Failure Lab

Photo by Jassy Earl

The Failure Lab took place in Belgium from 13 - 22 September 2019 and investigated on a more philosophical level how failure is related to success as a positive norm in society. What is failure compared to success, who decides on that, what does failure mean on a personal and social level? What if failure turns out to be as positive as success? Then we might need real Institutes of Failures as an antidote to our society imposed fear for failures. After all, Stephen Frears is (maybe) right: 'To be successful at anything, you need the right to fail, not just occasionally.'

The Lab looked at how that applies to and effects children, parents and artists: how many failures are they allowed to make in the arts industry? And how do we, presenters and festival directors, deal with that? Do we keep supporting those failing artists or do we also turn our back in search of more successful productions? In that sense, this Lab was partly a self-reflective dialogue (even and definitely between presenters and artists).

On an artistic level, the Lab researched the creative possibilities of failure in repertoire and on stage. What role models are in our performances for young audiences?

Krokusfestival aimed to open up questions and research around failure in different ways: as a value in itself, as a start for something new (American author Zig Ziglar:  'Failure is a detour, not a dead-end street.') and as a space of freedom for creativity. The Lab worked with two lead artists - Joke Laureyns and Jef Van Gestel - introducing participating artists to different Belgian companies, with input from several non-arts experts from different social fields, and spending time with children/educators/parents/presenters.