motto capitalism
November 1, 2008

picking up from those comments on sexism, in the end almost everything takes me back to thinking about the logic, vices and (most recently and most problematicly) the merits of capitalism.

somehow Japan as a nation managed to overcome with enormous success a very hardcore situation. I’m not an expert on the subject, but it seems obvious that Japan’s evolution from 1945 to the present (or even just from WWII to the 1970’s) is admirable. and what’s interesting for me to think about (and super problematic) is the strategies and social models that were resorted to.

surely the social structure in post-war Japan can’t be disconnected from it’s previous social structure, but I have the feeling that the Social was very seriously engineered for economic growth. and yes, it sounds awful, it looks quite bad, but at the same time, the living standards in Japan seem far better than in many other places. so, I’m not proposing anything… I’m not trying to advocate for rigid social structures, or a moral of individual sacrifice. I just want to say that it does seem to be part of quite a big picture, and that when I think about it it makes me reconsider a bit, and it makes it more complex and difficult to criticize a system like that. that is what I meant before when I mentioned capitalism’s merits.

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rehearsal nr. 2 – Bon Odori
September 24, 2008

2nd rehearsal. quite interesting. I am still struggling to get rid of my skepticism around the possible results of this process (a.k.a., ‘the piece’), but the process does have its very exciting moments.

today I asked about Bon Odori, a kind of traditional dancing that is part of a not completely religious summer celebration. I read about it some time ago and I got quite interested in the form, specially in the idea that people learn this dance just by joining the performances. o sea, every year in the celebrations people dance the same dance, and the ‘younger’ learn it just by dancing together with the ‘elder’.

I found it even more interesting because I (mis)understood that there was a kind of special spacing to this – in my imagination the elders were dancing in a small circle in the center, surrounded by succesive layers of people with less and less knowledge/experience of the dance. so the whole form (in spite of not being the real thing) became fascinating. but today I learned that there is only one big circle with everyone mixed, and that the steps are actually quite simple. there are some variations according to the region, and everyone of my dancers participated in it many times but not very recently…

but, in any case, after missing all the Bon Odori events (they take place in July/August), I got a private presentation in the studio. and after playing for a while with the Bon Odori dances, we started playing with the form. we split in two groups and created two short dances. we ended up very short on time, but we managed to dance each dance once (-isn’t that last sentence beautifuly cacophonic?-), one group in the center and the other imitating from the periphery. this relations between informed and uninformed performers, and between center and periphery are very interesting at the moment. I am already trying to come up with ways of using that kind of (open) forms, and I am already scared of it being too scary for these dancers.

I’ve also been thinking a lot of using the voice, somehow in ways related to what I did in the last piece. I would like to ask them to sing (we did today, a bit, trying to sing the songs of the Bon Odori while dancing), and I keep hoping that my lack of knowledge and total incapacity to coach them in the use of the voice are not more than minor set backs.

once again struggling for continuity – and further: the workshop issue gets more clear…
September 13, 2008

these couple of days have been quite hectic and intense. to start with, wednesday and thursday were still my jetlag and tiredness days. I managed to lose the directions on how to get back home, I forgot to write down the adress, I missed the last bus, I got lost in the neighbourhood about 7 times, I ‘misplaced’ the key to my hosts’ house while running (which costed some 45′ extra of walking the same path over and over to try to find it)…

so the thing is that, besides my constant praying to Saint Guy Debord to help me find my way through Narita Nishi Ichi, I was lucky to be staying with very generous and caring people who supported me even on my darkest hour (“oh, and Virginia… I’ve also lost already the key you gave me…”). and I was also lucky to meet with Shiho, who has been extremely dedicated and helpful. so last night, when I came back home with a brand new adaptor to charge my computer and pda batteries, and finally managed to connect to the internet at home (after trying hopelessly in 5 or 6 different spots of the city), I started feeling a little bit more in place.

yesterday I briefly visited the Shinjuku area, kind of a banking and commercial center. I had to change trains there, but I also took the opportunity to go into an electronics shop and to walk around the area. then I met with Shiho, and I got to see the Ochanomizu University facilities. we went into a studio together and each of us worked on its own… I tried out different little things, trying to clarify my mind on what and how will I teach during the workshop… and I wasn’t very succesful. but it was good to start getting back in touch with my body, and to try to recall some systematic work. and to define (or, actually, to find out) that the workshop will be a one day three hour session. I will continue preparing it, and when I’m sure that I can’t change my mind on it, I will write down what it will be about. So probably after the workshop (which, I also found out, will be next thursday, 18/9).