A Resource for Performing Artists, Scholars and Audiences.
What follows is a day-to-day reenactment of the days that have transpired while on the International Visitor's Programme "Theater der Welt in the European Culture Capital: Ruhr 2010" organized by the NRW Kultur Sekretariat period of 7-13 July 2010. Accompanying this travelogue are experiences, reading incursions, watching excursions, insights, mis/encounters, performative observations, and constative gesticulations. While ideally, this travelogue should have been accomplished while on the trip which we and fellows on this program have conveniently and amusingly called theater tourist/ing, the way real hip blogs do, I have found it impossible to occupy the varied subjectivities that this entailed -- that is being present and writing about being present in the tour. So here is what I have come up instead an attempt to retroactively write the previous present in the current present, negotiating the passage of time, traversing its gaps and creating further productive gaps that can be referenced at in the future.
6 July 2010
The real privilege of being constantly mobile, save for the accumulated mileage soon to be exchanged for more free flights or a well-deserved overnight stay at a swanky four-star hotel room, or extra baggage allowance necessitated by the piles of brochures, flyers, catalogs or even books picked up along the way is not the number of new kindred acquaintances to add to the exclusive list of trusted drinking buddies from around the world, nor anonymity of being elsewhere, nor the interesting conversations that transpire between curious individuals or the possibility of being dragged to long extended summer BBQ parties but the readily available option of coming home and conveniently switch back to domesticity. Almost a decade back, artist communities have been abuzz with the word 'mobility.' And indeed this has changed the nature of work, the modalities of work, the modes of producing a work, the ownership of work, the relations to work, the distribution of work, and what has now come to be called 'work.'
I remember one winter trip to Berlin, care of Goethe Insitut's Visitor's Art Program in 2008, walking along the hip 'underground' (and by now perhaps gentrified) strip of Kastianalle, a friend making a remark: "see here people are just too busy to work." Creative types, students, artists, even some seriously dressed young professionals were all sitting by the cafes, chatting, hanging around, maybe even working on their computers in the middle of the day as if there were nothing else important to do. That was Berlin in my head. Grapevine has it that any plans to move to Berlin had to made quickly lest the more-than-hip-gentrified-with-money-to-spare crowd soon overtake the cheap, modest and underground liveliness of this newly unified but old city. I was enthralled. I wanted to move right away.
Only I knew it was not possible, given my own domestic responsibilities, given that I was not young as once was and while displacement can be challengingly fun I'm not sure if I can leave my love-loathe romance with Manila just yet (or perhaps not at all). Still, perhaps this only strengthened my desire to be elsewhere and join the band of art tourists/workers going around the circuit of international exchanges, meetings, platforms, festivals and short-term study and fellowship programs. Not that there was any overly gratifying monetary exchange for such mode of living (and working). Not that this is long-term solution to finding means of surviving off one's ambitions and fantasies. Not that this was any more glamorous than sitting in your own apartment luxuriously finishing that cup of coffee in the morning before heading off to work in the studio. Not that it was any more satisfying than the everyday petty politics of local art community. But what was appealing about it was the constant possibility and privilege of activating new connections and renewing old ones too -- the pleasure of seeing things anew; whether they were 'new' insofar as one have experienced and seen them in the past, or 'new' insofar as personal circumstances constantly re-calibrate the lens by which one experiences the world.