Bhubaneswar, India. tHE ART CONNECTION 2012

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Before the residency in Fukuoka, Japan, I participated in a festival tHE ART Connection, Odisha Biennale pre-event, which took place in Bhubaneswar, India. Although it might not fit into this blog whose aim is to document my residency, I would like to put down some impressions since it has some direct influence on what I will do in Fukuoka.

It is a festival involving mostly Japanese artists –  dance, plastic art, multimedia art, photography, film, fashion design etc. – and directed by a Japanese Odyssey dancer Masako Ono. Since they were looking for a butoh dancer, I got invited from Luxembourg.

I learned that Bhubaneswar is an upcoming city, exeperiencing fast “development” in recent years. Anyway this is my first time in India so I did not have any reference to compare or reflect, it just came into me as it is.

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Those 10 days were packed with amazing, incredible, incomprehensive, intense and colourful things.

So many things are happening at the same time and also many things are not happening. Just to give an example, during my butoh workshop, there were moments the sound of prayer from loud speaker of the temple next door, the deafening sound of the train passing, the construction noise from upstairs, and shamisen music I play on the stereo were happening at the same time while the students walk slowly across the space. The media artist Matsuo was very amused.

In the street, so much noise of ongoing traffic “Horn, please! – OK” and there poise cows in the middle of the road relaxing. Mouth watering fragrance of curry and meanwhile strong smell of sewage in the air.

I was told before my performance, people might get bored with butoh, since they like stimulating entertainment happenings. However, it was not the case, a lot of people came to say that they really liked the performance and for them it was something new and moving. Also I enjoyed the 4 day butoh workshop for local dancers, some Japnese artists and a 10 year old boy ! The atompsphere felt like a drop of water permeating into an already rich soil making some new specimen of flowers to sprout. And the closing performance took place in a some kind of secret garden with lotus flower pond and the stage made of cow shit. Matsuo did beautiful projections on a white monolith and we did an improvisational performance.

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Above everything, It was great to meet people and their work, it gave me some kind of a cocktail of  mood boost. And as the name of the festival says it, there emerged a lot of connections and I think it will keep on connecting people and places.

I recall when we step into the cremation place next to the sea in Puri, I have never seen a dead body being burnt in front of me. The ending and the begining is always there, it might seem nothing special but it feels something very special at the same time. How to end and how to begin and how to continue… this trip gave me some signals.

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