The ‘Make a Move’ project got off to a great start in Galway, where Galway Theatre Festival hosted the first Pilot Art Incubator of the project from Thursday April 25th – Saturday May 4th. We welcomed Anne Corté (France), Dmitri Rekatchevski (Russia / France), Rodrigo Pardo (Argentina / France), Deise Nunes (Brazil / Norway), Sébastien Loesener (France), Nicole Pschetz (Brazil / France), Yucef Zraiby (Lebanon / Barcelona), and Eva Maria Hofer (Austria) to Galway city, along with representatives of the partner organisations IAB and UAT, Loránd János and Lia Contiu. It was exciting to meet the artists who had been selected in person and to begin to realise the project’s ambition to bring independent theatre artists from Europe together to exchange practices and create together!
The first two days of the lab focused on the core residency group (including James Riordan (Ireland)), allowing them time to learn about each other’s work and share elements of their practice through ‘contact-making sessions’ – short practical sessions where they led a warm-up / creative activity they use in their own practice. We spent these mornings and early afternoons in the welcoming environment of the St. Patrick’s Band Hall, with its warm, wood-floored hall and walls covered with pictures telling the history of the St. Patrick’s Band. We learned about Rodrigo’s roof-top performances, Dmitri’s dance with his shadow, James’ mask work, and much more. The artists shared practices ranging from imagining the most impossible show you could ever create, to yogic meditation, to counting as a group up to 40 (not as easy as it sounds!). Eva asked the group the question – ‘why do we need other people?’ – and recorded everyone’s answers in their own language(s) … that recording would later made its way into a beautiful short performance on Inis Oirr.
In the afternoon of Day 1 & 2 we transferred to bright, open meeting room of Galway 2020. On Day 1 the artists were officially welcomed to Galway by Marilyn Gaughan of Galway 2020, and by Fiona Neary and Fintan Sweeney of the GTF Board. Then the focus turned to digital media, and under the guidance of Loretta, Aghna and Ali of LORG Media, the artists got to grips with ‘mobile journalism’, shooting and editing short videos on their smartphones. The Mayor of Galway, Neil McNeilis, made a surprise visit to the workshop, adding his welcome to all the group. On Day 2 the group heard from Darragh Doyle on the why, how, when and what of blogging. ‘So that Google can find you’ was the short answer to ‘why’, and by the end of the session the idea of blogging felt more practical and less overwhelming than it had before. The artists went on to create blogs and videos for the ‘Make a Move’ website, which you can check out now!
On Day 2 disaster struck, as our plans to travel out to the island of Inis Oirr that evening were upset by the arrival of Storm Hannah, with winds in excess of 130kph … but with some help from Galway 2020, and some fast phoning around to hotels in the city, we managed to feed everyone and find everyone a bed for the night! On the morning of Day 3 we proceeded out to the island on a sea that was still choppy after the previous night’s high winds – the bumpy ferry-ride was a stark reminder of the reality of life on an island on the Western periphery of Europe.
On Inis Oirr we were joined by the national and local artists – Anja Kersten, Eileen McClory, Sorcha Ní Chróinín, Cathal McGuire, Liza Cox, Gráinne O’Carroll, Conor Geoghegan, John Rogers, Sandra Gonzalés Bandera, and Orlaith Ní Chearra. We were also joined by our digital technology experts – Brian Kenny, Tom O’Dea, Niall Campion, Karl Caulfield and Esteban Moreno – as well as Maria Gill (artist, Portugal), Ivana Peranic (Artistic Director of ‘Make a Move’), and Traian Penciuc (UAT).
Over the next days the artists and experts worked together in Áras Éanna, the arts centre on Inis Oirr, to explore new digital technologies including 360 filming, infrared sensors, live camera, pre-recorded video and video mapping. In groups and individually the artists experimented with the technologies, bringing their own performance practices and artistic questions to bear. The landscape and remoteness of Inis Oirr wound itself into the work, with artists drawing inspiration from the silence of the sunken graveyard, the bleak magic of the abandoned ship The Plassey, and the endless tapestry of stone walls that pattern the island.
