The Karnabal Contemporary Cultural Laboratory is a pioneering artist-run international program for independent contemporary performance, founded by Manila-based theater company Sipat Lawin Ensemble. It is directed towards expanding the possibilities of performance and social development by directly addressing the creation of “New Cultures” and “Future Histories” in its various platforms for (1) presentation of performances, live works, exhibits, and the like; (2) cultural and artistic education for artists and communities; and (3) redirection via guided creation and development of new socially-engaged works by the next wave of artists and cultural leaders in the Philippines and abroad.
The Karnabal Contemporary Cultural Laboratory aims to:
1. Be the center for national, regional and international solidarity and exchange of practices in performance and social development.
2. Take leadership in developing and providing accessible alternative education for capacity building of communities and artists in culture-making.
3. Streamline and make accessible to wider audiences and bigger communities the socially- engaged performance created by artists and communities contributing to national development and cultural (r)evolution, through its Presentation X Education X Redirection framework.
- 日本, フィリピン, 台湾
The Karnabal Contemporary Cultural Laboratory has pioneered a holistic, sustainable model for providing a platform for artists to create new and necessary performances with, for and as communities. In this kind of model, there is a profound paradigm shift in performance-making, from sustaining an artistic practice that makes works that speak about a “world” in which an artist may give relevant insight, but from which the artist is nonetheless isolated; to developing an artistic practice that speaks within/from the world of a community that the artist responsibly engages with or is a part of, and makes methodical research on/with. There is a firm recognition that the inherent, and much needed transformational potential of performance-making is maximized in this long-term developmental model, especially since the artist is given managerial, dramaturgical, and technical support by the platform itself.
Karnabal sees the urgency for people to come together as co-creators; for communities to witness and experience for themselves what is possible beyond their normal ways of being and doing, and to experiment and play with alternatives through creative collaborations. Karnabal paves the way for these to happen. Throughout the years, it has nurtured performances as entrypoints to reinventing cultures, promoting diversity, unity, innovation and deeper togetherness, not only among Filipinos, but also with collaborating Japanese artists and other international participants who offered much needed fresh perspectives from the outside. The challenge now is to streamline and strengthen methods in providing support and guidance to artists with their communities, and to find more artists and communities willing to engage in this kind of art-making.
The help and assistance provided by the Japan Foundation Asia Center was absolutely vital. More than the financial and networking support, it is the trust and radical openness they showed to the propositions and espoused values of Sipat Lawin Ensemble and the whole Karnabal Community that gave fertile ground for this still growing project to flourish.