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Performing Arts

Ilmārs Šterns tunes audiences in to the sensory language of clothes

Find out more about Ilmārs Šterns

Artist website

Bernese performance artist Ilmārs Šterns has been invited to take part in the third edition of the Cameroon International Festival of Performance Art Perform’Action Live Art from 29 November to 6 December 2019 in Yaoundé and in the university city of Soa. The theme for this edition is Art and Ecology: Performance Art against Pollution.

The Perform’Action Live Art Festival is the only platform for the dissemination and research of artistic performance in the Central African sub-region. The festival creates links between north and south through collaborative projects and cultural exchange with a focus on sustainable development and fighting illegal migration. Under the creative direction on Christian Etongo, this year the festival will welcome 15 artists from Cameroon and other countries on the continent and a dozen artists from Europe, Canada and South America.

Ilmārs is interested in the dialogue between sound and movement in his work. During Art Perform’Action he will perform a work and lead a workshop with young musicians from the city of Yaoundé.

Photo by Judith Barfuss

His performance will explore the relationship between the body and clothes as a second skin. Ilmārs explains that “clothes are the first thing that we touch when we move, stand still or hug each other”. The performance will focus on the character that fabrics give to the human body and the colorful sounds that textile makes around the body. Ilmārs uses this as a springboard to interrogate pressing socio-economic and environmental questions currently running through the textile and fashion industries. The performance will take place in public spaces in the city of Yaoundé and Soa.

The workshop will introduce young musicians to the language of clothes and textiles as sensory language. Ilmārs explains that for musicians, “it is important to develop a sensitivity to the world that surrounds us. As clothes are an important part of our daily life it is interesting to develop our perception of different textiles/clothes and find their specific sounds in order to reach a deeper understanding of the musical background that surrounds us.” Ilmārs will encourage participants to consider their own clothes and observe other peoples’ in public spaces to develop a sense of how and what clothes are able to communicate. The workshop will culminate in sound performances in public spaces.


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