Brussels Planetarium Poetry Fest 2023
For the anniversary edition of our poetry festival on the 15th and 16th of December 2023, you can already expect a lot of special things, with the theme “The World Is Your Oyster.” The world as a mollusk, as a place where pearls are born, but also beauty, like Venus. In addition, the oyster is also a barometer of the viability of oceans and seas. As an iconographic symbol, the oyster is a symbol of pleasure, of sins and their consequences – food and sex; gluttony and lust; momentary passion and transient life, but also of foreseen and unforeseen human intervention….
The planetarium is your safe oyster, away from reality, a soft, pleasant place full of life: an intimate room where the audience can experience poetry in all its aspects. Want to know how the poets deal with this theme in their language and how their readings are materialized in projections? Then be sure to come check it out! Our renewed curatorial team has already selected a number of top domestic and foreign artists, supplemented by winners of our Open Call. We introduce them to you in the pictures. Soon you will also be able to find more information about the various artists on this page.
Brand new projections have also been created for their performances. Through a collaboration with the AP Hogeschool and Maxlab, a lot of creative students are also working on them this year, obviously in consultation with the artists. So we can assure you a unique total experience during this edition, with top performances and immersed in beautiful visual creations.
The invited artists of this years edition are:
Xabiso Vili (SA)
The World Poetry Slam Champion and a Mail & Guardian top 200 Young South African, Xabiso Vili is a multi-award-winning performer, writer, new media artist, producer, director, digital strategist and social activist. He is the founder of Siziintsomi Creations, a creative incubator company that focuses on the intersection of storytelling, innovative mediums and healing. An Electric South New Dimensions Lab 5 alumni and a Business and Arts South Africa Cultural Producer Programme cohort and a Future Africa Grant recipient which allowed him to create a new poetry visual album in virtual reality. He has also been awarded a Leeds 2023 international artist seed commission to research a new augmented reality mural work for the year of culture and is working on a new large scale projection mapping installation for the Creation African forum, both to be exhibited in 2023.
Gonca Özmen (TR)
Gonca Özmen, born in 1982 in Burdur, Tefenni, is a prolific Turkish poet and translator. She earned her BA in English Language and Literature from Istanbul University in 2004, followed by an MA in 2008 and a PhD in 2016 from the same department. Recognized early in her career, she received praise at The Yaşar Nabi Nayır Youth Prizes in 1997. Özmen has published several acclaimed poetry books, including “Kuytumda” (2000), “Belki Sessiz” (2008), and “Bile İsteye” (2019). Her work has been translated into multiple languages. Notable publications include “The Sea Within” (2011) and “Vielleicht Lautlos” (2017). Özmen has also contributed to literary translation and editing, translating children’s books and working on projects such as the unpublished poems of İlhan Berk. Actively involved in the literary scene, she has participated in international poetry readings and served on the editorial boards of literary magazines. Currently residing in Istanbul, Özmen is engaged in editing, translating Sylvia Plath’s Collected Poems, and contributing to various literary initiatives.
Astrid Haerens (BE)
Astrid Haerens is a Brussels author of prose and poetry. In September 2017 she made her debut with the novel Stadspanters with Polis. Her poetry debut Oerhert was published in the spring of 2022 by Atlas Contact. In Oerhert, Haerens investigates the effects of oppressive systems and transgressive behavior on a woman’s body. Oerhert won the 2023 Poetry Debut Prize and was nominated for the Herman de Coninck Prize and the C. Buddingh’ Prize. Astrid regularly takes the stage, including with sound artist Mariske Broeckmeyer (MARIS). With MARIS together with cellist Jasmijn Lootens she made the LP ‘Anger’s family tree’, which will be released in January 2024 by W.E.R.F. records. They will go on tour with this album in the spring of 2024 under Jazzlab. From 2022 to 2024, Astrid will be Letterzetter of Kortrijk, an alternative interpretation of the city poet concept. She leads a collective of writers and has been curator of the Memento word arts festival for two years.
