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Try to describe dance and choreography in words or text and you are bound for a challenge. To catch the essence of bodily movement and the artistic process and thought behind a dance performance is difficult. What you see is what you get, so to speak. Dance is best felt and experienced when it happens, it’s a direct contact between performer and audience. It’s therefore often difficult to try to describe dance experiences in project plans and evaluation documents.
In the newly published book 100 Exercises for a Choreographer and Other Survivors, a way around this difficulty is somehow found. You not only get practical exercises to try on your own, but each of these exercises quite informally also catches the artistic thought and process in choreography. Reading them, each ending with the sincere request ”Do it.”, exposes the experiments of action that can be translated into movements and dance. Quite shrewd, actually.
Perhaps something for policy- and decisionmakers? Trying these small experiments might raise your awareness and understanding of the artistic process. And it’s not complicated. Just do it.
Efva Lilja, choreographer, Professor of Choreography, and Vice-Chancellor at DOCH, the University of Dance and Circus in Stockholm, and author behind this, has just published two books with the aim to in a practical and poetic way offer strategies for active presence and bodily knowledge in your daily life.
The two books: ”100 Exercises for a Choreographer and Other Survivors” (both in Swedish and English) and ”Förstår du vad jag inte säger? Om dans som samhällsomstörtande kärleksförklaring” (”Do you understand what I am not saying? Dance as a subversive declaration of love” – in my translation) can be found here. Read also a related post on an editor’s view on quality and creativity here.
Many put their hopes to the International Criminal Court in Hague, where four Kenyan leaders are put to trial with charges of crimes against humanity and for their active role in organizing the mass violence that took place.
”Something just must be done! They have to be charged. Everything else is inhuman and wrong” someone tells me.
In Breaburn Theatre in Nairobi poet Sitawa Namwalie addresses the consequences, fear, and worry in a very warm, partly humours, and self-critical way in her poetry-read and performance together with Alice Karunditu and Shan Bartley on Saturday evening.
”Can you trust your neighbour?” she asks, looks around the audience with her sharp eyes and authority. And she opens the read of Cut off my tongue.
The stage is like stepping into a living-room. In the center under the lamp a couch, an armchair, a small wooden table with an ashtray, a photograph, a lamp, a rug underneath.
The audience sit around this centered placed stage. The play is Edward Albee’s drama Who’s afraid of Viriginia Woolf and it’s almost like you are part of the play, as if you are inthe middle of Martha’s and George’s sorrow and cracking marriage.
On another stage we see the play Stones in His Pockets by Marie Jones, a story placed on Irland with an Irish filmmaker dreaming of coming to Hollywood. Two actors play all the roles in this comic yet with sad undertones with an amazing presence. The stage is empty, no properties, a black curtain behind where only the light shows that the room is changing. It’s fully booked.
Tallinna Linnateater, Tallinn City Theatre, has seven stages in a building originally from around 15th century. There is the stage in ”Heaven” (up in the attic) and ”Hell” (down in the basement). Each stage with a different character, different possibilities and challenges. Outside in the courtyard a stage is set up for summer theatre.
Tallinn has seven theatres in a city with around 400.000 people. Linnateater is fully booked with a yearly audience booking of well over 100%, Ruudu Raudsepp, Manager of Public Relations, tells us. Just in comparison, Göteborgsoperan (Opera in Göteborg) has a yearly booking of 85%, which has to be considered good. This means around 250.000 people visit Göteborgsoperan each year. Another example is Dramaten in Stockholm, one of the most prominent stages in Sweden, that showed figures in 2010 of yearly booking of 85% (a rise from 2009 showing 78%) which means 290.000 visitors.
These figures say nothing of quality; for example urgency of the matter in the plays chosen, or acting qualities. But still, the figures in Estonia are interesting. In a country of around 1,3 million people, it’s said that around 800.000 up to one million people see a play at one of the many theatres in Estonia during a year. This means that nearly everyone go to the theatre, young as well as old, at least once during a year. Any theatre director would look at these figures with envy.
It’s so quiet. During the whole performance soft music is only played occationally. All focus is on the two bodies on the floor and their movements. Painful movements, stretching every mussel to its utmost limit, posing the body in positions that confuses the mind. The stage is black, a white half-rolled out carpet or perhaps paper in one end hanging in the air, the other still rolled up. In between the two ends, the two bodies are placed as you arrive. One sitting up with the back to the stage, the other laying on the floor. Two round balls on a table, like eyes intensely watching the two dancers without once looking away.
