(OUT)PLACES (IN)SPACES, Hectolitre, Brussels, 2019

Ear to the Ground Festival, De Bijloke Muziekcentrum, Ghent, 2019

ITS Festival, Flemish Arts Centre De Brakke Grond, Amsterdam, 2019


The House We Have Built is about archeology of violence.

The performance takes a trans-historical perspective on representation of violence, by composing a transmedial narration made of “traumatized” images and sounds coming, indeed, from different historical moments.

A series of thoughts, written down by an Italian soldier, after his return from the colonial war in Libya in 1916, has inspired Simone Basani to face his own relationship to troubling memories. From here, in the performance, he starts looking into figures of violence: performative configurations created by sounds, movements, and verbal descriptions. He explores the way they are collectively transmitted both in family contexts and in the mass media communication sphere.

The performer's body becomes a tool to embody and reconstruct, through memory, a series of images, unexpectedly related to each other, flowing one into each other.

His body welcomes in itself a constellation of presences. It becomes a performative site to consider violent processes of representation of the Other, mainly understood here as an infantilized, racialized and sexualized subjectivity.

The work on sound dramaturgy has an important role in this performance. Basani’s voice is pierced by different sound qualities which suddenly disrupt his narration. No less importantly, a soundscape has been produced, in collaboration with Roger Fähndrich, to create a dialogue with Basani's narration and to create a sensorial space to be shared with the audience. These two different sound interventions aim to explore how representation of violence and related remembrance processes work on an auditory level. How do we re-experience those events in a collective dimension, as an audience? And what happens when these sounds are delivered to an audience whose cultural backgrounds, for instance, differ from the one of the narrator?

A further element to be considered on a dramaturgical level is the relationship between violence and architecture. More precisely, among the use, we make of our cities, of both their private and public architectures, the life of our bodies, and memories of violence. Which kind of perception do we have of the spaces we use and/or remember? Which kind of traumatic remains are we able to perceive there? How much does mass media representation of violence in public spaces affect us?

Exploring the visual- sound dimension of violence from a trans-historical and actually trans-cultural perspective, Simone Basani invites the audience to reconsider their own memories of violence. From Pompei destruction (and preservation) to Italian Colonial Wars in Libya, passing through episodes of demonstrations all over Europe, to terrorist attacks in Brussels and domestic violence, The House We Have Built explores how remembering episodes of violence shapes the perception we have of the places we live in.

Borrowing some words by Mark Rothberg when speaking about multidirectional memory, what the performance aims to do is allowing the audience to see that ‘what looks at first as my own property often turns out to be a borrowing or adaptation from a history that initially might seem foreign or distant’. Traveling through centuries, these stories of violence arrive till us, intertwine themselves with our personal materials at the point that sometimes it is impossible to distinguish what comes by who and from where.

The text has been written by Simone Basani. He employs within his text a few literal quotations from letters written by Italian soldiers engaged in colonial wars and one from Joyce Carol Oates’ “A Book of American Martyrs” where she follows the complicated aftermath of a killing looking at both families, the one of the murder and the one of the murdered. With “The House We Have Built” he directs himself for the first time.
Concept, created and performed by: Simone Basani

Text: Simone Basani with quotes of Joyce Carol Oates, Donato Magro en Donato Dani

Costumes: Sebastian Van Canneyt

Sound in collaboration with Roger Fähndrich

Coaching: Frederik Le Roy en David Weber-Krebs

Special thanks to: Alice Ciresola, Valentina Tiziani, Grégory Abels, Fabrice Delecluse, Bram Jespers, Loredana Manfro, Jan Steen, Frank Cools, Bart Wouters, David Helbich, Heike Langsdorf, Laura Andriessen and Master students KASK Drama

U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. Image used under Creative Commons CC0 License