An open investigation into Watou 3.0

The Watou Arts Festival will celebrate its 40th edition in the summer of 2021. An excellent moment to think about the future. We explore, together with artist Koen Vanmechelen, how Watou, as a village and as a community, can connect with the artists and vice versa.

Curator Koen Vanmechelen:

“Join many stories together, and you get one large, powerful narrative. The Patchwork initiative invites artists, both young and older artists and from all disciplines, to come together to reflect on the next edition of Watou, and what it could look like. Let’s each bring a tent and sleeping bag. And let’s inspire each other. This multi-day gathering could herald in a new concept for Watou, translated into one or more artworks in situ, to be presented to the general public at next year’s edition of Watou. A patchwork of impressions, an unpredictable composite drawn from a variety of elements.

Patchwork implies that the participants will kickstart the creative process by communicating amongst artists and art forms. But Watou itself – the village and its inhabitants – will also serve as a lightning rod for inspiration. The village can learn things from the world, but the opposite is also true. After all, the global only exists by the generosity of the local. The question is: whether and how inspiration from these rural crossroads can be injected into a cosmopolitan world.

Patchwork is an open invitation, a research project, a laboratory. This is a new age. What should Watou’s role in the future be? And what, specifically, does this mean? In words, images and sounds. Can we transform the concept of Watou? Now is the time to think about this, to work on it. The result will be Watou 2022, an edition supported by both artists and villagers, who will form one single community, a whole summer long.”

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