About the topic

Photo by Jassy Earl

'Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.'

—Samuel Beckett

Congratulations, you have failed.

Why does it sound strange to accept this? Why do we consider failure as inherently negative? When and why did society develop the ideal of complete and everlasting success as the norm of human achievement? And when and why did society impose that ideal on all human beings as the standard of life? The best student, the best son, the best daughter, the best father, the best mother, the best family, the best friends, the best teacher, the best director, the best artist, simply the best. The results are terrifying: in the Swiss rich and wealthy capital of Zurich 80% of primary school children are in therapy. Not because they are a country with more problems but because when parents see their children are not perfectly successful in maths, in French writing, in IT-applications, in sports, in arts, they cannot face this reality. These well-off parents then provide their sons and daughters with highly personalised therapeutic sessions.

There seems nothing wrong with talent nor with doing one's best, there is something wrong when perfectness becomes the standard. Clearly, not being allowed to fail puts unbelievable psychical and mental stress on individuals and social structures.

PUSH+ will explore the notion of failure, why we fear it, what are its artistic possibilities and whether it stunts our appetite for taking risks and discovering ourselves and the world around us.

The Failure topic will be hosted by:

Lab - Krokusfestival, Belgium
Residency - The Ark, Ireland
Festival Presentation - SWOP (Aaben Dans), Denmark