SMTF 20th Edition
‘Pausing can give you the opportunity to look back, sometimes with regret or longing and self-blame but also provoking things like reflection, hope, imagination and love. In this sense looking back does not necessarily end with a kind of nostalgia but can become a reconstruction of reality where the past, the object of reflection, is scattered all over the present, here and now. Looking back can be a rediscovery of reality. Spaces, people, events, cities, societies, festivals and history are continually recreated through reflection. Let’s look at the past that exists here and now and examine the terrain. Recollection. This can be a positive attitude we can take together, or alone, in a world where there is a kind of pause.
Recollection can be translated as ‘recalling’ implying a more subjective and personal feeling than the word ‘memory’. Maybe because, in Korean society today, the word ‘remembering’ has become a reminder of a collective mechanism of something that should not be forgotten accompanied by a sense of political obligation. While this is important, such political mechanisms in the realm of art can tend to look only within the limits of usefulness. The word ‘Recollection’ was chosen this year to stimulate the context of ‘recalling’ and to pursue the making of art without being bound by these limitations.
Collaborating artists in the 20th anniversary of the Seoul Marginal Theatre Festival include Win-Win Theatre, Seongbukdong Pigeon Theatre, 丙Society, Jongwook Yang, Hyeran Hwang, In and Out the of One, Hongdo Lee, Satoko Ichihara, Beokyung Kim, Jia Chang, Se Young Jeong, creative tookchida, Hyeran Hwang and Sabin Hong. All of these artists face moments and sensations that have been derived from some point in their lives which are like thorns in their fingers that they have to face. Through long agony and experimentation, they unravel the thread in their own language.
Seoul Marginal Theatre Festival (SMTF) began in 1999 as a platform for young directors with Choi Chi Rim as the first Artistic Director. Its aim was to be a contemporary performing arts festival that captured the aesthetics and social contexts from the perspectives of 'the marginalized.' For the festival, the word 'marginal' implies an examination of the centre, or of an authority position, that excludes the periphery. It then becomes a 'subversion' by switching the centre and the periphery and making some form of 'encounter with, and acceptance of, the boundaries'. Through this subversion the margin becomes the frontline.
Over the years, SMTF has attempted to put the voice of various minority groups such as LGBTQI, victims of national violence and people with disabilities, into the language of art. The festival has especially served as a place for creative inquiry - a place for artists to work in the spirit of experimentation and questioning. SMTF has supported many important Korean artists who have developed their own unique performance language. These include Kang Ryang Won, Kim Hyun Tak, Ku Ja Hye, Kim Min Jung, Shin Jae, Yun Han Sol, Yun Seo Bi, Oh Kyung Taek, Jeong Geumhyung and Chae Hong Deok.
As an annual event, the identity of the festival was firmly shaped under the direction of Inza Lim (Artistic Director 2004-2015). From 2015-21, under the leadership of Kyung-Sung Lee, the SMTF has moved to a bi-annual format. From the 19th edition of the festival, Adriano Cortese from Melbourne, Australia, and Jung Eun Lee, join the team as Co-Artistic Director and Executive Producer.
SMTF Manifesto (2012~ )
SMTF is a platform where the concept of contemporary is challenged and re-illuminated.
SMTF thinks of the rupture and the beauty between the boundaries of theatre and theatre, theatre and life.
SMTF tries to find possibility in the impossible.
SMTF reveres the aesthetics of the weird, the strange, and the impure.
SMTF is the theatre festival for everything that is not theatre.