Wu Tsang/ Moved by the MotionCarmen

Holland Festival and Hartwig Art Foundation present: Carmen

Photo Inès Manai
Wu Tsang/ Moved by the MotionCarmenHolland Festival 202423 JUNE 2024

Moved by the Motion takes on the famous tragedy Carmen. Originally written by Prosper Mérimée and transformed into one of the most iconic operas of all time by Georges Bizet, Carmen’s tale has been adapted in numerous ways, inspiring popular culture and remaining in the collective consciousness through its controversy. Carmen is a rebellious bird, a wanderer, a hustler, a factory worker, a polylingual, shape-shifting lover, stateless and ungovernable. 

In collaboration with writers Sophia Al-Maria and Fred Moten, Moved by the Motion digs through the many layers of Carmen’s legacy while taking the canonical source material further. Bizet’s original score weaves together with musical interventions by composers Andrew Yee and Asma Maroof to create a hybrid opera-theatre piece. Working seamlessly with language, movement, image and song, Moved by the Motion forms a genre-bending adaptation that reinterprets the themes that Carmen embodies: love, loss and liberation. 

Carmen belongs to nobody and everybody. She is everything her creators feared, and everything they desired. What was a threat to them is an inspiration to us.
– Wu Tsang

Photo Inès Manai

La gran mentira de la muerte

Wu Tsang is also creating a new film installation based on the story of Carmen. Filmed in Seville, it explores poetic themes of Carmen, particularly as her myth is entangled with the performative fields of flamenco and bullfighting. Like the opera composed by Georges Bizet, these fields evoke the spectacle of death and implicate the spectator as a part of it. This work brings the ritual performance of death (real and imagined) into a conversation with cinema, which bears its own murderous traditions.

La gran mentira de la muerte is co-produced by Hartwig Art Foundation, TBA 21, Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary and the National Gallery of Victoria. MACBA will premiere the film installation (20 July – 3 Nov. 2024).


Wu Tsang is an award-winning filmmaker and performance artist. Her works explore hidden histories, marginalized narratives, and the act of performing itself. Within her deeply collaborative practice, she frequently partners with the performance group she co-founded in 2016 with artist Tosh Basco, known as Moved by the Motion. Moved by the Motion comprises a diverse ensemble of interdisciplinary artists, including experimental cellist Patrick Belaga, dancer Josh Johnson, electronic musician Asma Maroof, and poet Fred Moten.

Wu Tsang’s work has been presented at museums, biennials, and film festivals internationally. Since 2019 she is the resident director at the Schauspielhaus Zürich. Some of her long-term collaborators moved to Zurich with Tsang joining the Schauspielhaus ensemble: Tosh Basco (fka boychild), Asma Maroof and Josh Johnson.



Cast Alicia Aumüller, Tosh Basco, Ryan Capozzo, Tabita Johannes, Josh Johnson, Asude Karayavuz, Kay Kysela, New Kyd, Katia Ledoux, Perle Palombe, Benjamin Radjaipour, Songhay Toldon, Ondrej Vidlar/ artistic direction Moved by the Motion/ staging Wu Tsang/ movement direction Tosh Basco/ choreography Josh Johnson/ musical direction Asma Maroof, Collegium Novum Zoi Tsokanou/ composition Andrew Yee/ correpetition Jonathan Palmer Lakeland/ script Sophia Al-Maria/ stage design Nicole Hoesli, Nina Mader/ costume design Kyle Luu/ hair Design Sara Mathiasson/ dramaturgy Helena Eckert/ artistic research Fred Moten, Pie.fmc (Pedro G. Romero, Joaquín Vázquez, Enrique Fuenteblanca) in cooperation with Collegium Novum Zürich & The Solti Foundation/ production Schauspielhaus Zürich, co-production Hartwig Art Foundation.


Hartwig Art Foundation previously co-commissioned Wu Tsang/ Moved by the Motion's MOBY DICK; or, The Whale. We co-presented Italian premiere of MOBY DICK with TBA-21 and the Dutch premiere with Holland Festival 2022. 


Co-Produced by TBA21, Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Hartwig Art Foundation and the National Gallery of Victoria/ In collaboration of MACBA (Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona)/ Research and development commissioned by TBA21, Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary Generously supported by CAAC, Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo and Excelentísimo Ayuntamiento de Guillena (Sevilla).

Photo Inès Manai