Performance Pause / Play

By Basement 21

As actions, pause and play are associated with the choice of suspending a flow of activity to create a small rift in time. In this interim period, our experience of ourselves and things around us becomes magnified and immediate. Basement 21, a collective of contemporary practitioners, proposes a series of artistic interruptions in a playful, yet thought-provoking structure.

The activities proposed take the form of interactions, site-specific installations and performances - music, dance, theatre - all responding to the idea of interruption. Breaking or bursting in the middle of a flow in the routine running of various institutions and public spaces, these interruptions propose a heightened sense of awareness of the here and now.

As an act, interruption fragments the flow of the current, the present, before it becomes history. It assumes that totalising forces are at work in the very present itself. By proposing the idea of ‘interruption’, Basement 21 urges people to resist any complacent joining of dots that concern society, institution, culture or identity.

As with all its projects, the B21collective raises the question of ‘the contemporary’ and how to define it. At times, this question is raised through views from the outside. Sometimes it comes as a response to the ‘tradition’ we are often surrounded by.

No matter from which perspective we arrive, this sometimes loaded term, the aesthetic and politic it represents, requires constant debate and rethinking before we can possibly even conceive of a context for viewing - a viewing that can be not merely informed, but interrogative. One in which references and connections between the arts and across cultures can be made.


Basement 21 is a platform that presents the ‘contemporary’ in art. It investigates contemporary thought and action by focusing not just on the artistic ‘product’ but the artistic process and surrounding discourse. In this way, it aims to provide and allow a necessary context to be reconstructed. basement 21 is run by practitioners, informed by practice, and therefore committed to enabling and strengthening the growth of contemporary arts practice.