Choreographer Jeanette Langert is known for her way of exploring movements and very rightly got this year’s Birgit Cullberg Award given by Konstnärsnämnden (The Arts Grant Committee) in a small ceremony right after the performance.
The Committee has published several reports on the economic conditions for artists in Sweden, working environment, type of organization, to what extend you can live on your art and so forth. Overall the cultural field consist of project work, short-term assignments and a working situation of many varied pursuits and multiple income sources. The dancers and choreographers are to a high degree freelancers with volatile and insecure working conditions. Awards like this are so important.
The white plastic chairs are put in nice rows in the theatre hall, the stage is ready, and the lighting checked. All is ready for tonight’s performance of Independent Woman, written by Ibrahim Chitayi at the Little Theatre Club in centre of Mombasa, Kenya.
We are shown around the one-leveled building, built sometime around middle of 1800s in what were at that time the outer parts of Mombasa. Today the theatre lies in the middle of residential buildings of apartments and small houses. We ask if that means that the local inhabitants also come to the theatre shows, but it seems like the audience is not found around the corner, but rather appeal to people from other parts of town.
The building is a cultural heritage bungalow. The outside of the building cannot be changed or rebuilt due to this. Despite the cultural heritage mark, the authorities have not been interested in restoring it and it’s very run down, we are told. A lot of renovation has been started inside by the organization running the theatre, a slow process relying on short-term project money. The visions are high and the leading team are hoping for a well-equipped hall for dancers and theatre auditorium, dressing rooms, costume storage, and hopefully in the future guest rooms for visitors.
A staircase takes us up to the lighting room, close to the ceiling. We step into a room that takes us back in time. A small opening where you can peek into the auditorium to see that the lighting works is the only opening in the otherwise dark room. The theatre’s right hand and person responsible for lights shows us how it works, how he handles the control sticks of the fifty-year-old lighting system manually each night for each performance.
We go down the stairs after the demonstration to the next pride of the theatre: The costumes. Money has been put into purchasing a wide range of costumes, characteristic for the time they represent. It is a pride for any theatre to be able to have such storage of costumes. Real treasures are found in the pile of coats, dresses, shirts, skirts, shoes, and three time-characteristic military coats are pulled out. A cloud of dust fills the air as they are dashed on the table on the outside.
We have the days before the visit been part of the conference The Economy of Creativity, gathering around a hundred well-known artists, civil servants, politicians, business people, and representatives of cultural organisations, discussing the potential of the cultural and creative industries in East Africa. The conference was the second arranged by GoDown Arts Centre in cooperation with Mimeta and Swedish Institute.
The interest, willingness to engage, and interesting discussions are all in place among participants and speakers. Many memorable inputs are there, not the least on the talk shows where established artists are asked about obstacles and ways forward in their careers. But when it comes to the question of money, how the field of culture is to be funded, it’s quiet. And the main suggestion put forward by authorities is: Engage the corporate world.
There is no lack of creativity at the Little Theatre Club. Nor is there a lack of drive and resolution. There is one major shortage and that is resources, economic resources. To only rely on the corporate world as the solution of how to sustain an interesting artistic and cultural life and to promote cultural industries is naive.
Read more from the conference Economy of Creativity 2009 here.
Shiva Subramanian is a cultural entrepreneur. He has a business degree, which he doesn’t use, he says: ”That’s why it works”. His view is that businesses put up so many barriers, so finally you can’t be human.
He has set up a row of different small companies and run different ideas and initiatives. His idea is to just get going, build on a social network and ”no paperwork!” He owns the Sona Towers on Millers Road in Bangalore, and has put up a space on the fifth floor for other entrepreneurs such as internetradio, an architect, a lawyer, graphic designer. What is the key factor for success we ask? The informal setup, his social network and culture.
”This wouldn’t work if it wasn’t within the art.”
Indian Institute of Management, along Bannerghatta Road within a green garden domain, would love an entrepreneur like the ones on fifth floor. On the Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning the idea is to work within three areas: Research, teaching and training entrepreneurs, and incubator. In the incubator they look for unique and scalable ideas and a passionate team. During ”punchwhole meetings” they judge and try to punchwhole the idea and see how the entrepreneur respond to this. One challenge is to get the person focussed on the idea; a start-up work seventy percent with other things and not with the idea.
