Esch-sur-Alzette, Luxembourg’s second largest city, was named European Capital of Culture 2022 and celebrated its grand opening on February 26. For the ceremony, which lasted several hours, the Esch region, together with our creative studio – and in the midst of the Covid 19 pandemic -, ventured into the future: culture was created by the whole region itself.
While music is available in abundance thanks to streaming services and consumers being bombarded with new releases from all over the world every day, one sound in particular often remains concealed: The music scene right in front of our own doorstep. What does your own city or even entire region sound like? Who are the people who make music their passion? What instruments and genres do they use? And who is creating the beats of tomorrow at their home? We have found a way to unite these grass-roots sounds of a city and bring them to life: We present Future Frequencies.
Throughout our creative fleshing out for the Esch2022 REMIX Festival — our series of action-packed preamble activations to the Esch2022 European Capital of Culture kick-off next year — the guiding values were inclusivity, creativity, and participation. The latter, of course, means reaching demographics as wide and diverse as the region itself, appreciating the full breadth of talent and ideas latent within our communities. While most of our activations have sought to unleash the artistic self-expression of participants by inviting them through sound or movement, the latest junction of our efforts have concerned the realm of future-oriented thinking — and who better to manifest these visionary dreams than the voices of tomorrow, the children themselves?
We designed a major youth research program, the Esch2022 Space Program, for hundreds of children and young adults to collaboratively craft and share their vision for the future through exploring the topic of humanity in space, and the possibility of habitable regions beyond Earth. Is there more to space than its mining?
Amid today’s overabundance of musical output, it’s commonplace to find ourselves longing for novelty, or romanticizing the distant, the faraway, the unknown – but what can spark true magic, is realising just how wide and varied the creative palette (and community) right on our doorstep can be. Music, just like creativity, can be sourced and spotted anywhere. From the busy street to nature’s noises, and from classical piano to neo-Americana and Iranian folk, what fuels true innovation is, above all, curiosity and passion. Assembling a crew of Luxembourg’s most promising sonic enthusiasts of today, the Future Frequencies workshop – an initiative forming part of the prelude to the Esch2022 European Capital of Culture festivities, which we have been directing and producing – is actively fostering both values.
The past year has prompted more than one type of reflection amidst our creative team. With event formats radically altering, and “creative solutions” having to take on unprecedentedly novel meanings, we found ourselves rethinking virtually every facet of our ideation and production processes — not simply out of logistical constraints, but also for the sake of the audiences left in limbo, unsure of what to seek out, and, crucially, of what can be obtained. While in theory, this positioning grants a lot of power to those in charge of deciding the cultural offer, we refrained from using this power in overly didactic terms; we should not be the ones telling audiences what to enjoy, what to look for, or what to experience. Instead, our strategy has been to empower them to create, curate, and live it out themselves. This principle of interactive co-creation and organic engagement lies at the heart of the hybrid experiences and culture we’ve nurtured over the past year. We like our audiences to be active. Figuratively, and, sometimes, literally — as attested by our latest initiative Esch2022moves, forming an integral part of the prelude to the Esch2022 European Capital of Culture celebrations.
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