eBent Festival

eBent was an annual festival of international Performance in Barcelona from 2001 – 2010 that offered a space for the practice, debate, documentation and research of Action /Live Art. Organised by the collective Club 8 and directed by Maria Cosmes and Carlos Pina.

Since 2001, when eBent was born, the amount of activities related to performance art has multiplied remarkably all over Spain. In 2003 they completely broke with what they had being doing until then, forming a new organization with new and more ambitious objectives. They proposed a more daring and more open festival and time has proved them right. Not only was there a quantitative leap in terms of the number of people in the audience, but there was also a qualitative leap in that they managed to attract an audience that had not previously been to performance events and to bring young artists and women who had traditionally been neglected, to the forefront. In addition, the new approach to the festival allowed for a more intense and interesting dialogue on the theory and practice of action, giving the festival a clear and coherent identity, more committed to the current practice of performance and less conservative. For us, therefore, the intention and the programmatic line of the festival had a strong ideological component. From the third edition onwards, they considered that it was no longer necessary to ask what performance was, or even what its limits were. What they asked was, how far they wanted it to go. From this premise they sought to establish a more open, interdisciplinary, coherent and, at the same time, more accessible discursive line; a line that, beginning with performance, crosses its own frontiers to deal with other practices such as installation, urban intervention, poetry, music, dance or sculpture, among others, and then goes even further and crosses the frontiers of art, entering the field of anthropology or sociology.

While recognizing the importance of the history of performance within the contemporary art scene, it was decided that they should not get stuck in a single, univocal notion, more concerned with the purity of the “genre” than with the experimentation that new media and the dissolution of the boundaries between the different arts allow today. From eBent, it was important to help to break the sometimes too narrow boundaries that are often imposed by the history of action and to add the conviction that performance has to be understood beyond the strict framework of art, passing through all the spheres of culture.


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Sabina Vilagut