Half-way through the week the artists reflected on the challenges and potentials related to collaboration and co-creation, describing what worked and what didn’t work in the group processes they had worked in so far. One creative challenge that emerged was the fact that everyone was a creative ‘leader’, making group work sometimes difficult and fraught. The group discussed this and looked at ways of working around this, including sharing the leadership role between the different participants. Understanding each others’ processes, and giving time to different peoples’ ways of working, also formed part of the discussion. These reflections were documented by the project’s researchers, Lia Contiu and Traian Penciuc and will provide key learnings from the project.
A final flurry of individual and group work in the last days of the lab resulted in the creation of 12 short ‘experiments’, including a one-on-one experience using Virtual Reality and a real knife, an intimate audio experience in a bed, a collective experience that invited the whole group to get up and dance, a meditative performance that used sound to weave a narrative between people in a room and people outside in the landscape, and a surreal and exhilarating ‘non-technological’ group performance on the road outside Áras Éanna.
IRELAND AND ME – Galway Lab Day 5 & 6
By Anne Corté and Dmitri Rekatchevski
On the evening of Day 8 we bid farewell to Inis Oirr and returned to Galway City. This time the sun shone, and ferry-ride back was smooth and clear. On Day 9 & 10 we were joined by the project’s external evaluators, Darko Lukic and Cristina da Milano, who participated in the final talks and discussions of the Pilot Art Incubator. A small invited audience joined us on Day 9, and we show-cased some of the VR and ‘non-technological’ performance created out on Inis Oirr. Then artist Paula Kehoe discussed her own practice with 360 and VR technologies, reflecting on what these technologies have to offer, and suggesting that, even if artists don’t continue to work with these technologies they can open up new ways of thinking and new forms of practice.
The evening of Day 9 finished with the opening of the Galway Theatre Festival 2019, where our international and national guests got to experience the vibrancy of the local theatre scene, and enjoy the exhilarating drumming of the Carnival-esque Macnas Drummers. Day 10 saw an informative discussion around Creative Europe funding, in particular the new pilot artist mobility project i-Portunus, led by Katie Lowry of the Creative Europe desk at the Arts Council of Ireland. As the Pilot Art Incubator wound to a close the national and local artists bid farewell to the group. After a final evaluation the core residency group and our international partners and evaluators had one final night in Galway before bidding farewell to Ireland. We were sorry to say goodbye to such a wonderful group of people – but we hope that they will be back to Galway and to Ireland very soon!
Dear Maria, we are back to Galway now. The island was moving in many ways and it is still in my bones and in my dreams. I dreamt about a kangaroo which was jumping out of the…. how do you call that? Out of the stomach? Or of the bodysack? – too early, and it died. I woke up because I thought that I made a weeping sound and that it was probably too loud for my roommate. But everything was ok.
Dear Eva, when we were at the boat I remembered this poem from Rumi: “You are not a drop in the ocean You are the entire ocean in a drop” I felt this was true.
So now – Travel lodge: when I enter a new hotel room I look out of the window, I open the wardrobe, I check the bed and the minibar.
Right now I’m out on the street searching for a place to run. Green on my right – I just cannot enter. I have to solve this problem. Moving makes me thinking about what moves me. On the island I made a lot of moves. Google told me every morning, that I have reached my 10 thousand steps, but I still kept on moving. We are used to body moves. What moves our mind, our thinking, our opinions, our heart. And when would it be wise to not move?
Already lots of words now. List entry is too long. Means that I have used up the space. Keep door closed. Fire door. Door opens automatically. Press Green Button. Keep Door Shut. No Exit.
I’m happy to meet you at breakfast table, curious what this day will bring – cloudy, cold, but not much.
Woke up, open the book of Rebecca Solnit randomly:
“People have always been good at imagining the end of the world, which is much easier to picture, than the strange sidelong paths of change in a world without end.”
