The mass man

Based on the book Crowds and Power by Elias Canetti, Wouter Van Looy and Wim Catrysse zoom in on mass movements and the development of power.

‘There is nothing that man fears more than the touch of the unknown.’ It is with this statement that Elias Canetti opens Crowds and Power (1962). The book not only reads as a reflection on mass movements and the display of power in the early twentieth century, it is also a guide for today and the starting point for The mass man.

In a spatial installation, images are shown of a place of conflict where traces of violence and resistance take us back thousands of years. The ensemble performs and sings medieval music: ‘crusader songs’ and propaganda-rich recruitment songs. They sketch a nuanced picture of a complex era marked by changing identities and world views.

With The mass man, director Wouter Van Looy and video artist Wim Catrysse have created a sequel to Earth Diver. With Elias Canetti they zoom in on our urge to survive, the impact of orders, the sting they leave behind and how this translates into the formation of crowds and power.

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Muziektheater Transparant and Zefiro Torna

Coproduction: Concertgebouw Brugge, DE SINGEL en Perpodium

With the support of the Flemish Government and Tax Shelter of the Belgian Federal Government.

Location Dates Hour  
MA Festival (Brugge)
+32 50 33 22 83
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deSingel Antwerpen (Antwerpen)
+32 3 248 28 28
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Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ (Amsterdam)
+31 20 788 20 00
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Concept | Direction: Wouter Van LooyConcept | Video : Wim CatrysseMusical direction | Music concept: Jurgen De Bruyn • Texts: Elias Canetti • Peter VerhelstScenography: Wim CatryssePeter QuastersDramaturgical Advice: Tobias KokkelmansCostumes: Ruby RenteursLight design: Peter QuastersEnsemble: Zefiro Torna: Simon Segers (drums), Jochem Baelus (music installation, perfomer), Jon Birdsong (trumpet, cornetto), jurgen De Bruyn (lute, electronics, vocals) • Sound engineer | Electronics: Jo ThielemansVocals | Voice: Timo TembuyserEls Mondelaers