Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Faki Day 6: Artifice, everyday violence and non-justice

There’s something about the pharmaceutical factory Medika that has a weird effect on memory. Of course the friendships made through collaboration and conversation will last and even strengthen - but the stronger memories from Faki will seem to never be the ‘known’ but the ‘un-known’, or the partly known. It’s the passing glimpses of a perverse moment, the random acts of generosity and humanity, or the hidden menace that stick to the brain. I don’t know if that’s just the sheer labyrinth-like nature of the place: creating surprises around every corner, small shocks to attune the senses and unsettling reality. These are the unforgettable content filling the frame of the factory. The normality disappears.

The final day of the festival began with a Zagrebian circus performance about torture, followed (after a quick scamper through the rain) by a polished surrealist performance from Patricia Hastewell and group All These Places Had Their Moments which blended various styles of movement. The site-specific choreography collaboration from Clipa Theatre, Collective B and Liv Fauver was the only show to fully utilise the courtyard of Medika – and a unified collective of punks, artists and revellers, and a dog, watched on in silent reverence.  Daniela Marcozzi closed out the festival with a widely referential work Right On! addressing today’s troubled perspective on justice.

The only apology is the circus performance from Cirkorama.

All These Places Had Their Moments

Writing, or attempting to write, or failing to write, so much on dance these last few days has taught me a few things. One is that dancers will inevitably tell you that you don’t need to know much about dance to write on it - that a naïve perspective is ok. I think this is partly true. A traditional aim of the artist is to communicate on a universal, symbolic level, so why shouldn’t I then be able to write about what I understand of it? On the other hand, working with a technical language is naturally inclusive of finer points, which a critic must be able to cover. When a piece of theatre fails, for example, I know enough to guess why it might have failed – I can see the intention, or see the bigger picture. With dance, that’s more difficult. There are some works that are trying to do something quite specific, and this point itself doesn’t render the whole initiative invalid. Achieving something specific within a limited frame can have a flow-on effect, even if more than half the audience doesn’t get it. This s true not only of specific work, but is inherent in the concept of avant-garde, where the audience will be alienated because the piece is trying to discuss something which does not yet exist. Again – that it was comprehended does not mean necessarily that the objectives were valid.