Volcano Extravaganza 2018 – Total Anastrophes

27 January – 1 February 2018

Grand rehearsals

Auditorium of the Shilpakala Academy, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Featuring: Cecilia Bengolea, Diana Campbell Betancourt, Alex Cecchetti, Alec Curtis, Patrizio di Massimo, Milovan Farronato, Runa Islam, Marina La Verghetta, Haroon Mirza, Tobias Putrih, Osman Yousefzada


Dhaka, Bangladesh.

For the first time, Volcano Extravaganza has moved from its magmatic cradle, getting ready to erupt far, far away on occasion of the fourth Dhaka Art Summit.

Landed from Paris, London, Barcelona, Boston, the core group of artists, Artistic Leader Runa Islam and Curator Milovan Farronato crawled, moved, whispered, sang, danced for days under the shadow cast by the towering banner depicting the main characters of Total Anastrophes

First step of our set-up, imperative and necessary, was to erect the mobile architectures conceived by Tobias Putrih, from which sinuous drapes of grey silk were hung: seemingly improvised screens for the projections of Runa Islam‘s film This Much is Uncertain, and for the videos of the other contributors: Anna Boghiguian, George Henry Longly and Mathilde Rosier.

A constant presence, always the first to arrive and the last to leave: Alec Curtis, discretely perched above, protected by the walls of the control room, restlessly operated the green and blue spotlights, projecting imagery and distorting frequencies, silently taking part in the ricocheting composition of our Total Anastrophes totalising environment…

Alex Cecchetti instead chose to focus in his oneiric, otherworldly dimension, and kept pacing around to the sound of cetaceans symphonies, preparing to recite his erotic poetry…

To shake some tension off, Cecilia Bengolea graciously organised daily yoga sessions just outside the Auditorium, i.e. our echo-chamber…

In her pit-stops from directing the last actions before the opening of the Summit, DAS Artistic Director Diana Campbell Betancourt came by to try her inaugural speech… and so did Milovan Farronato who introduced us with Alighiero Boetti’s notion of stra-vagare… both voices were manipulated, leaving room for unpredictable, new vibrations, in the spirit of Total Anastrophes

On the evening before the opening, after an omen spontaneously manifested itself with the collapse of the bamboo structures, Runa and Milovan decided to consult the Stromboli Tarots, under the gaze of Patrizio di Massimo and Osman, who had finally joined us together with Haroon Mirza.

Both immediately jumped into the preparations.

While Haroon surveilled the mumbling paste dancing into a conic speaker to the rhythm of the volcanic Hertz produced by his mixed media device, Osman promptly sat at the sewing table with a local tailor, and started arranging impromptu garments out of the hanging fabrics.

It was not long before Cecilia Bengolea became his new muse…

One of the busiest cities of South-East Asia, Dhaka is a buzz of cars, traffic and horns. Yet, all of a sudden as night descended on the last, long day of rehearsals, all fell silent.

In the emptiness of a deserted street, in the alleys of the Old Dhaka, only two figures could be seen. Wrapped in the soft, lustrous silk from our backdrops and screens, moments after having swirled in a dusty pirouette, Cecilia and Osman celebrated the end of the rehearsals’ week.

It was time for Total Anastrophes to begin!

Photographs by Noor Photoface