe closer together.

The Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) is a non-profit intergovernmental organisation established in 1997 by 51 countries from Asia and Europe, ASEAN and the EU, to promote dialogue between the two regions. ASEF is based in Singapore and develops intellectual, cultural and people-to-people exchange programmes.

ASEF receives financial support from the European Union.