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Seanaps festival: transdisciplinary approaches in experimental music & culture in Leipzig, Germany

Text by CLOT Magazine

Decay 2022 - 22424, Hauptmeier|Recke
Decay 2022 – 22424, Hauptmeier|Recke

The 7th edition of the Seanaps Festival takes place from September 21 to 23, 2023, in Leipzig, Germany. Organised by Habeatus e.V., the project has developed from a student initiative into an international and professional artist-driven platform. 

The production of the festival is a special interaction between us, the local cooperation partners, an international creative community consisting of other international festivals, labels, residencies and initiatives, as well as through the growing support of the city of Leipzig and multiyear funding at federal state and national level. They explain. 

Under this year’s umbrella theme of Composing  Future, the festival opens on Thursday, 21, with the exhibition of the same name in Techne Sphere Leipzig. When we asked about this year’s theme, the team explained that the title is part of the Seanaps Relations concept. The concept spreads over three phases: in 2022, they presented Improvising Present; in 2023, the Composing Future; and in 2024, it will be Ongoing Now

It is important for us to work closely with the artists on the development of the programme. The titles serve as an open starting point that the artists can take up. In Composing Future, there will be several premieres during the festival and existing works that artistically reflect on time-based questions related to community, ecology, technology, post-industry and social justice. They add. 

Seanaps Festival offers concerts, installations, interventions, film screenings, workshops, listening sessions, label market,  club night, talks, DJ sets and an onsite radio station. The team told us that they are not only interested in the presentation but also different forms of mediation of artistic positions through the sharing of both practical and theoretical approaches and common resources within the festival network.

Many artists are, therefore, presented in a format other than a concert or exhibition. Most invited artists create and participate in several formats, such as interviews within the festival radio programme, workshops, interventions, DJ sets, film screenings or panels. By making the multidimensionality of artistic work and research visible, we want Composing Future to give sustainable impulses for the local and international development of an avant-garde and cross-disciplinary creative network. 

Jane Jin Kaisen, Burial of This  Order
Burial of This Order, Jane Jin Kaisen
Paseo sonoro, Selu Herraiz
Paseo sonoro, Selu Herraiz

Considering this, they have curated an exhibition that includes Anna  Schimkat, Miki Yui, Hauptmeier|Recker, and Jane Jin Kaisen. Miki Yui’s Plant Music is a four-channel sound installation created as a radio piece for the exhibition series  beuys21. The plant music subtly blends with the surrounding soundscape and invites visitors to listen contemplatively and discover the musical qualities of their surroundings. Jane Jin Kaisen will screen Burial of This  Order. In this film, a group of people perform a burial ritual in an abandoned tourist destination on Jeju Island to overturn an unbearable world order governed by hierarchy, division, and destruction. Anna  Schimkat will present for the first her work, A Timeless Movement in Socks, and the Leipzig artist duo Hauptmeier|Recke will exhibit the sound sculpture Decay 2022 – 22424. 

The screening section, apart from the film Burial of This Order, includes the documentary film FLUX by Miki Yui and Nathalia Favaro and El sonido de un valle by Selu Herraiz. In a  discussion moderated by the musicologist Jacob Eriksen, the artists will share insights into their artistic work and the interwoven ideas of sound, territory, environment, and listening as a cultural practice and community. The workshops, held at Luru Kino on September 23, will be led by Felicity Mangan, Selu Herraiz, and Lieven Martens, who will give insights into her recording process, methodology and forms of listening and expression. 

Last but not least, the concerts will be held in Westflügel with the likes of sound artist sound artist Felicity Mangan, musician Maurice Louca, multi-instrumentalist Damsel Elysium or Dimitris Papadatos (aka Jay Glass Dubs). 

The closing concerts include two premieres; CV & JAB (Christina Vantzou and John Also Bennett) will debut the live performance of their third collaborative album Κλίμα (Klima) and the premiere of the new collaborative project by tenor saxophonist Damian Dalla Torre, who already worked together with twenty musicians on his debut album Happy Floating.

Seanaps Festival happens across six locations in west Leipzig. The artistic direction team explains over email that the venues they used have an extensive history. Most were formerly industrial factories now used as figure theatres, cultural centres, galleries or shared ateliers. They told us gentrification in Leipzig has not progressed so far compared to other larger cities. The independent art and culture scene in Leipzig has done significant cultural policy work in recent decades, for example, to improve the municipal cultural funding situation together with the city. Besides the massive history of classical music, Leipzig’s place on the map of the arts is somewhat inconspicuous, but an integral part of it that should be considered.

Alongside already established Leipzig festivals in documentary film, dance, jazz, independent and classical music, a new generation of cross-disciplinary festivals and projects is emerging. This is where we see ourselves, and we look forward to shaping the city this way. We couldn’t agree more. Seanpaps Festival allows the audience to experience almost all festival formats over the weekend to connect with the urban space and the people.

(Media courtesy of the festival and the artists)
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