Fierce Festival 2012

There aren’t many festivals where it doesn’t raise an eyebrow that one of the line-up highlights is set to be a full reconstruction of the United Nations Congress, where each delegate is represented by a dachshund.

Daniel Lismore
Daniel Lismore

This, perhaps, is the beauty of Fierce Festival – an art and performance event held in Birmingham at the end of this month where, to break-out a well-worn cliché, you really should expect the unexpected.

This year’s festival extends its run to two weeks, and joining the sausage dogs is an ever-surreal line up including live art performances, city walks, talks, installations and site-specific commissions.

Bennett Miller, Dachshund UN
Bennett Miller, Dachshund UN

We’re particularly excited about the aforementioned dachshund-infused piece, Australian artists Bennett Miller’s Dachshund U.N.  The large-scale installation examines the role of the United Nations as a risk management organisation, and Miller will be creating a scale-replica sculpture of the former UN office in Geneva, in which politicians are replaced by live dachshunds.

Bennett Miller, Dachshund UN
Bennett Miller, Dachshund UN

Bristol-based company Uninvited Guests will be staging an event billed as ‘somewhere between a wedding reception, a wake and a radio dedication show’, in Love Letters Straight from Your Heart. Prior to the event, audience members are being asked to submit songs dedicated to loved ones. During the show, the performers will then recite words exclusively submitted by those in the audience, backed by songs played in an ongoing amateur DJ battle, meaning each show will be entirely unique. Show, however, may be the wrong word: this is an event aiming to blur the liens between performance and party, as the performers and audience are seated together along two tables, with cava served and speeches made throughout its duration.

Love Letters Straight from Your Heart - Uninvited Guests
Love Letters Straight from Your Heart – Uninvited Guests

In a similarly loving trope is Berlin Love Tour, courtesy of Dublin-based company Playgroup. For the piece, the streets of Birmingham are being reimagined as Berlin, with people invited to ‘visit the Berlin Wall, the Brandenburg Gate and the notorious site of Hitler’s bunker. Hear stories of tragedy and lost love’, in a piece that examines  ‘monuments and memory and the contradictory impulses to remember and forget.’

Eloise Fornieles
Eloise Fornieles

On a more surreal bent, Ann Liv Young’s Mermaid Show will see the artist writhing about in a plastic basin dressed as a mermaid, butchering raw fish while singing Katy Perry’s  Fireworks. Yes, really.

The festival hub will be showing films from Lucky PDF, who are  also hosting learning events and networking parties at various locations. The hub will also act as a ‘salon’ for The Haircut Before the Party to work their magic on the barnets of Birmingham. The faint-hearted need not apply.

Fierce Festival runs from 29 March – 8 April at various Birmingham locations. For more information visit www.wearefierce.org/

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