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World Routes 2008

Curatorial Statements

A series of festivals that run from June through September, World Routes 2008 at Harbourfront Centre explores ideas in contemporary culture. The city of Toronto is viewed as a ‘laboratory’ of creativity. Cultures from all over the globe have converged on this city and with them they have brought rich artistic traditions. One could say that Toronto is the ideal example of emerging globalized cities. As we can easily observe if we look at culinary innovations and ‘fusion’ cuisine, this phenomenon is mirrored in artists who innovate and hybridize artistic forms. Through World Routes 2008, Harbourfront Centre will explore the cultural alchemy that makes Toronto unique.

In World Routes 2008, Harbourfront Centre will bring together an innovative and eclectic multidisciplinary exploration of the idea ofborders.

One can approach borders in strictly literal terms as places and spaces that define territories and geographies, these territories have experienced massive shifts if we look at global history and prehistory. However if we look beyond geographic constraints, we can explore borders as abstract; as psychological spaces within ourselves; as links to identities; as naming and re-naming of spaces and places; as the conquered and conquerors; as frontiers for opportunities; as beginnings not ends/boundaries; as evolutionary and revolutionary; as borderless.

Harbourfront Centre will bring together artists from across Canada and around the globe to the borders of possibility — past, present and future.

— Melanie Fernandez, Director, Community and Educational Programmes

A ROCKY MOUNTAIN HIGH: The Banff Centre - June 27-29, 2008

A Rocky Mountain High: The Banff Centre is our celebration of the 75th anniversary of The Banff Centre and its contribution to the cultural landscape of Canada. Located in one of the most spectacular regions of Canada, Banff, Alberta provides the context for much of the creativity that develops at the Centre. The Canadian Rocky Mountain range and its spectacular geography is the launching point for the creative energies that artists bring to The Banff Centre.

World Routes 2008 brings together an innovative and eclectic multidisciplinary approach to the idea of borders throughout the summer. This festival showcases The Banff Centre crossing borders in a multitude of ways. The Centre’s alumni create, produce and perform all over the world. Numerous artistic disciplines — literary, visual arts, music, dance, film, new media - interact within a multidisciplinary environment, allowing artists to push the boundaries, experiment, share knowledge, create and showcase new work. The Aboriginal Arts program is a catalyst for the work of First Nations artists coming together from across the country. Mountain Culture at The Banff Centre creates opportunities for people to find inspiration in mountain cultures and mountain adventures throughout the world.

Given the strong impact of Banff on shaping the cultural life of Canada and Canadian art around the world, this is the perfect festival for Canada Day weekend.

— Mira Coviensky, Alok Sharma and Melanie Fernandez

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CANADA DAY - July 1, 2008

On July 1st, Harbourfront Centre celebrates the nation’s foremost rite of passage with the biggest birthday party of the year: Canada Day 2008!

Chartering through the culturally and geographically diverse landscape of our provinces and territories, Harbourfront Centre will celebrate all things that sound, feel, look, and taste like Canada!

From our quirky Canadian habits to the new Canadians pledging their oath at the Swearing-in Ceremony, Harbourfront Centre poses the question - what are the “rites of passage” that help define and build our Canadian identity, our artistic identity from the historical to the contemporary?

Built around the idea of crossing borders, we explore how migration from within and outside the Canadian border has shifted and merged local identities with a national and global sensibility, and explore the way we get to know each others better.

Through music, dance, food, film, visual arts, and activities for the entire family, visitors celebrate the iconically Canadian and the uniquely hyphenated-Canadian experience on the urban shores of Toronto’s waterfront.

— Evelyn Siu and Dalton Higgins, January 2008

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BEATS, BREAKS & CULTURE - July 4-6, 2008

Five years in the making, Beats, Breaks and Culture has become a staple in Harbourfront Centre’s World Routes series.

For its 5th year anniversary we will continue to pursue, celebrate and showcase some of the best national and international electronic music and culture. Electronic music crosses borders of all genres mixing hip hop, house, punk, funk, jazz, techno, jungle and unclassified. It consistently combines olds sounds to create new ones.

Future elements of dance and music will be presented throughout the weekend and our film programming will also explore the idea of borders by focusing on the global domination of electronic music and culture.

— Alok Sharma and Diana Webley, February 2008

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RITMO Y COLOR - July 11-13, 2008

Breaking Borders is the theme for this year's Ritmo Y Color…back as one of the most popular and anticipated summer festivals within the World Routes festival season.

Undercutting the negative and limiting connotations around Borders, our curatorial challenge is to “break” the geographical, political, linguistic, artistic, emotional and psychological borders that separate spaces, people and communities.

Looking at a cross-cultural pollinization of artists, artistic disciplines and nations from across and beyond Latin & South America, we celebrate the ideas and the achievements that unite the Diaspora.

From contemporary dancers to cutting edge musicians, from passionate discussions about films/visual arts to sensual stories about food - the festival will push and break boundaries and stereotypes of what we think we know about Latin America.

— Sandra Whiting, Alok Sharma and Evelyn Siu

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TIRGAN: Iranian Festival - July 17-20, 2008

Iranian Canadian Centre for Art and Culture and Harbourfront Centre will celebrate Tirgan, a festival focused on exploring diversity in Iranian art and culture.

