The Golden Snail Opera | Performance by Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing

Lecture/performance by Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing, introduced by Rotor

Selected by
Concertgebouw Brugge
20:00 - May 28


The Golden Snail Opera

What’s Eating the Chinese Mitten Crab, the project mounted by Rotor for the Bruges Triennial, orchestrates an encounter between visitors to two arts festivals: the Triennial in Bruges and Beaufort in Zeebrugge. The starting point for this project is the massive presence of a non-native species of crab in the Bruges canals and waterways: the Chinese mitten crab or Eriocheir sinensis. In China, this crab is considered a delicacy, but here the creature is colonising our waterways and upsetting the local natural equilibrium. Scientists are looking for ways to respond to this problem by finding ways to destroy this crab population or researching modes of coexistence with native animal and plant species.Rotor’s project serves as an occasion to investigate this type of natural disruption in greater detail. How do we deal with invasive species? Do we have to keep ‘vermin’ out, or try to live in harmony with them?On 28 May, Archipel, the Bruges Triennial and the Ghent Centre for Global Studies (University of Ghent) invite anthropologist Anna Tsing to give a presentation on her research into invasive species. Tsing, professor at the University of Aarhus (DK) and the University of California, Santa Cruz (US), has been working for many years on the impact of invasive species on our environment. In her book The Mushroom at the End of the World, she describes, for example, the story of the matsutake, one of the most desirable mushrooms in the world. The matsutake is a true delicacy which commands extraordinary prices. It is also an environmental wonder that can nurture trees, revive ailing woods and allow vegetation to grow in inhospitable regions. The matsutake stands in this account as a metaphor for our contemporary society. The mushroom, thanks to the international ecological catastrophe, was spared not by good will but by capitalism. The longer this trend lasts, the more it impacts our global existence. According to Tsing, it is important therefore that we look for a shared narrative in which humans and other species can live together in a shared vulnerability. It is only by doing so that we can achieve change, in her view.On this evening, Tsing will perform her The Golden Snail Opera for the first time in public. The performance is inspired by a Taiwanese opera, and tells the story of the golden, or apple snail, a South American freshwater snail that was exported to Taiwan in the twentieth century as a ‘delicacy’. However, the local population had different ideas. The creature was released into nature and today has become a pest to local farmers and flora and fauna. As with the Chinese mitten crab, there are two options: exterminate or accept.Tickets: €7 volwassenen| €5 studenten | Archipelleden gratis



Rotor, founded in 2005, is a Brussels architecture collective focused on the cycle of industrial and construction materials. Critic of existing regulatory and cultural standards, Rotor has worked in recent years with architects and decision makers to stress the ecological and economic importance of recycling in construction, disseminate their research in publications (including their Vademecum) and through conferences. Rotor DC - Deconstruction and the commercial site that accompanies it give economic value to recycled building materials.

The team is made up of architects, designers and other professionals in the engineering and materials sciences, including Lionel Billiet, Lionel Devlieger, Tristan Boniver, Gabrielle Leyden, Maarten Gielen, Michael Ghyoot, Benjamin Lasserre, Melanie Tamm and Renaud Haerlingen. In 2010, they represented Belgium at the 12th International Architecture Biennale of Venice with “Usus / Usures”, in 2013 they were the curatorial team for Oslo Triennale of Architecture “Behind the Green Door”. In 2016, they were nominated for OVAM Ecodesign PRO Award.

website Rotor

Co-production: Triënnale Brugge, Archipel vzw


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The Bruges Triennial is a collaboration between Brugge Plus, Musea Brugge, Kenniscentrum vzw and Cultuurcentrum, commissioned by the City of Bruges