Saturday, May 28, 2016

Faki Day 4: Blackness and Queerness, Self-Punishment, and... Yoga

It's morning on day 5, and it turns out the noise I heard at 3am was someone smashing up a kitchen sink in the courtyard. There's nothing like sweeping in the pharmaceutical factory Medika - it's a task dutifully undertaken every day but it's an impossible task nevertheless, the layers of dirt seem so caked on as to form their own surface. There's pieces of glass actually embedded into the concrete - they weren't planted there when it was setting, they've just been there so long they've kind of melted into the ground. I just sweep it in a big pile so that no one steps on the ceramic shards - and later it's gone, as if by magic. Medika taketh away and Medika giveth.

Day 4 was another assortment of powerful voices asserting wildly different realities. Things began as they do for many in the morning - with Yoga, courtesy of Jindřiška Křivánková and Markéta Magidová's blissfully parodic Migra Yoga. A sweat later, we were made to feel inferior by the extremely physical Neither Soft Nor Light, a punishing performance of masculinity, forming an interesting double with Malik Nashad Sharpe 's challenging performance artwork Assimilation. The night ended (for some) with Stephanie Felber's Medomai, a curious transfer of a street performance to a hyper-slow motion version of Strauss' Blue Danube.

Medomai is also the casualty for today - again for technical dance reasons I suppose, although it's categorised as a street performance. I will not give full breadth to Roxana Küwen's Shift, instead focusing on a specific claim made by the circus artist. See the end of the post for that.

Migra Yoga

I have friends who will be angry at me for admitting this, but I am a yoga cynic. Cultural appropriation aside - it feels, in a first world sense, like a solution created to avoid a problem: the void of the self created by capitalist societies is neatly solved by the commanding, believable spiritual leadership of the yoga teacher, with their promises of connection, wholeness, and openness contradicting those negative feeling you get from advertising or the more damaging elements of social relations under capitalism - all for 12€ an hour. There's something about the form of it that goes directly against my critical instincts - the way the student-teacher relationship is so one-way, the positivity of it, the economy around it. It seems to me a perfect example of instead of addressing the cause, we create a social counter-balance: in this sense it fits perfectly into other contradictory phenomena that characterise western society.