"In each of us there is a double desire at work. I want to be together with others, I long for recognition; I want to feel seen and liked, I want to pull the other person against me - come here, let me kiss you. But also wanting to be alone, to withdraw into the shell of my body; I close the shutters and turn off my phone - leave me alone. The latter is the exception, the first desire is many times stronger: we are social cuddly animals." So writes Paul Verhaeghe in Keep your distance, touch me, an essay he published in June 2020.
A year ago, we were all still in quarantine and culture was limited to experiencing a digital festival via a screen. Today, the cards are in a better position and we are passionately looking forward to working with you, with orchestras, conductors, soloists, chamber musicians and other artists from Belgium and abroad, to once again experience masterful live performances in one room.
Individual and collective
However, not everyone embraces getting outside again: some of us are repelled by too much physical proximity and like to postpone the hectic existence of the past for a while. Business as usual often degenerates into mindless conformity, or so it is said here and there. Incidentally, did we not see the crisis as an opportunity to do things differently in the future? But then again, doesn't that require a lot of human interaction? Sitting together, deliberating, getting together and rolling up our sleeves?
Tensions between the individual and the collective are of all times. However, during and after moments of crisis, this relationship is always put on edge. This is exactly what we want to discuss during Klarafestival 2022. How much individual freedom can a society tolerate? And when does collectivism become harmful to the individual? Let's Stick Together, after Bryan Ferry's album, is the sentence that will accompany us for no less than 17 days, sometimes as a triumphant exclamation, sometimes as a doubting question.