From 2013 until 2019, Kyoto Experiment introduced many performances put on by artists and groups in Kyoto through our “Fringe: Open Entry Performance” series. We feel that the series helped to create a buzz across the entire city by introducing all those works that were being staged at the same time as the festival.
From the Spring 2021 edition onwards, Kyoto Experiment will be headed by a three-person directorial team, and we plan to make some exciting changes to the festival. We have reconsidered our approach to the “Fringe” series too in line with our vision for arts and culture in Kyoto, and have decided to discontinue its previous format, proposing instead a new way of working with artists and groups who put on their works in the prefecture.
This decision was made for a number of reasons. Firstly, the term “fringe” in the context of a festival implies something unofficial and peripheral rather than official and central, signifying the various events held alongside and surrounding the main program. In future editions of Kyoto Experiment, we’re hoping to establish fresh connections between the festival, our audience, and participating artists and groups by questioning and breaking down these dichotomies. As a part of this effort, we thought it was necessary to try dismantling the framework of “main” and “fringe,” presenting works being staged in Kyoto during the festival in a new format.
Another reason was that the “Fringe: Open Entry Performance” series was run primarily by Kyoto Experiment itself. But if we look at other festivals, their “Fringe” components are not managed by the festivals, but are external activities that have developed independently of them. While both the festival and its fringe programs have their own dynamics that continually influence and enhance each other, there also seems to be an element of wholesome defiance, of anti-authoritarianism, in the very concept of the fringe. We believe that a cultural foundation supported by such ideas can weather the changing times and stay robust and resilient. We want our festival to provide a platform for artists and works that are representative of our times, and that, by stimulating both audiences and artists, naturally give rise to independent and uninhibited fringe activities.
In view of all this, we at Kyoto Experiment plan from now on to compile and publish the details of performances taking place in Kyoto during the festival’s run under the name “More Experiments” on Kyoto Art Box, the city’s official arts and culture website. We also intend to make this resource accessible from the Kyoto Experiment website. We chose the name “More Experiments” to capture the idea that Kyoto Experiment’s programs are not the only performances going on during the festival period: there is a much wider variety of artistic experimentation taking place across Kyoto. We hope that, by introducing these works outside of the main festival, we can invigorate Kyoto’s arts and culture scene together with them. Though the current situation still presents a great many difficulties, we hope that we will be joined by all those who contribute to the arts in Kyoto in taking these steps forward.