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Kikk in Town: Free display of 30 innovative digital art installations in Namur
One of the highlights of Namur’s Kikk Festival is a free circuit of 30 installations in 10 indoor and offbeat outdoor locations in the city, from 4 to 7 November.
Kikk in Town is a rare opportunity to discover original and thought-provoking works and performances by a host of cutting-edge Belgian and international artists who interrogate digital technology's impact on society.
The International Festival of Digital and Creative Arts is set to attract up to 30,000 people to the Walloon capital, which is developing its smart city credentials. For its 10th anniversary edition, the Kikk Festival is focusing on the major themes that have marked its history, including the relationship with personal data, architecture and the impact of new technology on the planet.
A professional agenda with a prestigious line-up of speakers, conferences and events is offset by plenty of free public activities. The art initiative is deliberately interactive and accessible for all ages. While all the installations use digital technology, they tackle a variety of themes. Many choose humour and irony to provoke reflection on how everyday lives are transformed by the digital revolution.
Franco-Portuguese conceptual artist Filipe Vilas-Boas presents three installations on this theme at Galerie du Beffroi, the most striking yet simple being Carrying the Cross (pictured above). A giant f, representing Facebook’s iconic and globally recognisable symbol is designed to be lifted and paraded around the streets to the sound of sacred music in a nod to society’s new ‘religion’.
On explaining another of his installations, Casino Las Datas – an array of one-arm bandits function with tokens earned by handing over personal data – Vilas-Boas (pictured above) is keen to point out that he’s “provoking conversation” rather than criticising social media.
While the Galerie du Beffroi exhibits are dedicated to the topic of personal data, Le Delta houses a variety of works, most of them similarly interactive. Award-winning French artist Guillaume Barth travelled to Iran to research Crocus Sativus, Fleur du Bonheur (pictured above). Participants can experience the flowering of a saffron bulb while sitting on a circular carpet and listening to Sufi poetry during the 15-minute immersive performance.
Artist collaboration AfriKIKK contributes 10 installations, a result of a long-term partnership between Belgium and Africa. Josèfa Ntjam deconstructs colonialism in Unknown Aquazone (pictured above), also on show at Le Delta. The illuminated double digital screen evokes an imaginary world which fuses tradition with technology.
Another major thematic of Kikk in Town is a dialogue between art and the town’s architecture. One of the tour’s big draws is Stephanie Lüning’s Island of Foam (pictured above), a daily performance of multi-coloured foam descending the steps of the Théâtre de Verdure at Namur’s citadel, daily from 14.00-14.30.
An equally intriguing display is Danish artist Nils Völker’s Eight Pairs at the Eglise Saint-Loup. Giant gold air-filled pillows rise and fall in the nave of the church, inflating and deflating to create a visual and auditory soundscape that contrasts with the Baroque architecture.
In addition to the art tour, a creative village and market space is open to the public in Place d’Armes. Its big tent hosts numerous digital entrepreneurs, all ready to show off their innovative wares. Younger visitors are invited to the Little Kikk space at Le Pavillon at the citadel for a series of workshops, installations and other activities.
A shuttle bus links the city centre with the citadel (departure point opposite Le Delta), while Namur’s new cable car offers festivalgoers return tickets for a reduced price of €4.50 (departure Place Maurice Saint-Servais).
Scan your CST at Notre-Dame school for a bracelet valid for the duration of the festival