Queridxs amigxs,

Together with a host of Latin American and European organisations and artists, we created PRÓXIMAMENTE: a cooperative platform with a brand-new festival programme. The first edition had overwhelmingly positive effects: new networks were built, engaging performances were shown to a European audience (for the first time), and it was the start of an honest dialogue between Latin American and European artists.

This second edition was conceived in the warm afterglow of the first edition of Próximamente. Perhaps slightly bigger – but that’s not our main ambition. To share and become shareable is. We are growing purely from that vision. That’s why we are adding partners to the network, both in Belgium and throughout Europe. That way we can reduce the impact of cross-continental transport and make better use of the presence of the artists. 

The coronavirus crisis created a deep gash between editions 1 and 2 of Próximamente. Travelling large distances is questioned more than ever before, even apart from the important health aspect. 

I understand this reasoning and take it to heart, but there is more. We live in a globalised world where most travel is caused by our economic system. The logistics and relations from the colonial era are still active in regions like Latin America. Commercial organisations, which are responsible for the majority of pollution, continue to develop without anyone thinking to call them a halt.

What’s more, we should never forget that we Europeans all, in some way, live in a welfare state that arose from this asymmetrical relationship.

Art is one of the few options we have left to make this world more humane. That’s why it’s important to let stories and sensibilities circulate, and to be touched by them. If we cannot feel one another, if we cannot see how much we are alike, how we differ and how differently we see the world, we miss a wonderful opportunity to learn and grow as humans.

Art plays a fundamental role in the construction of our identity and our future. That’s why we are going ahead with the 2021 edition of Próximamente. We will be rigorously following public health protocols and do our best to minimise the ecological impact of every trip, at the very least by making optimum use of each one.

This pandemic has shown us more clearly than ever before that the entire world is connected. When something happens somewhere, it has consequences for the entire planet. It has also brought home the insight that we need to look for collective solutions. Coming together is the only way we can face challenges head-on to create a new, fairer normality. 

Now is not the time to close ourselves off from the world. That’s why I, as a fellow European and a member of the Latin American diaspora in Europe, invite you all to this second edition of the Próximamente festival.
Gerardo Salinas