© Liz Eve

Human Landscapes - Book I 

Artist: Michiel Vandevelde
Country: Belgium
Genre: Dance / Performance
Year of creation: 2018

This guy in prison has written a different kind of epic. He’s stirring up something,” writes poet Nâzım Hikmet from a Turkish prison cell, reflecting ironically but sharply on his epic masterpiece Human Landscapes from My Country.

In a new performance developed for steirischer herbst 2018 (Graz - AT),  the Belgian coreographer Michiel Vandevelde turns towards the dissident literary and political figure of Hikmet – a visionary modernist poet – to stage “Book I” of  his strikingly direct and ruthlessly honest account of mid-20th-century Turkey, written between 1941 and 1950, and considered by many as “social history in verse.” Capturing myriad voices from different segments of society, Hikmet breaks out of the confinement of the modernist individualistic imagination towards the more epic, popular form of the “human landscape,” without losing the fragmented and tormented vision characteristic of modernist art.

Vandevelde revisits Hikmet’s condensed and cinematic verse in what he calls a “choreographed sound piece.” In a darkened, intimate setting, five actors speak Hikmet’s text, but instead of performing the actions it describes, they engage in more abstract movements. Sitting, lying down, and changing positions, together with the audience they themselves become a “human landscape,” exploring Hikmet’s conviction that human beings always have the capacity to forge their own path upwards by the sheer force of their own will.


Nâzım Hikmet, Human Landscapes from My Country – book I

Direction, choreography, set
Michiel Vandevelde

Bryana Fritz
Stine Sampers
Anna Franziska Jäger
Mitch Van Landeghem
Lois Brochez

Kristof van Baarle

Commissioned by
steirischer herbst

Produced by
steirischer herbst and Disagree vzw.

International distribution 
Something Great

Financial Management
Klein Verzet vzw

With the kind support of
Flanders State of the Art