Dear Maria, Oh. It was hard to find the way back. Didn’t reach the lake, but was told to use the staircase as a shortcut back. Next time I should ask before I run. Bye bye and see you. Always yours, Eva
Dimitri gave me a poem:
Tu aimais ce bar sur l’avenue Victoria où un radio FM inconnu infectait la fumée de sons tristes. Il y avait Une barmaid toute jeune En jeans rouges, en pull vert troué sur les coudes. Elle, avec ses yeux d’un bleu parfait, savait lire les lignes de ta main.
Les lignes de ta main lui disaient que tu es quelqu’un de bien, gentil et honnête que tu es prêt à donner que tu es prêt à accepter ton cœur à une jeune irlandaise blondasse le cœur d’une jeune irlandaise blondasse du petit bar de l’avenue Victoria Les lignes de ta main lui chantaient que tu vivrais longtemps que tu serais riche que tu aurais une femme fidèle et magnifique une seule pour toute ta vie longue et riche une seule pour toute sa vie longue et irlandaise Oh pourquoi toutes ces lignes pourquoi toutes ces mains pourquoi toutes ces lèvres lui murmuraient lui disaient lui promettaient autant Oh pourquoi elle savait les lire ces lignes de ta main avec ses yeux d’un bleu parfait avec ses mains d’une tendresse parfaite avec ses lèvres d’une douceur parfaite elle seule savait les lire elle seule savait les comprendre elle seule aimait les lignes de ta main.
Dear Maria, this was what I got from your conversation with Cathal at lunch. You spoke about what a theatermaker needs to work. You were into deep thinking, but deep listening was not possible at this place. So I need to post some surface comments: money, contracts, space, ideas, time, audience, knowledge, materials, love, intelligence, open minds, language, body, passion, lust, techniques, access…
Most of us would say, if asked, that we live in a capitalist society, but vast amounts of how we live our everyday lives – our interactions with an commitments to family lives, friendships, avocations, membership in social, spiritual, and political organizations – are in essence non-capitalist or even anti-capitalist, full of things we do for free, out of love, and on principle.
Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced”, said James Baldwin
A toolbox for revolution: https://beautifultrouble.org/
Tactics: 1. Create disruption 2. Debt strike 3. Direct action 4. Electoral guerrilla theatre 5. Flash mob 6. General strike 7. Guerrilla Projection 8. Hoax 9. Invisible theatre 10. Mass street action 11. Occupation 12. Prefigurative intervention 13. Strategic nonviolence
Principles: Anger works best when you have the moral high ground Challenge patriarchy as you organize Choose tactics that support your strategy Do the media’s work for them If protest is made illegal, make daily life a protest Maintain nonviolence visible Play to the audience that isn’t there Put your target in a decision dilemma
Shift the spectrum of allies Show, don’t tell Simple rules can have great results Stay on massage Take leadership from the most impacted Think narratively Use the Jedi mind trick WE ARE ALL LEADERS
Theories: Action logic Anti-oppression Ethical spectacle Expressive and instrumental actions Memes Pillars of support Points of intervention Political identity paradox The propaganda model Temporary Autonomous Zone
Remember, If you don’t have a strategy, you’re part of someone else’s strategy. Alvin Toffler*
*American writer, futurist, and businessman known for his works discussing modern technologies, including the digital revolution and the communication revolution, with emphasis on their effects on cultures worldwide.
Goodbye to Galway, walk, 4th of May 2029 9.30 AM
As if I would see this for the last time of my life dear Maria dear all, keep fire door closed, press green button to release the door, door opens automatically, two dogs playing with sticks, a lady in black, a green wooden door, a red wooden roof on the top of a shield, a black bird, Japanese knotweed, do not cut, an abandoned shopping trolley on a fresh mowed lawn, vote number one, b call, danger! Deceased river, a bike shed in a backyard, a green, a red, a silver and a black bike, an empty pot, trash on the floor, a tin beer can, a pizza cartoon, do not put in fragile or sharp objects, the sound ö a Supermarket trolley, a trolleybus, this dinguisher contains afff foam, spray type, a flock of bird’s, the colourful windows of a cathedral, fire door, keep door locked, a dandelion dancing in the wind, the sound of laughter, warm smells coming out of a Chinese gift shop, hop house, the sound of a racing motorcycle, the sound of steps on different underground, a leave floating on the water, wassergrütze the blossoms of a cherry tree, this extinguisher contains co2 carbon dioxide. Good bye. Love, Eva.
