Monday, October 20, 2008

silver raven - voyager

On November 1st I can present two short works at Korean National University of Arts, (metro: Nambu Bus Terminal, exit 3)

6pm until maybe 6.45pm
studio 105,
free admission

special thanks to:
Prof. Nam Jeong-Ho, Yang Seung-Hee, the tech-crew of students, Hayley Bae, Kazue Ikeda, and many more people who have made this concert possible with their help and support ...

Saturday November 1st, is All Saints Sunday November 2nd is All Souls Day. Both days are related to the coming of winter, death, spirits...

There will be two pieces:
- a solo that I dance myself
- a piece that we all do together

silver raven is a new version of my older solo "Raven".
I created the old solo when I was an artist-in-residence at the Kinetic Awareness® Center, New York City in 2005.

This new version comes from my experience of Korea / Asia / the University / KNUA.
There is a new layer, more maturity, but also a different meaning.
An Agent between Life and Death...

voyager is a new piece.
It is made to the video " Voyager" by Daft Punk and Leiji Matsumoto from the music-anime "Interstella 5555"

This dance should be done by us all together.
> When the music starts and the drums play, just move up and down like you would in a disco or at a party.
> After a while think of somebody in your life who has died, and continue to dance.
Maybe your dance will change a bit...

Here is the video (YouTube):

This piece is inspired by the Death Festivals in Mexico.
There are many celebrations like this, and in many cultures around the world. Most of them happen when Winter comes, or Summer.

For example, in Korea there is Chuseok, where the family comes together to give thanks for the harvest and invites the spirits of the family-ancestors to join them in a very special and very prescribed meal.

For this piece I am interested to have something sacred and something commercial at the same time. This is also the reason why I chose the Hanja for the concert: I was informed that it mainly means 'business', but sometimes it can also mean ' action' , or even ' karma' ... (it is also my guiding sign for this trip to Korea)

I hope you will come and join in... ^^

Saturday, October 4, 2008

where I live

I live in Bangbae-1(Il-) dong, in Seocho-gu, Seoul Korea. This is a relatively new and wealthy area on the South Bank of the inner city (there are many more related towns around it, which is how still about half of the country's population ends up working & living here)

I have my own apartment within an apartment-complex (Toti Hill Castle, 931-3, Keum-Kang Kil)
It is perfect for one person and I find it very comfortable. I really like the heightened wooden floor and that there is an actual space where I can leave behind my shoes / sandals, or even put them away into a cupboard.
Everything is spaced very efficiently, I even have cupboard space left. And I really like it that I have two to three cups, two large plates, two larger Korean eating bowls and two smaller bowls, pans, very good kitchen knives, two pairs of chopsticks, spoons, forks, knives etc. I have my own washing machine for clothes on the balcony, as is customary here. The programming can be very exact, how much water to use, for how long, how many flushes. And it's customary to wash with cold water, then hang it out to dry.

The heating system works very well: one hour of floor-heating is enough to be warm for the evening, all over, even when it is -10 degrees Celsius outside. I wish average Dutch houses had similar heating efficiency...

The cutest phone ever!
And a dish with delicious persimmons fruits of the season, together with a gift from a friend...

The location is excellent: traffic is nearby & multiple, subway or buses, it is close to work at the University, the main organic supermarket of the city is 6 min. from me, there is an organic dry-clean about one block away. There is a very friendly small night-shop, another supermarket above, and some nice eateries near the bus-station / subway station. Really everything one can need in daily life.

Unlike in Rotterdam, recycling is mandatory and very easy: just put all that can be recycled (paper, plastics, glass) into any kind of clear plastic bags, same kinds together. The general trash is collected in special bags for which one has to pay, this is at the same time the fee for garbage collection. If you have a lot of (larger) trash, you pay more... Collecting recyclables is free.

I notice that the houses in this neighbourhood are sometimes not at all new or slick. Sometimes the brickstones are a bit withered, there are cracks in the pavement, as if they were rather old already. And this is not such an old neighbourhood at all. I like this a lot, it reminds me of the area of where my grandparents used to live in Budapest.

Quite a few houses are unfinished or are separated from the street with giant wrapping while they are in the process of being demolished inside (an excellent idea to wrap the house, so that the dust won't get around the neighbourhood). But I guess that to actually have a house on your own is already quite something, rather than to live in one of the mega-flats which are housing many thousands of people in perhaps even smaller apartments than mine.

And it's not like the average Korean wouldn't need that much space bodywise. I may be a bit taller here than average, but that is also statistical: the elder generation who are now in their 50s and 60s has many people about 2/3rds of my length. But otherwise there are more than enough adult men and also women who easily come very close to or match my size, or are taller than me.

How do they all fit in? The proportions of cars, houses, shops, is in general lower and a tiny bit more narrow, than what I'm used to even in the Netherlands, though not as narrow and tight as Belgium, where houses can tend to be even more vertical and narrow (at least in Antwerp and Brussels) ...

This fan was available for free at the National Museum. Korean history impressed me a great deal, what an amazing achievement of a people in such little time...
The fan was also excellent to avoid the electric fan and for killing the very aggressive, but actually more easy to kill mosquitos ...

sensory - the medium is (part of) the message

I really notice how my energy/tension-approach to people here is often not matching well.
I sense a lot more lightness & at times also delicacy from people and complexity in their physical attitudes when talking to me, my own is often not in very efficient response to that.

since my Korean-phrase collection is still rather limited and almost no one really understands or speaks English (it is an island, with north-Korea and China to the north, Japan to the West and then for a longer time nothing much) this is pretty much to what I am left in terms of getting along, which always demands some communication with people.

in the school I think people are slowly getting used to me, so that helps (we're a month further now)

I am sensitive enough to feel when I have violated the ongoing flow of tension-communication with someone, in form or content, by not responding with the correct way something said, or saying something too soon and therefore interrupting someone (not very well taken at all - many people sense very keenly when I am just about to speak and then silence themselves, but clearly not finished yet saying what they needed or wanted to say - for example!)

but I am not yet sensitive enough when I try to communicate something to someone myself, and that's where often the lapses or breaks etc. will happen.

^ Dongdaemun Market at night

They really liked this face when I did it at the shop where I bought this vest & shirt to look more presentable, it frightened and made the girl laugh at the same time. So I did this for her!...

The clothing styles that I see here are a mixture of Western / Turkish / Asian / Chinese / Japanese elegance: many colors, but no bright or highlighting ones (dyed clothing was for a very long time a privilege of the rich and the Shamans, the ordinary people wore white, natural fibers, no color) Many women wear shining glitz and glitter in some way, sparkling hair pins, sparkles on the coat, or the make up. Nail polish in all colors except for overt red. The young men remind me a lot of young Turkish men in Istanbul: very elegant trendy several different major styles that are adapted individually. As a nice example, check out Holy Banana ... Many business men in suits, sometimes with pink or turquoise or lilac ties. Lots of asymmetry in the designs, lots of copies from major designing houses. Louis Vuitton copies everywhere. Sometimes there are women wearing a subdued variation of Hanbok, the traditional Korean dress.