Whitehot Magazine

BAD MOØN festival # 1


BAD MOØN festival # 1

Bands: Brutus, Black Swarm, Grimmsons, Throatsnapper, El Yunque, Blægger, Tithonus, Mantis, Casual Riot, Nótt, Varkenshond, Yadayn, Cold Open, Nimai, Smaed  

2pm, Sunday Nov. 30th, 2014, Kievitsnest, Antwerp, Belgium 


BAD MOØN festival # 1: Focus and boundaries, presenting the inexpressible

Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Psalm 32:1

Animality - Alienation - Exaltation - Pathless - Guidance - Unbiased - Vulnerable - Virtue


After some years of reorientation and scrutinizing the spirits, Jan Van Woensel, curator of the internationally traveling exhibition Bad Moon Rising, is preparing a new project: BAD MOØN festival #1. With 15 bands on 3 stages, ranging from extreme metal to introvert folk, this nomadic, underground festival will invoke a blend of diverse feelings; rebellion, dysphoria, gloom, melancholy, indulgence, recognition, alleviation...The goal is to create a vibe similar to an abundance of meteorological phenomena that among others mostly focuses on universal fear and postmodern emptiness. The first edition of the festival will take place in an impressive venue, a desanctified church located in the shadow of Antwerp, which emphasizes the absence of any persuasion, belief or permanent secure cornerstone. In this organization Van Woensel is assisted by Jochen Van Den Eynde. Their meeting was not at all random or accidental. Not so long ago they found each other on the frontier of introspection and confession in a mental facility in Belgium - collaboration was manifested. 

Starting in 2007, then living and working in the United States, Jan Van Woensel was traveling with his group exhibition Bad Moon Rising from San Francisco to New York, Saint Louis, to London, Oslo, Amsterdam and Brussels. He worked with anarchists, musicians, artists and writers such as Lee Ranaldo (Sonic Youth), Zach De La Rocha (Rage against The Machine), Chad VanGaalen, Philippe Vandenberg, Claire Fontaine, Tony Garifalakis, Tariq Ali and The Weather Underground. Initially inspired by The Cinema of Transgression, the infamous 1980’s NYC underground film movement whose shared aims were to transgress all limits set or prescribed by taste, morality or any other traditional value system, Bad Moon Rising was an ever-changing exhibition with a bad mood that aimed to expose sociopolitical and psychological disturbances. Bad Moon Rising exposed the dark side of the human soul; it was an anti-commercial, grotesque and inferno-like exhibition. According to the curator, Bad Moon Rising was also a critique upon the many thematically illustrative exhibitions that are being organized and curated by independent entrepreneurs, as well as by major institutions in the conservative art world.  

With the following BAD MOØN festival, Van Woensel focuses on the underground music scene. His selection of bands arrives intuitively and organic. Different than in the art business he doesn't claim a frontal exposed position as curator of the festival. This way he can master the whole as a silent connecter and visionary, as you will. The main goal is to create an atmosphere, a situation wherein the visitors immerse and are invited to undergo or fight personal boundaries. Jan Van Woensel invites us to join him on a journey, a quest of self discovery, to scan our limits and at the same time just let go, absorb and submerge.

The Jouissance of transgression. Between expectation and actualisation.

To define transgression we must think of a threshold, or rather a movement towards the threshold, towards the limit, where interpretation is no longer. We must think of the self being pushed to its own limits, where it uncovers new limits, in an infinite procedure, that instead of liberating the self from its confines, imposes new limits that must be again transgressed. Each limit is revealed through transgression, which is a process that seeks to overcome interpretation. 

Lacan considered that "there is a jouissance beyond the pleasure principle"; a jouissance which compels the subject to constantly attempt to transgress the prohibitions imposed on his enjoyment, to go beyond the pleasure principle. Yet the result of transgressing the pleasure principle is not more pleasure but pain, since there is only a certain amount of pleasure that the subject can bear. Beyond this limit, pleasure becomes pain, and this "painful principle" is what he calls jouissance. 

The two leitmotifs of the Bad Moon Rising exhibitions as well as BAD MOØN festival are transgression and melancholy. Music is not to be understood but to be felt, in that way it’s very near to jouissance, transgression of the pleasure principle and exceeding musical laws. 

“I haven't understood a bar of music in my life, but I have felt it.” 

- Igor Stravinsky

Nothing exists that doesn’t have this senseless sense - common to flames, dreams, uncontrollable laughter - in those moments when consumption accelerates, beyond the desire to endure. Even utter senselessness ultimately is always this sense made of the negation of all the others.

- Georges Bataille, The Impossible

As Jochen Van Den Eynde said during our talk, in former times he didn't like noise, didn't understand it nor the people who listen to it. Lately, when he visited some bands of Van Woensel's interest, he discovered a new look on things, an openness, even to the degree of excitement and pleasure. We grow in our beliefs of wrong and right. Most of us are raised with a lot of boundaries that often are not our own. Later we discover how our feelings are towards experiences, prejudice, context, certain people. In the best scenario, there are no boundaries. But if you believe in boundaries then they are; your belief creates them. "As a man thinks, so he is." And if you don't believe in anything, you are infinite, because no belief can be infinite. All beliefs are bound to be finite. Everything and all is connected. An event such as BAD MOØN can bring us jouissance and therefore maybe even salvation.

Here we come across an excessive need for free and revolutionary attitudes and behaviour which they draw from some vision of theirs of how the world should look like 

Sid Vicious, founder of anarchy through the punk movement. 

Jan Van Woensel

BAD MOØN festival is created without budget as were the movies of Cinema of Transgression. Again an interesting exercise on limitations, with co-working, believing, creativity and goodwill as consequence. 

Another source of inspiration for Van Woensel is the painting series ‘The scream of nature’ by Norwegian artist Edvard Munch; an agonized expression of screaming but without sound, the painting is mute. At BAD MOØN festival there will be no silent moment, even when an acoustic band is playing their intimate songs, it can be suppressed by a noise band performing simultaneously on another stage, like a multi layered invitation. The listener may find himself screaming numb or extremely loud, like a physical confrontation. Different from the Bad Moon Rising art exhibitions is that here the participants can also physically confront their limits, whilst in the art scene it mostly involves a cerebral challenge. With BAD MOØN festival, the organizer examines his own boundaries; with his selection of live playing bands and their sometimes eccentric followers he is challenged to let go of his personal control of the situation. He has to have faith that his intuition and the circumstances will fall together. Even if this might not be the case, it remains an interesting practice on his own restrictions.

Is society giving us too many rules and regulations? When we practice letting go, will we take our own responsibility, or will there be total chaos? BAD MOØN festival will be an experiment, a hurricane-like music event, potentially inspiring other organizations to join Van Woensel on his fanatic journey. 



Kim Kindermans


The author of this article, Kim Kindermans is an independent curator, writer and founder of Multitude (a host of contemporary phenomena), based in Antwerp, Belgium.

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