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Started in 2001, the Seoul Performing Arts Festival (SPAF) is the largest, most prominent and longest-running international performing arts festival in Korea. It is held for one month every October in Daehak-ro and nearby areas in Seoul. SPAF provides a venue for dialogue between artists and audiences through the contemporary performing arts, workshops, and forums.
SPAF is an international performing arts festival that captures the contemporary perspectives and values of the times. It respects the imagination, creativity and experimentation of artists, and is based on the diversity, inclusion and accessibility of the arts. In addition, in response to the climate crisis, SPAF pursues eco-friendliness in its direction and practice. The festival provides an opportunity for audiences and local communities to enjoy and participate in the performing arts. It focuses on contemporary art based on locality and translocality in Seoul, Korea and Asia. Moreover, it creates a forum for solidarity and cooperation with the world from a global perspective.
1. Introduce, produce, and circulate the landscape of the contemporary performing arts.
2. Communicate with the world as a window on Korean and Asian performing arts.
3. Be a forum for solidarity in coexistence and cooperation in the Korean performing arts ecosystem.
4. Promote diversity, inclusion, and accessibility, and consider and practice environmental issues in response to the climate crisis.
5. Pursue the sustainability of arts festivals and the new role of post-pandemic festivals.
SPAF presents three curatorial directions to realize new missions and visions to be "an international performing arts festival that captures contemporary perspectives and the values of the times." In addition, it aims to transform into an international performing arts festival that harmoniously coexists alongside the performing arts ecosystem.
1) New Narrative: We explore the contemporary perspective of art based on the changing values of the times. We pay attention to the voices and narratives of gender, disability, and aging not heard before. We stand in solidarity with the diversity of art and lived experience.
2) Art and Science, Innovations in Technology, and Posthumanism: We pursue engagement between art and innovative technology and science, and expansion through such engagement. We view art as various non-human, material and scientific subjects from the perspective of post-humanism.
3) Locality and Translocality: We focus on contemporary temporality and spatiality, and base ourselves on the locality and placeness of Seoul and Korea's history, society, space, architecture, and people. Based on the uniqueness of the region, we pursue the translocality of art that communicates with the world.
1. To practice art that responds to the climate crisis: We determine and fulfill the role of arts festivals in the era of the climate crisis. Our art practice takes the environment into consideration. As a festival, we are committed to finding out what kind of art activities we can carry out and what role art can play in response to the climate crisis.
2. To implement diverse accessibility in the arts: Develop audiences with disabilities based on accessibility for people with disabilities, and implement programs that provide a step by step approach to various types of accessibility.
3. To usher in Next Mobility in the Arts: We explore how the forms and ways of art and artists’ international mobility have changed post pandemic. We explore contemporary internationalism and globalism from a new perspective, and practice international mobility that considers the environment. We explore contemporary internationalism and globalism from a new perspective and practice methods of international mobility that consider the environment.
4. To create a healthy performing arts ecosystem based on collaboration: We restructure the new role of festivals in the post-pandemic era, and the role of performing arts festivals within the changed performing arts ecosystem. We cooperate for mutual success with colleagues in the private and public sectors, other regions, and overseas.
Artistic Director, Seoul Performing Arts Festival 2022-2026
Kyu Choi's career in the performing arts began with festivals in the 90s. At that time, he was interested in the body (physicality), movement, and materiality of theater. He focused on art and spatiality, and worked on site-specific performances and festivals based on the spatiality and locality of the city. He pays attention to the relationship between art, the city and people. Recently, he has been interested in sound and music while exploring how sound can expand arts.
In addition, he is exploring; the relationship between art and technology in the era where technology has become evermore commonplace; new perspectives of contemporary performing arts based on diversity and inclusion; the expansion of art that goes side by side with the development of technology and science; and the role of art from the post-humanist perspective.
Starting with the Chuncheon Mime Festival in 1994, he has been working as a festival director programming and producing various performing arts festivals including the Ansan Street Arts Festival and the Korea/UK 2017-18 season. He founded AsiaNow in 2005, where he has been developing international exchange programs for Korean theaters and various international co-creations and residency projects. He has also been active as a producer and dramaturge. As a researcher, he developed Connected City, an urban art project for Korea/UK 2017-18. He also developed the Korea DMZ Research Lab with the theme of the Borders/Boundaries in Contemporary Society through the Korean DMZ Lens. As a project for diversity, accessibility, and inclusion in art, he co-curated ＜Accessibility of Theater Space and Services for Audiences with Disabilities＞ and ＜Inclusive Access for Disability Arts • Creative Development and Making Creative Spaces＞ for the Jeju International Conference.
The Asian Producer’s Platform (APP) is a collaborative network for the development of various projects by Asian producers, which started in 2014 with the aim of independence and solidarity in the private sector. Since its foundation, Kyu's been working as a Steering Committee member for APP and APP Camp.