Spafrica — Die Quelle

Julian Hetzel (Amsterdam) / Artists in Residence
In his new performance, Julian Hetzel brings transparency into the murky politics of water. The performance is a journey for all those who are thirsting for knowledge about the complexity of water as a topic of conflict. The project explores desertification, climate migration, consumption and philanthropy – connecting symptoms and causes that appear to have nothing to do with each other.

At the project’s centre is a new and sustainable project which is as conflict-laden as it is unequivocal: bottled drinking water that hails from regions south of the Sahara and is imported into Europe as a sustainable luxury good.

The performance is designed as a product launch for SPAfrica – The world’s first empathy drink. The ludicrous story of this bottled water examines the relationship between product and consumption: disturbing and ethically questionable, and yet fresh and exciting. Every metre of its 9,000 kilometres-long journey through the Sahara desert and via the Mediterranean, all the way to the shelves of European shops contributes to the product’s value. The free circulation of bottled water highlights the struggle of the people who live in the countries of its production. In 2010, the General Assembly of the United Nations passed a resolution that affirms the human right to clean drinking water and sanitary facilities. Today, around 70% of the world’s fresh water resources are privately owned. Multi-national corporations own large proportions of the blue gold of the earth, marketing it as a commodity.

“SPAfrica – Die Quelle” introduces an unconventional business model, a system of circular economy that transforms guilt into hope and combines commerce, philanthropy, art and performance into a hybrid experience – all intending to promote a radical change in our way of dealing with global resources. A performance about post-colonial interdependencies, decadence and a hunger for life. Cheers!

Julian Hetzel was born in the Black Forest and lives in Amsterdam. He works as a director, musician and artist. Within the triangle of theatre, music and media, Hetzel develops plays and installations that have a political dimension and follow a docu-fictional approach. Until 2008, Hetzel studied Visual Communication at the Bauhaus-University in Weimar. After graduating, he continued his education at the art academy DasArts in Amsterdam. Between 2014 and 2016, Hetzel was artist-in-residence at the SPRING Festival for Performing Arts in Utrecht; since 2017, his works have been co-produced by the CAMPO art centre in Ghent, Belgium.
Hetzel is a co-founder of the Leipzig-based electro-pop band Pentatones. His previous pieces “I’m Not Here Says the Void”, “The Automated Sniper”, “all inclusive” and, most recently, “Mount Average” have been presented at Residenz.
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Leipzig-Premiere on 08.06.2023


Ntando Cele as Performer


Concept and director: Julian Hetzel
Dramaturgy: Miguel Melgares
Artistic advisor: Sodja Lotker