A hybrid performance by
director Julie Pfleiderer, composer Oxana Omelchuk, vocal performer Caroline Daish and Ictus Ensemble



SAFE premiered in Kaaistudios in 2018, long before the corona-crisis.
In 2020 Julie Pfleiderer’s performance feels strangely consistent with our lives.

The current pandemic is causing waves of bacillophobia and fear of infection in our society. In Todd Haynes’ film Safe (1995), a woman called Carole White suffers from increasingly intense allergic reactions that ultimately make her life almost unlivable. It is unclear whether she is a victim or an attention-seeking manipulator. The performance is searching for the causes and symptoms of our times: depression, attention deficit, hyperactivity disorder, borderline syndrome, burnout, 21-century disease. Is it possible that our daily life inside the digital panoptikum (Byung-Chul Han) is marked by a craze for communication and consuming, self-optimizing, self-display, transparency that is leading into an abyss and possibly into a global mental collapse? How do we become hostages of our environment, like Carol Whites of today, test rabbits of sophisticated hidden power techniques?

As both a concert and a performance, and inspired by the film, SAFE sketches an image of hypersensitivity. The contemporary Western world wants to find explanations for everything, and so does the human mind. We tell ourselves stories in order to live, says writer Joan Didion. 

What is your safe place? 

Is it your home? A specific room perhaps?

Maybe a place where you know you’re not alone?

Somewhere you can look people in the eye?

Is it a place of predictability? Where you know what to expect?

Or is it a quiet place? Within?

A place of forgiveness?

Is safety a storm for you? Somewhere you get picked apart, are being challenged?

Or is it a memory perhaps?

What is your safe place?

SAFE is an immersive journey into the human mind, constructed as a game between environmental influences and our own fragmented thoughts. 

What starts as a concert gradually evolves into a sophisticated live audio play –
a cognitive experience captivated through headphones and binaural listening.

direction & concept Julie Pfleiderer
composition & concept Oxana Omelchuk
 & concept Caroline Daish
musicians Tom Pauwels (guitar), Gerrit Nulens (percussion), Hanna Kölbel (cello)
sound design Antoine Delagoutte
script Pieter Delfosse
choreography Christine De Smedt
set, costume & light Jochen Schmitt-Thelen

Produced by Ictus & Kunstenwerkplaats Pianofabriek
Co-produced by Kaaitheater, Ars Musica, BUDA Kortrijk, Wien Modern, Brut Wien
Thank you to PACT Zollverein
Thank you to Bart Van den Eynde

Premiere in Brussels: 22/ 23 November 2018 at Kaaistudios & 26 September 2020 at Kaaitheater as season opening
Shows in Vienna: 27/ 28/ 29 November 2018 at Brut / Wien Modern
Shows in Berlin: 13 March 2019 at Kontraklang Berlin
Shows in Kortrijk: 25 May 2019 at BUDA Kortrijk

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