Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Faki Epilogue: Ghosts in the Medika

Well, it's over. Over the 6 days of the festival, I saw all 26 shows except my compatriots When We First Met by Anything is Valid Dance Theatre (AU), a victim of an unexpected public holiday, and managed to review 20 of them at a rate of about 3-4 per day. If that doesn't seem like a lot, you have never written a review. Engaging with 3-4 shows a day, 3-4 entirely different realities in one gruelling evening, only to wipe the slate clean and begin again with the previous night's shows still ringing in your ears, is difficult. Not to mention talking with artists about their work and what you've written about it, getting to know them, and then not having the time to talk with them because you have to write about the new shows. Human interference is complex but, as I was reminded at Faki, it's part of living in a community. Along with sweeping, cooking, and mopping, making society is part of the work which must be done.

I became a kind of machine at Faki. Like a critical thought computer. If my writing seemed to take on the same rhythm each day that's why.

The art at Faki was revealing of some growing and continuing trends among artists in Europe. The tendency for 'emotional mining of the self' - exploiting and manipulating your own ontology for performance, was pushed to the extreme in some cases. Metaphors, once kind of important in art, were now uncool - much better to simply manipulate and intervene in reality. Collaborations seemed also to lose their power in comparison with the authentic power of first-person story.