We showcase a highly interdisciplinary program which includes various art forms and styles in presentations and performances by world class artists and literary figures in music, dance, theatre, film, visual arts, and literature.

Affirming borders was at the core of the ancient Tirgan festival. According to legends, Tirgan is the outcome of a dispute over borders between two ancient empires of Iran and Touran. An arrow, shot by Arash, the best archer in the Iranian Army, settled the boundary and resulted in the inclusion and thus enrichment of many cultures.

This festival will re-examine the idea of borders in time, space, taste, and discipline.

— Kerri MacDonald and Dalton Higgins

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What is Classical? - July 25-27, 2008

A new festival that will run from July 25-27, 2008, What is Classical? will explore ideas of "Classical" music from a broad range of cultural perspectives. The festival will pose the question, "what is classical" as we explore musical forms from South Asian, Chinese, African and others.

Indian and Chinese classical music traditions have some of the most complex and complete musical systems ever developed but how is it understood and positioned in the broader "classical" music framework.

Harbourfront Centre will use this opportunity to make classical music accessible to all audiences and challenge our perceptions of "classical". Through music showcases, panel discussions and film we will engage audiences in an intriguing journey from east to west, across borders and across music forms and traditions.

What is Classical? will use music to instigate a multidisciplinary exploration of the idea of borders around musical forms and explode the borders of your understanding.

— Kerri MacDonald and Dalton Higgins

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Island Soul - Aug 1-4, 2008

This year’s edition of Island Soul will provide an accessible way for Harbourfront Centre audiences to crisscross a series of Caribbean cultural borders — shaped by African, Indian and European influences — across artistic disciplines.

This creolized process of intercultural mixing and invisible borders, from island to island, finds its way in the food, music, dance, film and more at Island Soul. Enjoy and enlighten yourself on the tasty food staples like roti that have all to do with Indian arts, cuisine and cultural borders crossing into the Caribbean, beginning with Indian indentured labor and settlement patterns in Trinidad; as do similarly South Asian influences found in sounds which round out the melodies of Chutney and Parang Calypso's heard this year. Our music presentations and concerts will engage and educate audiences on ages-old African cultural practices found in various strains of Caribbean music like reggae. To the Rastafarian reggae singers at Island Soul this year, the borders between Ethiopia and Jamaica don’t really exist, given the religious tenets that inform the music and point to Ethiopia as a "promised land". Quite literally, the Ethiopian language of Amharic is found in the sounds of Jamaica's The Abyssinians, legendary creators of reggae's national anthem "Satta Massagana" which will be performed on the Sirius Satellite Radio Stage.

Island Soul will also be taking a jump across linguistic borders with a series of special French Caribbean Creole showcases, demonstrations and workshops — artistic output so vibrant it transcends any vernacular differences.

— Dalton Higgins and Michael Tait

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South Asia Calling - Aug 8-10, 2008

The objectives and goals of South Asia Calling are to celebrate the diversity of South Asian culture through music, film, dance, theatre, literature and comedy. South Asia Calling will present contemporary culture with a primary focus on the Masters/Icons of the region. This will be represented in all of the above artistic disciplines. South Asia Calling will incorporate all generations by presenting the icons of the region and their impact on the greater South Asian culture.

World Routes 2008 brings together an innovative and eclectic multidisciplinary approach to the idea of borders throughout the summer. South Asia is a region that encompasses many countries including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal. It has a long and vibrant history of prosperity and cultural richness dating back to before the 18th century during the Mughal Empire and has overcome 300 years of European colonization which divided India into many different countries by creating new borders. South Asia is the home to many religions including Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Jainism and Islam. It is also the home to renowned icons, artisans and legends. From Mahatma Gandhi to Amitabh Bachan to MIA to Nobel Prize winner Muhummad Yunus, South Asia has spawned artists and activists alike.

South Asia Calling will examine how South Asia has blended borders through the arts and culture. We will see the similarities and uniqueness of the different countries that make up this incredibly diverse region.

— Alok Sharma and Mira Coviensky

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Hot & Spicy Food Festival - Aug 15-17, 2008

The Hot & Spicy Food Festival explores the diversity of hot food and flavors from around the globe, and occasionally pairs a spicy dish with a complementary sampling of the hot sounds of the region. 2008 is the 11th anniversary of Hot & Spicy at Harbourfront, and the excitement heats up this year as we celebrate the 5th anniversary of the Iron Chef Competition, with the debut of Iron Chef International.

We will be venturing outside the usual borders of Canadian chefs, and adding an international flavour, incorporating cooking techniques from celebrated dishes from 'down south'. We will push the boundaries of Hot & Spicy, to include Sour, Sweet and Salty food items.

Hot & Spicy will also incorporate aphrodisiac foods because of their universal, borderless appeal. We will expand the culinary delights beyond offerings that are merely pleasing to the palette, to offer foods that also nurture the sensuality - foods such as oysters and chocolates. We will engage the visitors' taste-buds differently by introducing spices that make the ordinary extra-ordinary, starting with flavoured salt that transforms the dish while keeping you healthy.

The music program complements these hot feelings with a sampling of the "lover’s rock" genre of reggae and the sensual sounds of Brazilian bossa nova.

— Diana Webley and Dalton Higgins

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