Workshop: Desert Walker. The Other side of “o”

By | October 12, 2010

Shoko makes O Desert Walker. The Other side of “o”
Experimental geography workshop/performance event
23- 24th July 2010
3km from Art Villa Garikula, Akhalkalaki, Shida Qartli region, Georgia

Touch the tip of one index finger to the other. Do the same with your thumbs. With these fingertips connected, open the space between them, to form an O. Now separate your hands. What remains is the other side of O. This absence of boundary is the choreographed site for The Other Side of O. – Deborah Hay, 1998

This workshop explored the idea of commemorating landscape of forgotten or obscure events by combining practices of ritual, choreography and experimental geography.

It takes the choreographic score of “Quad” (1981), Samuel Beckett’s experimental TV drama for four silent walkers, off the screen and places it in real space. Exactly what is to be commemorated is decided through group discussions during the process of learning and performing the score. The participants are artists and cultural workers from Georgia and France.

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In preparing the site we look to the north, south, east and west, and above and below us searching for the visible and hidden networks and infrastructures that direct movement; that make up a site that is already choreographed – even before one has arrived. We discuss what narratives of space and place occur when imposing an alien choreography on top of an existing one. The chosen site is a mysterious cement platform deep in the countryside of the Kaspi region. Close to it lies the remains of a zeolite factory from the Soviet period. Perhaps the two were once connected but nobody we met could remember. 1500 migrant workers from Mongolia ran the factory, leaving as quickly as they arrived when Georgia gained its independence in 1991.

The group concluded that we had commemorated transformation and change. The cyclic walking pattern was described as an expression of the four cycles of recovery following a systems breakdown; (i) severe suffering, (ii) pipe dreams/ illusions of freedom, (iii) depression; redefinition and reconstruction, and (iv) stability; a new system that lasts indefinitely, until it breaks down and the cycle starts again. Georgia is currently in the 3rd phase. The platform was described as both a place for celebration and a Pandora’s box.

Participants: Jay Japaridze, Katie Bochoidze, Insa Nino, Shoko Chachua, Ira Lomsadze, Teiko Mgaloblishvili, Anna Bourdichon, Damien Coco, David Nemirovich Gabunia, Denis Gonobolin and Lasha Samadalashvili.

Co-produced with Fest i Nova and The Foundation for Revival and Development of Cultural Heritage of Shida Kartli, Georgia.

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