Alternative Law Forum is a collective of lawyers starting in 2000 with the idea that there is a need for an alternative practice of law concerning social and economic injustice. They have run several campaigns for sexual, women and civil rights and questions like: How do minorities get access to their rights?. The eleven laywers connected to ALF cover a large variety of issues, do research, campaigns and publish articles.
Running a perfume business these days is hard. Globalization has changed the market completely, and being a smaller business you just can’t compete with the large ones. The international connection is asked for by customers who would like to order a new perfume, and for a small business it’s just not possible. They have instead accepted to be in the second layer, Mr Vijayakumar explains, when he with love for his profession explains how it works.
The perfumery is one part of what they do at Vijayakumar Farm. The farm is named after the family name, where they have over the past few years planted over 250 species of plants and trees; endangered species, the sainted trees, spices and other things. One part is the breeding of a rare cow, which we are told, is both intelligent and has feelings. We also get to see a wonderful dance performance by Raadha Kalpa and the story behind traditional dance.
One sentence stay in your mind, said by one of the entrepreneurs: ”In India if you don’t succeed you die.”
The visit is part of the exchange program Linking Initiatives, an initiative between Region Västra Götaland and Karnataka in India. Read more under tag ”Bangalore” or category ”India”.
Did you know that in India hand movements are an important part of traditional and contemporary dance, expressing abstractions giving another dimension or parallel understanding to a story or performance? In European dance-tradition feet and foot movement have a central part, we are told. In a dance studio on Oskarsgatan in Göteborg today, dancers and choreographers from Bangalore (India) met professionals from Göteborg (Sweden) in a three-hour workshop. After warming up; experimenting with movements, traditions, experiences took place and ended in a twenty-minute lunch performance for invited guests.
The Bangalore-based Centre for Movement Arts, Attakkalari, is in West Sweden for a tour visit, and started with a full-length performance of Chronotopia at Vara Concert Hall. This was followed by a seminar on their research project and short performances of the choreographers and dancers at Museum of World Cultures in Göteborg. Then workshops with young dancers in Vara, with theatre students at the School of Music and Drama. And now they met with professional dancers and choreographers from Dansbyrån, a production platform for dance based in Göteborg run by the three choreographers Moa Matilda Sahlin, Marika Hedemyr, and Paula de Hollanda.
The idea of a Young Choreographers Platform where choreographers and dancers meet to work and build something together is an integral part of the work at Attakkalari in an ambition to continuously explore and experiment with movements and expression. A sort of lab of movements easily set up with dancers and choreographers from any part of the world if you just have a studio to work in. As Jay Palazhy, Artistic Director at Attakkalari once put it: “The beauty of collaboration is that it’s not about rationalizing. You don’t have to speak so much, just do it”.
The visit of Attakkalari is part of the agreement ”Linking Initiatives” between the region of Karnataka and Region Västra Götaland. Read former posts of the exchange project under India on this site.
A stream of people hurries in from the cold through the revolving door. The big staircase in the centre of the Museum of World Cultures is filled to the rim. Everyone sit squeezed together, some stand up in the end of the stairs, others hang around the reeling at the second floor. We are here to listen to the Göteborg-based choir Amanda singing Haitian songs in support of the catastrophe at Haiti.
Culture has the power of gathering people in joy or grief, in hope or disaster. Last week Swedish dailies showed photos of people in Port-au-Prince at Haiti gathering in the streets to sing in an act to find the strength to endure. The event in Göteborg gathered hundreds of people wanting to show their sympathy, solidarity and grief. I wonder at how many places around the world things like this take place right now? Where culture becomes the bridge and channel to get the strength to go on, feel hope, or just mourn.
Downstairs is the last day of the exhibition ”Vodou”, the culture and religion based in Haiti, which was brought by African slaves transported to work for the colonial powers. Haiti was the first of former colonized states gaining independence through slave rebellion in 1804. And then run by former slaves. The exhibition shows Vodou to be one of the strong sub cultural forces from which slaves got their collective power to fight their oppressors. Song and music from drums is a strong element in Vodou. In US, the power African Americans got from gospel and spirituals, music in connection with strong religious ideas, played an important role in the change from slavery to civil rights in the late 1800s. At Haiti the Dictators Papa Doc and Baby Doc to run political terror between 1957 and 1986 used the same Vodou.
