L A B O T A N I K
lush arts garden
Children from 0 - 24 months old
A lush arts garden where everything and everyone can grow and blossom.
Theater De Spiegel is presenting a new artistic seedbed for little sprouts aged 0 to 24 months, their parents or minders.
After CABAN, each of whose ten modules provided its own particular artistic stimulus, Theater De Spiegel is now creating a touchy-feely garden where youngsters can bud and blossom, a pleasure garden for eyes, ears and above all the imagination.
Together the modules form one large entity with many nooks and crannies and countless possibilities.
Seedbeds to crawl through, lablab climbers and dandelion seed heads. Persian buttercups and sweet honeysuckle. A germinating and burgeonating paradise. A fertile plot for babies and their solicitous tenders. A musictopia little ones take a fancy to.
In this garden leaves appear on the trees and fall off again, birds build their nest, snails carry their house on their back and beetles spread their wings on top of blades of grass. There are things to discover at every eye level. The garden is familiar ground and yet different every day. The garden chirps and chatters, burbles and gurgles. The garden is a place where everything can grow organically.
In this garden tiny children become a little bigger as they observe their surroundings, absorbing a wealth of impressions and experiencing music, movement and image.
They can sit, lie or crawl. Roll, grasp, open and poke. They can join in the singing, drum, dance, laugh and clap. They can look and listen, but also touch. It is not a playground in which they are let loose; this garden is all about tiny tots exploring, discovering and experiencing together with their parents or minders.
Musicians, dancers and image-makers emerge from amidst the graceful kale, the swaying cow parsley and the pitter-patter of great tits. They are pollinated by both the garden and the public, they pick up on what is in the air and plant music, dance and image. Wondrous sounds, forms and movements evolve during the course of a session. And like real gardeners in real gardens, the artists in LABOTANIK also engage with the overgrowth, the paths and seeds. In each series, Monet painted the same site repeatedly, recording how the appearance changed as the light shifted
Just as Claude Monet spent 30 years repeatedly painting the same lily pond but always capturing it in a different light, so too you can experience this garden in a new way each time. New artists, new places, new moments and a new public always provide their own stimuli.
The size, technical possibilities, atmosphere, but also the moment dictate the LABOTANIK set, which means it will differ from venue to venue. The garden lives according to the seasons: cabbages and beans in the winter, seeds and leaves in the spring... And over time the garden will evolve: borders will produce more roots and the flowers will multiply.
Everything in this garden grows at its own pace. Sessions last around 90 minutes but the needs of young and old are taken into account. The artists follow the rhythm of the toddlers, they respond to the public and allow their sounds and forms to clamber and climb accordingly. They whisk the spectators off into a different world that is both calming and stimulating.
LABOTANIK invites artists to improvise, but it also provides a plot where existing or adapted repertoire can be made accessible for 0 to 2-year-olds.
LABOTANIK is the next step in the experimental creation method Theater De Spiegel has made its own in recent years.
In this stimulating environment artists are given the opportunity to come into contact with tiny tots (0-2 years) through art. Sometimes it is the encounter with other artists, sometimes it is the encounter with the public, sometimes it is both together, which ‘click’ and inspire them to allow a particular idea or a stimulus to take root. And after much care and water and fertilizer a new Theater De Spiegel production inches its way out of the ground.
Theater De Spiegel will be planting LABOTANIK in several sites in Flanders, each of which will be open to artists and spectators for several days at a time. As the garden returns to these sites, the audience for this improvisation formula will expand. Big and small know that there will always be an element of surprise in an environment which feels safe and familiar and which they can explore afresh each time.
So cultural centres, arts centres, meeting centres, community centres and many other types of centre can host the garden. On or next to the stage, in the entrance hall, meeting or yoga room, just so long as the garden can come into its own. The space defines the garden and vice versa. The atmosphere of LABOTANIK is so specific to each particular venue that visitors and spectators look, listen and walk around in a different way in a place they thought they knew. Ideally, LABOTANIK stays in the same place for several days or a week, enabling cross-fertilization with local ideas and artists.
Toddlers are generally very receptive to art and culture. As a result of having them look and listen together and looking and listening with them to music, dance and image in an environment that stimulates the senses, borders blur and the feeling grows that each and every one of us can be moved and, indeed, transported.