How much do we know about our heritage? What will be the stories of tomorrow?
Future Epics spotlights European heritage, going beyond the mainstream historical narratives, unleashing the forgotten parts of the material and immaterial cultural memory. The idea is to build a bridge between the heritage narratives and the new audiences. The project particularly strives for socially responsible and edgy artistic forms relying on inter-cultural exchange.
The project is particularly open for ideas that are somehow considered controversial, for narratives that are ignored or oppressed. We are collecting stories that have market past times in history, but also ones that are to leave marks in European future – epics of tomorrow.
Future Epics primarily deals with different eras and unfairly neglected or ignored historical narratives:
it promotes the marvellous Bronze Age art in Tanum, Sweden;
it addresses the abundant Renaissance and Baroque traditions in Dubrovnik, Croatia;
it deals with the long-forgotten socio-cultural scene in Belgrade between the World Wars.
These locations are not just historical sets but also potential spaces for new art and audiences. With that in mind, Future Epics aims to be the connection between the young and emerging artists (playwrights, directors, actors, set designers, choreographers, dancers, sound artists, visual artists, as well as theorists) who need space for their ideas, and the new audiences who crave for relevant and atypical artistic contents.
We are creating platform to promote different perspectives on past and present cultural heritage. We want to collect stories that will serve as an inspiration for contemporary artists in different fields of performance. We want to educate young artists, connect them and produce contemporary performances that will show new perspectives on the epics of tomorrow.
Why is this important?
Heritage, often used as a form of collective memory, relies on interpretations and representations rather than on studies of the past. Frequently shaped by the ongoing political, economic and social concerns, it can have a significant impact on the present as well as the future – from positive impacts such as collaboration between the neighbours to negative ones such as creating xenophobic discourses. The intercultural exchange of knowledge and ideas, such as the one imagined with Future Epics, contributes to spreading the positive influences of specific heritages across Europe.
Being future-oriented, the project is primarily aimed at the youngest audiences, the generations of tomorrow, who are yet to rethink their sense of belonging to the common European family. In order to meet the needs and artistic interests of this generation of audience, Future Epics relies on interactive theatrical approach, uses new technologies and tends to share the uncommon knowledge through creative labs, workshops, engaging web platform and, of course, innovative theatre performances.
The project is the result of a fruitful collaboration between four very different organizations – one devoted to independent/socially engaged theatre (Heartefact, Serbia), one being a public institution/festival (Dubrovnik Summer Festival, Croatia), one being an performing arts residency centre (Vitlycke-CPA, Sweden) and one being a socio-cultural activist organisation (Tasca, Spain).
The Future Epics Project proposal was submitted on 22 November 2017, under the Call European Cooperation Projects 2018 – Cooperation Projects Related To The European Year Of Cultural Heritage 2018, which was launched as part of the programme Creative Europe – Culture Sub-programme with the aim of encouraging discovering and exploring European cultural heritage and strengthening the sense of belonging to the European family.
The lead partner of the project was Heartefact Fund from Belgrade, whereas, aside from Vitlycke Centre for Performing Arts, other partners are the Dubrovnik Summer Festival (Dubrovnik, Croatia) and civil society organisation Tasca (Barcelona, Spain).
The Future Epics Project lasted two years and the goal of the project was to develop new approaches to cultural heritage. This included deconstruction of existing narratives pertaining to certain historical periods and their reinterpretation through contemporary performing arts. Aside from participation of young artists, young people were also the target audience.
Three productions were planned as part of the project, and premiered at the Dubrovnik Summer Festival in 2020. The productions addressed neglected, forgotten and ignored historical narratives.
As part of the project, an internet platform was set up as virtual space that could enable exploring European cultural heritage. “https://futurepics.org”
This interactive platform allows users to participate in creating content and exchange their own ideas and interpretation of heritage. Future Epics will serve as a European network with new approach to concepts of common good and cultural heritage, which will be preserved for new generations through the internet platform.
The project activities started in September 2018.
Beside intensive work on platform development and productions, the project also included organising creative labs, explorations, residencies, public discussions, workshops, and symposia.