Song, dance, music. Cultural expressions and collective power. The people leaving the museum after the concert today felt a sense of hope. It was an act of solidarity. In Europe, our Cultural Departments at all levels are working towards a more quantity-based measurement of the results and effects of culture. Results of people’s cultural experiences are to be shown in economic figures. Effects should be formulated in measurable, long-term incentives; they must be quantified. So, how do you measure the effect of this?
At 18.30 Bangalore time, people from three different places in the world; Göteborg, New Dehli and Bangalore, opened a communication with each other. Through shouting into a well.
Mandana Mogghadam, based in Sweden is the Artist behind the project. If you shout down to a well it echoes and sounds like you get a respond. What if someone was on the other side hearing your shouting and responded? What if we could communicate through the soil to the other side? The idea is fantastic and also reminds me of the tail as a child in Sweden that was said when digging in the ground. If you dig long enough you come to China.
In Bangalore the well was built by local expertize at the Jaaga. The gallery is in itself an interesting story. It’s built as a construction-site, open-air, with recycled billboards as walls. The grounds are lent to the Artists running it by the Archtitect V Naresh Narasimham who runs an architect firm near by and owns the land.
At the end of the evening a group of people from the native tribe Adivasis, situated in the central parts of India. They live in poverty and face two different threats, one being they are constantly abused by other groups and don’t get the justice they have a right to, secondly by governement who is trying to solve a growing middle class in India by taken on traditionally farming and forrest land. The performance was part of a round-trip to engage people from all over India in their fight. An interesting mix of Art, global communication, social practice and activism at an open gallery for anyone to drop in to.
The visit is part of the exchange between Karnataka, India, and Region Västra Götaland, Sweden that started in 2007.
We need to think outside the box, we are told. Especially in times of crisis. Be creative. You are in a box, just go outside it and you will find new solutions. It’s a statement often presented to cultural entrepreneurs and institutions as an answer to lack of funding. You have to cooperate, look for co- funding bodies, sponsorship. Just think outside your normal structures and you will find new partners, new possibilities and, finally, new money.
The Norwegian Consortium Koenigsegg Group yesterday officially withdrew their offer to buy Saab Automobile with their factory placed in West Sweden. A devastating decision for Saab, who now stands without owner, and for West Sweden, where a lot of people already lost jobs due to the crises in Volvo and Saab. Another 8000 jobs are threatened in the region if Saab has to close down, a figure states in Dagens Nyheter.
”We are in desperate need of fantasy” a comment states in today’s daily Göteborgs-Posten. David Karlsson, cultural journalist and Chair of Nätverkstan, continues, ”Only a vivid cultural life can give us the durability needed to survive when hurricanes are sweeping away the Saab factory and jobs”. The crises affect cultural policy and culture. We need literature, film, theatre and the cultural expressions more than ever when, as in a crises, identity is lost.
Cultural industries are growing, this is where jobs will be created several reports have stated in recent years. Yet, the governement is responding by putting billions of SEK into infrastructure; roads, railways, maintenance. Isn’t it time to think outside the box?
”Responsibility for non-materialist values in the public spaces: Why, Where and by Whom?” was the title of an interesting discussion on religiousity, spirituality, public spaces and religion hosted by the Museum of World Cultures in Göteborg today.
The problem statement as a starting point for reflection was this: ”Modernist theories of development predicted that secularization would eventually lead to the disappearance of religion. Today we are rather witnessing the opposite.” The seminar started with a filmed dance performance, ”Defensa – Tesoro II”, choreographed by Eva Ingemarsson, where the dancers reflected on dialogue and spirituality (look on the clip below). Later during the seminar this was also showed in live performance. Another way of adressing these intriguing and global questions, where other senses are used rather than the rational thinking.
The combination was interesting. As always more questions than answers were raised, which was also the point. One question resting is: How is our public space used for non-material values? Art and culture deal with symbolic value and often request (or just take) a space in the public arena for Artistic expression. Although authorities have a tendency towards more and more regulations of public spaces which makes access difficult.
The Artist Mark Brest van Kempen, in San Francisco, has done a beautiful piece at the University in Berkeley called ”Free Speach Monument” (1991) which puts the light on spaces for free dialogue and thinking. A reaction towards the regulations of public spaces is, for example, the movement Reclaim the Streets. The thought of public open spaces as the arena where people can debate, discuss, reflect and as the base from which democracy is built, need perhaps new oxygen?
Download the programme here: programme-and-background-material.
In 1945 dramatist K V Subbanna and his friends decided to start gatherings to share ideas and discuss politics. After Indian independence in 1947, they deepened their intellectual exchange and reflection, started a library, created the newspaper the Ashoka Weekly to spread news on events around India and, later, formed a local theatre group, Ninasam. In the 70s it grew into several different projects as the film society and in the 80s the Ninasam Theatre Institute with ambition to train young people in acting, lighting and directing. Plays put up can be of Karnataka writers as well as of Shakespeare and Brecht translated into Kannada, the language in the state of Karnataka. Today Ninasam is an active cultural centre, headed by Subbanas son K V Akshara. It’s based in the middle of the jungle, in the village Heggodu with around 1500 inhabitants. The library is still there, with an interesting mix of literature serving as base for research for new plays. The one-year diploma course in theatre work is an important part of the center, as well as set up plays engaging the local villagers, who are mostly farmers, in playwright and acting.
The same critical reflection and activist stance we meet when visiting theatre director, playwright, and poet Prasanna in his house. He is dividing his time between the isolation and quietness in his house, surrounded by a large garden with all different kinds of fruit and herbs and with only irregular electricity in the house, with work in the big metropolitan cities of India. His house is filled with books, the stillness is over-whelming; it’s as if you could hear the silence. And we discuss Swedish playwright, theatre and literature tradition. Culture has an amazing way of travelling across boarders, uniting people.
Etiketter:Artist, Artistic collective workshop, Artistic practice, Bangalore, Creativity, Cultural Project, Democracy, Development, Education, Entrepreneur, Entrepreneurship, International exchange, Literature, Social entrepreneur, Västra Götaland
Schedule, Bangalore on the 13th of August 2009:
10.00–12.00 meeting at Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology to discuss cooperation on social and innovative entpreneurship, pedagogical and educational ideas, and young filmers. The meeting was held by Arvind Lodaya and Geeta Narayanan, taking part was members of staff of different positions.
14.00–15.00 meeting with animators, among them the Association of Bangalore Animation Industry, the animation education Toon Skool, animation studio Raydrops and Mediateck, and Asian Institute of Gaming and Animation (Aiga). Discussion around possible exchanges between animators in Region of Västra Götaland and Karnataka.
15–18 meeting at Attakkalari with Jay Palazhy and his colleagues. Several performances are planned to come to Vara Concert Hall in West Sweden in March next year. More possibilities were discussed as perhaps events at Museum of World Cultures. We got an introduction of all different projects going on from ”teachers’ training” to workshops on grassroot level as well as experimenting performances on movement, technology and lightning. We were introduced to graduating students’ work and were generously shown parts of their graduating performance – impressive work.
18.30–20.00 (we arrived late to this meeting) meeting with filmmakers, film critics, film association, writers, activists to discuss the film scene in India and the set-up of a Film Directing School in Bangalore. Among the participants was well-known Karnataka filmmaker Girish Kasaravalli, giving an idea of the filmmaking in India and Karnataka. Parallell to this, a discussion on how to start a new organization in Bangalore inspired by and in cooperaton with Nätverkstan.
20.00 – all participants from the former meeting continued over dinner.
Etiketter:Animation, Artist, Artistic practice, Bangalore, Creative Industries, Creativity, Cultural Project, Education, Entrepreneur, Entrepreneurship, International exchange, Resources, Social entrepreneur, Västra Götaland
Little Black Pearl, situated in Bronzeville south of Chicago, is a nonprofit organisation with ambition to create opportunities for young adults through Artistic and cultural work. In the Centre they can work in one of the many studios with wood, glass, painting, ceramics, run workshops or put up shows. Gwendolyn Pruitt, Director of Product Design, shows us around and tells us the story of this community based organisation with enthusiasm and passion. It’s both about what they achieve with the students, she shows an example of tables they did with beautiful mosiac cover on top, which they sell to customers. It can be anything. Their mission is to deepen the creative involvement through Arts, and learn how to run things. It’s also about the struggle of getting the budget to sum up in the end and the constant search for funding bodies, she tells us with a sigh. ”I found that I don’t have the time to teach them that personal component”, she tells us with referral to the young students. She finds it’s a great need to also teach teachers ”It’s a gap between the structure and the student”.
In 1974 a group of classmates at high school got together to set up a theatre play by Paul Zindel. Since they only had one semester left, it was not until they came to Illionis State University that the idea formed and they looked for a place to set it up. Their first production was played in a Church in Chicago, and since they at the time was reading the book ”Steppenwolf” by Herman Hesse, they named the theatre the Steppenwolf Theatre Company. Today the theatre is a prestigous one on Halsted Street, with the ambition of advancing the vitality and diversity of American Theatre .
We see the play ”Up” by Bridget Carpenter of the man who once reached the sky, the clouds, in a chair with balloons, and could not let go of the idea of doing it again. In another machine he would build. His vision held him alive, this was his passion, while everyday life and the reality of having to pay bills at the end of the month was taken care of by his wife. Until the situation changed and the pressure of supporting the family came closer. After the play there was an interesting discussion with the audience, reflections showing how differently we interpreted the play. The discussions at the conference of Artists and entrepreneurship become very real in this beautiful and sad play of having dreams and struggling with reality.
The Art Institute in Chicago is impressive in many ways, but mainly and mostly of two things. The collection of Art they have is impressive, to say the least. In this institute you can see everything from American contemporary Art to the Impressionists, African to Asian Art, photography and industrial design. You can stay days in there. Secondly it’s free for the public after five pm Thursdays and Fridays. The Institute and its collections are open and accessible for the public, something that seems in line with the attitude of giving Art and culture a central role in Chicago.
Etiketter:Artist, Artistic collective workshop, Artistic practice, Creative Industries, Creativity, Cultural economy, Cultural Policy, Cultural Project, Democracy, Development, Digitization, Economy, Education, Encatc, Entrepreneur, Entrepreneurship, pedagogical, Resources, Social entrepreneur, USA
Maybe you are actually white, even if your skin is black? Maybe you were born Chinese, but come to think of it you are really a Swede? Perhaps the color of your skin deceives your real identity? Are you who you think you are?
The Trans-Racial Institute is a project, a workshop, an Institute, working with issues of race and identity. You get a chance to become the race you actually are, through a workshop find the real you. As they put it themselves ”Your desire – our mission”. The project is developed by Max Valentin, an inventor and entrepreneur, and Yolanda de los Bueis, a Basque video Artist based in London. Max Valentin is also running the consultancy firm Fabel, based in Stockholm. Their mission is to help organizations to develop and design methods and processes to put light on and affect people’s attitudes and values.
The next Trans-Racial Institute workshop will be in Israel in August. Have a look at these two clips from Shanghai (China) and Graz (Austria).
Etiketter:Artist, Artistic collective workshop, Artistic practice, Business idea, Creativity, Cultural Project, Democracy, Education, Entrepreneur, Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Renewal, Social entrepreneur
The debate on how the south bank of the city of Göteborg should transform, has at times been loud. Göteborg, an old industrial city, has had to deal with major changes the last decades. The city is devided by a canal, and as the shipping industry on the north bank had to close down, telecom and media companies grew up. In the beginning of 2000, changes started on the south bank and a tunnel was built to lead traffic under the city, creating new space on ground. After six years, a new tunnel and the heavy traffic going under the city center, the question was raised: How should the new spaces be used? Ambitious plans were made and a large democracy project to involve inhabitants together with experts as architects, cultural and Art practitioners, sociologists, the South Bank Process (Södra Älvstrandsprocessen) took form. Nätverkstan was involved in the process, in the planning and formation. The results presented by the five different groups showed a variety of creative solutions of how to use the space; housing on different economic levels, public spaces, activity areas and lots of green parts. But then it stopped. The results were never taken seriously, the process stopped and was never put into the formal process of city planning in the municipality. Since then articles, among them a series of articles by the journalist Mark Isitt on how bad city planning in Göteborg works and how the suburbs has been exploited has been published.
Situated in the center of the south bank, in the middle of the city close to the river, is the old warehouse (Lagerhuset) where cultural practitioners have been working since 1999. Small-scale cultural journals, publishing houses, photographers, education, medialabs have been housing in the building, producing culture spread in the whole region. The house is placed in an area, Järntorget, known for it’s entrepreneurial initiatives, specifically cultural entrepreneurs within music, fashion, bookshops, design, film, theatre, dance, coffee shops. It has been possible to find cheap localities and the clusters formed are important networks supporting creativity and drive. But among politicians, it has not always been politically correct. The urge to clean-up the streets (Långgatorna) from unappropriate businesses and renovate buildings, to gentrificate the area, has been strong. It hasn’t happened yet, but is on and off discussed and debated.
The decision made by the Cultural Committee of the municipality of Göteborg yesterday is therefore a break through. The bottom floor of the old warehouse will be transformed to a center for culture, with a coffee shop, restaurant and several stages for different cultural activities and performances. It will, hopefully, become an important center that together with the activities already in the house and around the area of Järntorget will be one key factor to enable the growth of cultural and artistic intiatives.
The transformation has already started and opening is set to January 1, 2010. Read the article of Göteborg in New York Times, published in 2007.
The heroes survived. They were supposed to be killed after the film was made, but the film maker just couldn’t. The animated dolls were characters, personalities, so how could you kill them? Instead he hid them. After each movie he hid them in his house with the risk of getting caught. Intellectual property rights in the 70s, the government was afraid that the dolls would be used in another movie and they would have troubles with angry doll makers who wouldn’t get paid. Now we are able to watch them in a small, one-room museum. Beautiful hand-made dolls, made in Russia in the 70s for animated film made in Georgia. The most known is Bombora, a character who just wanted to go to school and in his frustration for not being able to sets fire on things. Now this character is posing over the entrance in the newly made amusement park at Tatsminda.
Wato Tsereleti, a well-known curator and Artist is describing the contemporary Art scene for us on a café. A major problem, many Artist tell us is space and funding. There is no space for Art or large events. In October the conference Artisterium is taking place, and a difficult part has been to find where to have it. A wonder, really, since Tbilisi is still very much a city in transition and there are many empty spaces. Wato Tsereleti has finally been able to find a locality, and the idea is to restore it into an Art center.
Many meetings has been taking place among visual Artists and Art education, between colleagues in the literature and publishing scene in Sweden and Georgia, as well as performance and film. Bakur Sulakauri Publishing is the biggest publishing house in Georgia, publishing around 200 books every year. They are meeting with colleagues at the publishing house Tranan in Sweden, together with writers, to discuss on how they can work together. The idea is that each Art form will come up with project ideas for future cooperation and exchange.
And as we walk to all these meetings, have discussions between colleagues in the Art world, we pass the cells at Rustaveli Avenue and get reminded of the situation in this country. What is it we see in the streets? At Rustaveli, near the Parliament and Freedom Square the streets are filled with cells, small plastic covered boxes where people stay all day, all night in protest of the government. It’s difficult to analyse or understand what the cells stand for. Is it an organized protest of a well defined opposition? Or a more a protest of angry inhabitants showing their miscontent of the president? Or is it a show put forward by a few people with economic resources wanting to overthrow the president and take power? Perhaps it’s an Art show, or an installation? We get different versions, different stories. But it is clear that many people are very tired of the situation, of the threats of war, and long for coming back to a normal situation.
The visit is part of the project EKAE 2009, run by Natverkstan and financed by the Swedish Institute.
Categories: Art Artistic practice Blogg Creative spaces Cultural Journals Cultural Policy Democracy Economy Education Entrepreneurship Georgia Innovation International Network Performance Tackling poverty University
Etiketter:Animation, Artist, Artistic collective workshop, Artistic practice, Burning Platforms, Creativity, crisis, Cultural economy, Cultural Journal, Cultural Policy, Cultural Project, Democracy, Development, Economy, Education, Entrepreneur, Flexibility, Georgia, Globalization, Innovation, International exchange, Literature, pedagogical, Renewal, Social entrepreneur
”Meeting can sometimes be more dramatic than showing a Bergman-movie.”
We are at the Swedish Embassy in Georgia, Tbilisi, talking about the project Exchange of Knowledge and Experience (EKAE) 2009 just starting in Tbilisi. Johan Öberg, from Faculty of Art at Göteborg University, describes the importance of combining working with events with meetings, working with processes is a working method for the project EKAE 2009. Today, Saturday, four intense working days start where a delegation of thirteen people from literature, Art, Art faculty at the Göteborg University, publishing houses, and film in Sweden has travelled to Tbilisi to meet colleagues within these areas to discuss future exchange and a possible event in Sweden 2009–2010.
A pilot group travelled to Tbilisi to prepare and met with visual Artists, textile Artists, Theatre and Film Instute at the Tbilisi University, publishing houses. Beyond the geopolitical situation and the internal wrestling in Georgia, cultural practitioners meet and continue their work over boarders. We listen to the textile Artist, Nino Kipshidze, working with the new flow of immigrants from South Ossetia in Gori, visual Artist Anna Riaboshenko from the network Tram, planning projects with the neoghbouring countries and North Caucasus to raise the status of Artists, and Levan Khetaguri at the Film and Theatre Institute on educating young filmers.
Etiketter:Add new tag, Artist, Artistic practice, Creativity, Cultural Project, Democracy, Development, Education, Entrepreneur, Georgia, Globalization, International exchange, Literature, Policy for Global Development, Social entrepreneur
How do we look at work and employment? What is our relationship to working? How does time linger after people left? How do our perception and dreams change as we grow up? Are we prepared to do anything to reach our goals? What is meaningful work?
Skifte is a collective digital exhibition with filmmakers, animators, photographers, artists and poets, who all reflect on the theme work. Nine pieces showing different aspects and expressions, putting forward questions rather than answers. The exhibition is part of Medieverkstäderna i Väst, a collective of digital workshops in Region Västra Götaland, where members are visual artists, editors, photographers, poets and film makers.
Curator has been Stina Karlsdóttir Vestrin, who is also a student at Kulturverkstan. In the folder coming with the exhibition she writes:
”The fact that our work is one of the things forming us, building our identity and creating a community in a social context, we can all agree on, work is a central part of our lives. I would like, with this exhibition, to do some pounces in everyday working life and lift reflections around its structure. What is a job? What is a good job? Why do we work and what makes an honourable day’s work? The same occupation can in some cases be a job and in others not. In today’s society it’s more and more important to be adaptable and flexible on a more and more demanding labour market at the same time as the boarders between working life and leisure is erased. Working conditions is constantly shifting and each time as its problems to solve.
The war of ants has disappeared from our TVs. The digital era has its own noise, its own war, other ants. Internet is today an obvious part of labour market. Fifteen years ago you hardly knew what it was, yet it has since changed labour for many people all over the world. It also affects those workers who don’t have access to computers. A shift has taken place. Changes can sneak on you slowly without us understanding a shift is on its way. What happens to our jobs? The new is growing out of the old, breaking out from it, against it, want to be free. It is in this contradiction that we find other ways and tramp our own tracks.”
The exhibition will be touring in Region Västra Götaland and is on Internet 25 of April to 24 of May 2009. Look at www.skifte.se and click for English. Download (in Swedish) the catalogue here: skifte_katalog.
Etiketter:Animation, Artist, Artistic collective workshop, Artistic practice, Creativity, Development, Digitization, Employment, Flexibility, Labour, Medialab, Medieverkstäderna, photo, Shift, Skifte, Västra Götaland, Work
New Opera Co just had the opening of ”Vi i villa”, a newopera where the group use the classical form of an opera and turn it into a modern drama. Is it possible to use an everyday, very basic and realistic, dialogue in an opera? How do you create a libretto, together in the ensemble, how do you act and how do you produce? The questions was a drive for New Opera Co to explore and start, as they describe it, a phase of research and collective process in terms of ideas, performance, text and music. The result is a beautiful and creative performance that shows a new form of expression and gives an idea of what a modern opera could be. The stage is simple, a rehearsing room with just black chairs and four glasses. Scenery is projected on the wall and the dialogue, sung by the actors and actresses, is about ordinary things in the relationship between two people.
The performance was built in quite an interesting process, where the group combined working together with the whole ensemble, included actors, director, technicians, musicians, dancers, with times of concentration where the composer have built the text and the music on his own. In between, the parts that was ready, was performed and showed in front of an audience. This gave the composer an idea of how the text needed to be built and the song had to be sung to work. It’s quite a similar process, and way of thinking, as the one described at Pixar Animation Studios, where the storyboard continuously was showed to an audience and reactions taken into account in the building of a film (look here to read about our visit to Pixar Animation Studios).
Animation Artist Artistic collective workshop Artistic practice Bangalore Burning Platforms Business idea Creative Industries Creativity crisis Cultural economy Cultural Journal Cultural Policy Cultural Project Democracy Development Digitization Distribution Economy Education Employment Encatc Entrepreneur Entrepreneurship EU Finance Flexibility Georgia Globalization Innovation International exchange Literature New economy pedagogical Policy for Global Development Renewal Research Resources San Francisco Self-employment Silicon Valley Social entrepreneur Transformation USA Västra Götaland