Bouchra Ouizguen [MA]
A horde of women dressed in black appear in silence, only to have their piercing cries and rhythmic movements make all notions of time and space disappear. The moving figures, heavy with the memory of the Isawa and Hmadcha rituals of Marrakesh, evoke both long nights of trance and a time in which madness had its place in society, as described in 9th and 12th century Persian literature. The experience is both universal and intimate, connecting performers and audience to each other and to an idea of origins. From the perspective of choreographer Bouchra Ouizguen, Corbeaux is not so much a performance but a "sound sculpture, raw and urgent, resounding infinitely." The sensation it provokes in its audience, of having been on a long journey, lingers far beyond the end of the performance.
Commissioned by the 2014 Marrakesh Biennale and performed outside the city's train station, the flock of Corbeaux has since landed in very different places, from prestigious arts institutions (like London's Tate Modern or Paris's Louvre) to public spaces in New York, São Paulo, and Beirut. Six years after presenting the magnetic Madame Plaza at the Alkantara Festival in 2012, Marrakesh-based choreographer Bouchra Ouizguen opens this year's festival with a version of Corbeaux created with local participants and presented at the historically and socially complex site of the Castelo de São Jorge.