Borrowed Landscape-Leuven unfolds at a local supermarket in the city centre. Denon AD Delhaize is a family-owned local business with a 127-year history. The performance aims to highlight the unique reality that is the supermarket, to expose some of the rules and codes according to which it operates, and to put into question our personal shopping habits as well as the larger forces that shape our everyday behavior and experiences.
Every location comes with its own set of challenges and demands a new strategy. For each edition of the Borrowed Landscape series, Avdal and Shinozaki have also collaborated with a different writer. The soundscape developed for Borrowed Landscape–Leuven includes – for the first time – a short story. The Descent, written especially for this location by Pieter de Buysser, tells the touching story of a boy abandoned by his parents in a supermarket aisle. Like a present-day Mowgli, left to fend for himself in the contemporary/urban jungle that is the supermarket, the boy builds a life for himself amongst the bottles and the boxes, the fresh produce and the dairy products. He gradually expands his presence in the store. He is everywhere, at all times. At Denon, he finds everything he needs – including the love of his life – in the large variety of goods on sale. They engulf him, and he incorporates them. The boundaries between the merchandise on the shelves and the story’s protagonist increasingly dissolve. The products come to life, and he in turn becomes these products. His consumption behavior more than defines him. In this shopping Walhalla – his own Arcadia –, the public space of the supermarket and his personal space coincide.
The fictional story, while rooted in this particular location, is inserted almost as a “foreign object” into the ordinary reality of the supermarket. It appears as an object out of place. In the way in which a shocking news story on the radio broadcast in the store may clash with the banal reality of going through one's daily grocery shopping routine. At the same time, precisely because it is so rooted in this specific location, the narrative also blends in. It becomes background music or an urban legend. It becomes part of the narrative of this supermarket, part of its walls.
The purpose of Avdal and Shinozaki’s interventions is not to disturb what normally happens in the supermarket or even hinder Denon’s customers’ shopping experience. Instead the performance blends into the reality of the supermarket, while subtly shifting its reality in order to create an opening to perceive possible other (sub)layers of this familiar reality. In this way the boy’s story is one among the countless stories that come together in a supermarket, or any other urban/public space.
concept and direction: Heine Avdal, Yukiko Shinozaki
sound design and electronics: Fabrice Moinet
dramaturgy: Sara Jansen
texts: "The Descent" by Pieter De Buysser (translated by Jodie Hruby) and excerpts from "Borrowed Landscape-Yokohama#2" by Yukio Shiba (translated and adapted by: Sara Jansen and Yukiko Shinozaki)
performed by: Heine Avdal, Els De Greef, Sara Jansen, Fabrice Moinet, Yukiko Shinozaki, Kathy Van der Elst
voices: Heine Avdal, Joanna Bailie, Ludo Engels, Erland Jacobsen, Sara Jansen, Fabrice Moinet, Diana Raspoet, Eivind Seljeseth, Taka Shamoto, Yukiko Shinozaki, Adam Weig, Dianne Weller, Sandy Williams, John Zwaenepoel and the staff members of Denon AD Delhaize and Kunstencentrum STUK
production: fieldworks vzw, Heine Avdal, NPO Offsite project
co-production: Kunstencentrum STUK, BIT-Teatergarasjen (APAP network)
with the support of: Vlaamse Gemeenschap, Vlaamse Gemeenschapscommissie, Norsk Kulturråd, Fond For Lyd og Bilde, Fond for Utøvende Kunstnere, The Saison Foundation, Art Commission Yokohama, Yokohama Art Festival executive committee
special thanks to: Denon AD Delhaize, the staff and the customers who happened to be there during the performances
premiere: February 20 2013 at Artefact festival 2013, Leuven (BE).