Woke up, open the book of Donna J. Haraway randomly:
“It matters what matters we use to think other matters with; it matters what stories we tell to tell other stories with; it matters what knots knot knots, what thoughts think thoughts, what descriptions describe descriptions, what ties tie ties. It matters what stories make worlds, what worlds make stories.”
P.S.: Eva, não te esqueças de me ligares quando chegares a Lisboa. Talvez tenhamos tempo para uma caminhada no Monte da Lua. Beijinhos de uma destra para uma canhota, Maria.
DAY 7: 1 st of may, international day of demonstrations for the workers rights. Not in Inisheer. Here
there is the sea, the stone walls, its 300 inhabitants, and 20 artists.
In this isolated context, being quickly initiated to some digital technologies, how do we grab the last
chance to create, learn or simply play ?
Groups form, sometimes of 1. Gathering or scattering. For each of one of us, it is according to an
idea, and affinity. Or perhaps chance? Some of us even decide to work without technology. Because
in spite of the attraction for anything that’s new, the island and the sea brought back the power of
what is simple and natural.
Creation, creativity: each one has obviously a very personal way to handle their imagination. It is
difficult to guess what is going on in an other group, and even less in an other artists’ head.
Processes try to find their own feet or partner’s shoes, cross or confront each other. Creating in a
single day is a challenge everybody knows as being impossible, but to which everyone rises.
DAY 8: the magic of the great souls. We all get there. Nothing to perform in a national theatre.
Right. But the words are clear: those are no shows but experiences, sharing what’s been done in this
short space of time. In every single one of those moments there is a bit of the joy, the universe, and
the personality of each artist.
The last moments on Inisheer taste like an ending. The sun is shining and the sea is calm. When we
take the boat for the main land, the community spirit allows a lingering doubt, and a feeling that it is
not done yet. We still have 2 days to spend together and if there is any partnership in the air between
us, the seal showing us its magnificent dive at the entrance of the port… probably sealed it.
After a sudden change of plans due to bad weather the previous day, we began our trip to Inis Oirr on the morning of the 27th. We stepped on a double-decker bus that took us to the ferryboat, and after a bumpy 45 minutes, we were finally on the island.
Arrival, hotel, lunch, and again in movement. Walking between stone walls to the cultural center, where we had an afternoon of interesting technical information regarding VR, mapping, and sensors, followed by rotation of practice with the material.
Especially illuminating was Brian and Tom’s explanation on the use of sensors, starting with a basic demonstration with two of them that were triggering different videos, continuing with infrared cameras and live examples of their use. Niall’s VR presentation was quite straight forward, going directly to the goggles, experiencing different types of interactive videos on them.
A good piece of advice to take into account: do not use technology if it is not really relevant to your performance, or if what the sensor does is easily replaceable by a technician pressing a button.
On the 28th, we started dividing the group in 4 teams, objective: to produce a small performance in 3 hours using the materials we saw the day before.
GROUP A: Made a nice VR movie involving a horse in a wide-open space that worked very well, great decision also to place the audience outside.
GROUP B: The use of the masks gave this VR film a whole new atmosphere of theatrical flavor.
GROUP C: (our group) Played with an infrared camera creating interaction in between a dancer in front of the audience and 3 participants located in another room, hidden to the public.
GROUP D: Their work had good dramatic development exposing the “on-off” nature of the sensors, closing with an old-style end of the game in vintage computer style.
The afternoon found us following the energetic tourist guide Kathleen who took us to the castle in a non-stop mix of good historical information and ecological awareness.
A Special mention to the fantastic gift that Lorand gave us for his last night, sharing 5 magical dance movies.