Lisbon is a city with a long history in which various cultures - including Arab culture - shaped the city into its contemporary form. Lisbon is also the final resting place of two Portuguese men that changed the history of (the) world (literature): Vasco da Gama and Fernando Pessoa. In that aspect Lisbon resembles another city by the sea, Venice. Both Lisbon and Venice have, for ages, inspired to travel and literature.
The Flemish-Portuguese photographer Maria Fialho travelled to Lisbon with in her head these words by Pessoa: ‘Não é por nada que olho: é que eu gosto de ver as pessoas sendo’ (It is not for nothing that I look, I like to see people be). She portrays the city in 24 photos. The five citybook authors will also, each in their own ways, show you what they have seen in Lisbon.
The authors participating in citybooks Lisbon are Flemish writer and journalist Sus Van Elzen, British author, theatre-maker and visual artist Tim Etchells and three Portuguese writers: Dulce Maria Cardoso, José Maria Vieira Mendes and Patrícia Portela.
Three of these writer are closely related to the World of theatre. Tim Etchells leads the world renowned, but Sheffield based, avant-gardist theatre company, Forced Entertainment. Patricia Portela leads her own company, Prado. With Prado she looks for intersecting spaces between different artistic, theoretical, performing, scientific and literary forms. José Maria Vieira Mendes not only writes but also translates plays, amongst his translations are plays of Beckett, Pinter, Brecht en Fassbinder.
Alkantara is motivated by a world view mindful of difference and a less Eurocentric vision of contemporary artistic creation. Known until 2005 as Danças na Cidade, the association focused its efforts on the promotion of contemporary dance and the work of young Portuguese choreographers. In 2005, the association changed its name to Alkantara. The Alkantara festival, a biennial international festival in close collaboration with the cultural institutions of the city, had its first edition in 2006. Besides the festival Alkantara runs an extensive program in its Espaço Alkantara, including international meetings, a residency program, and presentations. A member of various international networks, Alkantara intervenes as a co-producer for national and international creations.