Performance at Design Indaba, Cape Town (SA), March 2017

Design Indaba is a series of events under the slogan “A better world through creativity”. It is most widely known for its annual festival held in South Africa, a three-day conference hosted in Cape Town. This “Conference on Creativity” has been named by many to be one of the best creative conferences in the world.

For the edition of 2017, Vanmechelen is invited alongside a.o. co-founder of Airbnb Joe Gebbia, Olafur Eliasson and award-winning graphic designer Kate Moross.

With ‘This is not a Chicken’, Belgian artist Koen Vanmechelen brings an integrated experience.

The different elements bring together Koen’s work on crossing of species, communities, people and expertise. ‘This is not a Chicken’ engages the audience in a conversation on identity, diversity and interconnectivity.

The performance takes the audience on a powerful journey through different stories of connectivity: a philosophical discourse on diversity brought by the artist; a social story of identity, isolation and connectivity through food, delivered by social entrepreneur Chido Govera; and a scientific account by human geneticist Jean-Jacques Cassiman, connecting chicken genetics to human biology. In the apotheoses, the artist unites the different stories, demonstrating their own interconnectivity both culturally and scientifically. The performance ends with a clear call to action, pulling the audience into the performance and into the responsibility of building connection.