Katharina Wenty (AT)
Katharina Wenty is one of the most successful slam poets in the German-speaking traveling the world with her poetry performances. As a filmmaker, she has won the Media Literacy Award, the Zeit:impuls short film award etc. In 2018 she became the Poetry Slam State Champion for Vienna, Lower Austria and Burgenland and finalist at the European Poetry Slam Championship in Budapest. Since the age of 18 she has been appearing in various anthologies and magazines, and in 2022 her own book Hautflügelmieder was published. As chairwoman of Poetry slam’md – association for stage art, literature and youth culture she regularly organizes and moderates poetry slams with an international focus in Mödling. She represents Austria in the World Poetry Slam Organization and is involved in the organization of European and World Poetry Slam Championships. She is also part of the team of the Art Visuals & Poetry Film Festival, the second largest poetry film festival in the world. Katharina lives and works in Vienna.
Mel Moya (BE)
Mel Moya is a slam artist from Seraing in the Liège region, performing, accompanied by music or a cappella, on international stages. Winner of the Paroles Urbaines and Borderlines literary prizes – Euregion Poetry Slam in 2021-2022 and has been attracted to words, poetry and books since early childhood. Even if books and magazines did not exist in the family home, they spent most of their time in the community library. An impulse to find legitimacy in French…
Their slam serves as his passport to settle in the most prestigious cultural places. Mel Moya performs on international stages in France, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Benin and Senegal, during which they reveal their texts, refined in the modesty of her notebooks.
Koukis Christos (GR)
Christos Koukis was born in 1979 and he is a poet and editor. He has published poetry books in Greece, France, India, Serbia and poems of his have been translated in ten (10) languages. He has participated in many international poetry festivals and anthologies. He has collaborated in art projects such as Documenta 14. He is the director of the Crete International Poetry Festival and Serres International Poetry Festival. He lives and works in Athens, Greece.
Peter Beda (BE)
Peter Beda (°1972) is a Belgian writer, poet and MC/singer, currently based in Brussels. He has released several musical projects under the name 72 Soul, Lazy Rebel and Pierre Citron. He has been published in Maintenant 11 & 16 (A Journal of Contemporary Dada Writing and Art) and has self-published some underground zines such as “VIRUS.” and “Pierre Citron” booklets – as well as released several vinyls and tapes. He writes in French, English and Dutch and holds a master degree in Comparative Cultural Sciences.
Peter Beda brings a new voice and vibe to the art form of rap, autobiographical fiction and poetry, using a spoken-thought method to shine light from the mental darkness of doubt and confusion, which he understands as an element of hindering personal progress.
Flygmaskin, meaning “flying machine” in Swedish, began as a musical project in 2012 with Sébastien Willemyns (keyboards, violin, piano) and Julien De Borman (diatonic accordion), accomplices for more than 25 years (Turdus Philomelos, Anavantou!, . ..). In 2021, Muriel, an everyday poet, joins them, transforming the duo into a trio. Together, they create airy, cinematic and organic music. The unique combination of keyboards, the essential exchanges between the accordionist, the keyboardist, poetry and silence offer an intimate journey aboard their Flygmaskin: the flying machine.
For four years, they have been enchanting various places in Wallonia, Brussels, Flanders and France, often described as composers of the soundtrack to your inner film. In 2023, their new orientation guides them along the Scheldt, merging music, poetry, sound images and landscapes. Their performance is described as a suspended journey where music and setting enhance each other. Critics praise their dense framework and their tight weaving of notes, offering a flight beyond conventions, far from academic purring.
James Flambé (BE)
James Flambé is the multidisciplinary project of percussionist-singer Joy Voncken and author and (visual) poet Sven Staelens. With roots in Afro-Cuban music and a love for melody, field recordings and environmental sounds, Joy has traveled many musical paths. He performs stories that come to him, that slowly ferment in his head or that arise somewhere at the intersection between the two.
It is at that intersection that Sven stood with his thumb in the air. The stories were guided in the right direction and an organic fusion of spoken word, soundscapes, beats and vocal lines emerged.
Since then, the pair has been diligently working on a repertoire in which words and music lift each other to higher regions. On their journey, musician friends occasionally jump on the bandwagon, such as double bassist Koen Toté on their first single “nok”.