Human Landscapes — Book I


         “This guy in prison has written a different kind of epic. He’s stirring up something,” writes poet Nâzım Hikmet from a Turkish prison cell, reflecting ironically but sharply on his epic masterpiece Human Landscapes from My Country. In a new performance developed for steirischer herbst, Brussels-based choreographer, artist, and curator Michiel Vandevelde turns towards the dissident literary and political figure of Hikmet–a visionary modernist poet–to stage book I of Human Landscapes, his strikingly direct and ruthlessly honest account of mid-20th-century Turkey, written between 1941 and 1950, and considered by many as “social history in verse.” Capturing myriad voices from different segments of society, Hikmet breaks out of the confinement of the modernist individualistic imagination towards the more epic, popular form of the “human landscape,” without losing the fragmented and tormented vision characteristic of modernist art. Vandevelde revisits Hikmet’s condensed and cinematic verse in what he calls a “choreographed sound piece.” In a darkened, intimate setting, five actors speak Hikmet’s text, but instead of performing the actions it describes, they engage in more abstract movements. Sitting, lying down, and changing positions, together with the audience they themselves become a “human landscape,” exploring Hikmet’s conviction that human beings always have the capacity to forge their own path upwards by the sheer force of their own will.


— 28 & 30 November 2019, Kaaitheater, Brussels (BE)

— 16 November 2018, Veem, house for performance, Amsterdam (NL)

— 22, 23 and 24 September 2018, Steirischer Herbst, Graz (AT)
Info & tickets

2018 /          Text: Human Landscapes from My Country — book I, by Nazim Hikmet Direction, choreography, set: Michiel Vandevelde Performed by: Bryana Fritz, Stine Sampers, Anna Franziska Jäger, Mitch Van Landeghem, Lois Brochez Dramaturgy: Kristof van Baarle Costume: Heide Vanderieck International distribution: Something Great Financial Management: Klein Verzet vzw Commissioned by: steirischer herbst (Graz) Produced by: steirischer herbst and Disagree vzw Residencies: Kaaitheater, Pianofabriek With the kind support of Flanders State of the Art.