06.11.2020 — 08.11.2020
Night Shift: from dusk till dawn
Opera, Ghent




This is a Night Shift like no other.

Gouvernement lets the interdisciplinary platform Night Shift seep into the iconic building of Opera Ballet Vlaanderen in Ghent, and in doing so also concludes the first edition of the city festival NO(W)WORRIES.

In anticipation of this Night Shift edition, business as usual seemed impossible. Upon quickly realising this, Gouvernement radically opened the platform to others, inviting six collectives to shape the event together. This extraordinary edition evolved from the ensuing conversation between Gouvernement, Bebe Books, House of Lux, La ‘S’ Grand Atelier / Post Animale, Leaving Living Dakota, Mama’s Open Mic, Zuidpark and three musicians of Opera Ballet Vlaanderen. Gathering on a weekly basis, they developed a set of shared values. This common ground enabled them to build a shared Night Shift in which exchange could take on a central role while each practice maintained its autonomy. The key question promptly arose: How can we make space for each other?

Not only do the collectives show their own work, but, in turn, they also create space for other artists they’ve invited. In this way, Night Shift transforms into a platform for dialogues between radically different artists from various disciplines. These differences aren’t hidden away or neglected. On the contrary, they act as the driving force behind the event. For three days, the opera functions as a shared refuge for some of the most diverse artists. Their works contradict and question each other critically, but now and then, when unexpected, they also rhyme beautifully. Furthermore, the collectives actively engage in conversations with opera as a building, art form and tradition. Their actions then also relate to that framework, partly by initiating collaborations with in-house artists as well as by entering into a dialogue with the spatiality, atmosphere and different meanings inherent in the institution.

The scenography created by Decoratelier actively catalyzes the negotiations with the opera and physically embodies the key question about making space. By shifting the focus and generating intimate spatial situations, two installations – one in the peristyle and the other in the auditorium – help make the opera more manageable and approachable. The interventions in these central locations trigger potential and inspiring in-between spaces where the world of the collectives and that of the opera can intersect. This allows for new understandings to appear and unanticipated possibilities to pop up. Just like Night Shift as a whole, these installations don’t oppose the institution but rather carve out spaciousness within that same institute allowing for diverse artistic ecosystems to equally meet.


The stamp is clear and visible
the marks are made
the night shift is irreversible.



© Leontien Allemeersch