Swiss Selection Edinburgh by the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia returned to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe this summer: solo performer Lea Whitcher, duo Trixa Arnold & Ilja Komarov and performance company Pintozor brought an eclectic mix of multi-disciplinary work to the Festival from 3 to 27 August 2022.
With ‘Swiss Selection Edinburgh’, Pro Helvetia enables selected Swiss groups and artists to present their works at the Festival Fringe in Edinburgh, the most important performing arts festival in the English-speaking world. This showcase included real life experiences of motherhood, a fascinating study into the dark world of ‘incels’ and personal testimonies of shame.
Lea Whitcher’s «Mama Love» is a one-woman show in which Lea Whitcher plays with the absurdities of the idealised and toxic images of motherhood in which she finds herself enmeshed. Against the backdrop of the 2020 Swiss vote on granting new fathers a whole two weeks’ paternity leave,Whitcher links lived experience with current discourses on motherhood, thrashing out a path through a jungle of everyday situations, social clichés and quizzical utopian models of life in a society beyond the bounds of patriarchy.
Trixa Arnold & Ilja Komarov’s «Shame On You!» is an archive of shame that explores seemingly banal everyday situations and painful experiences of violence and discrimination. “You can be ashamed of many things. Of yourself, your family. Of your country, your President. Of your actions and inactions.” This is what the Swiss/Russian duo Trixa & Ilya wrote three years ago. With live music and personal testimony this confronting show comes to Edinburgh in a changed world.
Pintozor’s «Guide to Surviving Masculinist Territory» is an audio walk through the streets of Edinburgh. A woman invites audiences to follow her while listening to the story of an ‘incel’, a member of the masculinist splinter community of ‘involuntary celibates’ who meet on the internet around their hatred of women. As the life of one of these ‘incels’ intertwines with the narrative of a young woman fascinated by this highly violent movement, audiences start to question the streets they’re walking through.
Throughout the course of 2020–2021 the Swiss Selection found many innovative ways to connect Swiss artists with the UK arts scene. Virtual residencies, panel discussions and workshops have replaced live encounters, due to the Festival Fringe not taking place for two years.
The Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia has decided to continue its successful virtual residency programme and to help three artists to develop their work and practice with the support of a partner organisation in the UK. Previously it organised residencies with The Royal Court, Mayfest & LIFT festival, to name just a few, and supported artists have included Monika Truong, Ntando Cele & K7 Productions.
Learn more about ‘Swiss Selection Edinburgh: Virtual Residencies 2022’ and about the ‘Swiss Focus Performing Arts’ of the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia.