In amongst the madness of last week I spoke at the Southside Arts Festival Pecha Kucha event. The evening took place in the courtyard outside Fresh Gallery in Otara and was hosted by the amazing Ema Tavola and Luka Hinse. Here are some of the images that accompanied my talk.
“Who is Present?”
“My Spirit Will Not Be Formalized”
“New York Nightmares”
“Constructing the Primordial Martian” (Beginning ideas for a new solo)
New Treaty Militia Otara was amazing! Now we are excited to be performing it as part of our great friend Jeff Henderson’s iiii festival in WELLINGTON!! The show is on the 9th of November and starts at 6pm at the Roseneath Hall. Check out the blog here for more details.
Images from Vic Apparel Blog see here
Last Tuesday I performed at the final evening of Forever Tuesday, a weekly performance event that ran for the month of October at the Film Archive in Auckland, New Zealand. The event was curated by Kristian Larsen and hosted and facilitated by Campbell Farquar. Work was presented by Rachel Ruckstuhl-Mann, Brent Harris, Mark Harvey, Anna Bate, Alexa Wilson, Val Smith, Sean Curham and myself. I can’t wait for more of these things.
This is an image of Kristian partaking in my work.
DRINKS FROM 8:30PM
COME ALONG X
Berlin made me want to hang out in my apartment and get naked heaps it was choice as. I also hung out with and learnt off some pretty incredible people at a choreographer’s meeting called Matchpoint which took place at the Hebbel am Ufer (HAU). I workshopped with and saw performances from Noha Ramadan (Amsterdam, Australia), Fitri Setyaningsih (Indonesia), Matan Zamir (Israel, Germany) and Nicola Mascia (Italy, Germany), Jane McKernan (Brussels, Australia), Ayelen Paroline (Argentina, Brussels), Andros Zins-Browne (New York, Brussels), Daniel Kok (Singapore, Germany) and Donna Miranda (Phillipines). I also saw Contact Gonzo, Jecko Siompo and Faifai perform. Faifai are my new obsession. Check them out here.
A lot of the discussions that came out of Matchpoint were to do with identity politics (and perhaps more so a striving toward a post-identity politic). Perhaps this is an inevitable discussion to be had when you put 10 choreographers from all over the world in one room for ten days and expect them to communicate, to understand and to share work with each other across a range of different cultures and ideologies. Sometimes it feels like such a draining and at times futile conversation to have, but it obviously still has importance and I’m still obsessed with making work about it!
During one of the workshops led by Matan and Nicola I had an epiphany moment which has urged me to push further and deeper with my ideas about Maori identity. For a while now I’ve had this really strong aversion to nostalgic or romantic approaches to understanding Maori culture and identity. Our constant preoccupation with an utopic past during which our culture was “intact”, “pristine”, “authentic” or “pure” I believe distracts us from the incredible cultural nuances occurring and unfolding right now, minute by minute. I propose that we have lost the ability to be truly present and to see the multiple realities of our culture for what it currently is.
I am also a believer in the idea that Maori tend to ossify things. That is, “when a new element is introduced to our culture we ossify it, we fossilize it, we make it seem as if it is very ancient and has always been there, and because it is ‘set in stone’ it becomes tradition, it cannot be changed, even if it is a new thing that represents change itself” (Tiopira McDowell). This ossification or fossilization can be seen in the inventions of Kapa Haka (1920s) and Taonga Puoro (1980s,90s). Both were radically experimental at the time of their inception yet have become known as “traditional” Maori practices. It is unfortunate in my eyes that we fiercely incubate anything that might “speak of what Maori is”, rather than living in the moment and beyond, and recognizing the cultural poignancy and beauty in change, in constant movement, in experimentation.
During a particular exercize in Matan and Nicola’s workshop, I experienced a very heightened level of collective presence with the group that was taking part. I haven’t felt so anchored in the present moment for a long time. And out of this extreme presence came what I would describe as a sense of the primordial, or the basic, or some sort of fundamental consciousness. It dawned on me that this feeling is what Maori have been so intent on rediscovering, and that maybe it is a desire to feel this way again that sits at the very core of the Tino Rangatiratanga movement. Ironically though, we have been looking to the past for an answer that sits right beneath our skin every single day.
Tikanga should be fluid and open. Tikanga should come in whatever form it needs to be in order to allow a heightened sense of presence. Tikanga should let the primordial exist in the language of now. When we look at old pictures of our ancestors going about their tikanga, we should look at how present they are in their task, rather than trying to copy the task’s form. That’s what I think.