Wu Tsang/ Moved by the MotionCarmen

Holland Festival and Hartwig Art Foundation present: Carmen

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



Wu Tsang is also creating a new film installation based on the story of Carmen, commissioned by Hartwig Art Foundation and TBA 21. Filmed in Seville, the film delves specifically into the popular constructions and adaptations of Georges Bizet’s opera, blending fiction with a historically contested landscape. Through the use of movement and sound, Tsang weaves together various scenes and characters, shedding light on the myriad interpretations embodied by the protagonist. Carmen emerges as a symbol of freedom and a target of misogyny, a sacrificial icon, an impure, generative force—a figure that challenges the notion of Europeanness.

MACBA will premiere the film installation (20 July 20 – 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-commissioned with 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.