Cultural Product

Cultural Product
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Saturday, January 12, 2013

I love conversing

Talking to strangers is a buzz, I can feel their electricity and the intimate setting of the tea house is pretty close, but not cloying. I find myself at home, preparing for the day, keen to talk but also knowing I need to reserve my voice for the onslaught later. I want to call friends and chat and ruminate but need to hold off till later. This is now.

I met another 30 strangers

Victoria Hunt and Aria If not more. Everyday interactions in a recreated setting. Yesterday's guests left marks on me but they are all blending into one. The pearls of wisdom were fast and furious, I imbibed them all at the time and swallowing them whole, moved on to the next. To be present in the moment, thinking of Marina Ambromovich and her 3 months of gazes. The mynahs and rosellas love the tree near the entrance of the park, with red and orange flowers. They nibble and squeak and cluster on it's branches in waves. I have seen 2 mynahs catch insects which they devour on the ground next to me. Leaves blow through my open structure and yesterday the ground was covered by beautiful golden leaves which look like ginkgo but I'm not sure. Must ask someone. Yesterday' eyes, voices and presences penetrated me. I wanted to go home with some of the people. Quantum mechanics was discussed. A physics professor, an engineer, and architect, a lawyer, someone who worked with water, four nurses, an Englishman, 2 Scots with thick accents, a couple who brewed their own beer and were quite drunk and one woman who I said nothing that made any sense to. A couple asked me if I did fortune telling. And a sad lady who was here on a working holiday but hadn't made any friends yet. I felt myself moving into my role as Lucy, the psychiatrist once or twice, but having to re-negotiate my place and transit back to this time, this place, this hope for a tidy exit. One fellow refused the tea so I drank it, but he made quite an impression on me, with his Reject shop bags and sandals. He gave me 2 minutes, which I was grateful for and imparted wisdoms I can't recall. Some people gave, some received, every one of them connected with me on some elementary level. I loved how different people chose to sit and invariably when a couple came in the woman would sit on the tatami while the man sat on the milk crate. Many of the guests had visited Song Dong's installation at Carriageworks prior, and some wanted to discuss this work. I thought about it and how we were creating a memory, a fleeting one that may stay somewhere in the residue of each participant. I was glad that it wasn't an object that I was conveying, rather, an experience. Those clear open gazes loiter in my thoughts, how beautiful are their eyes, these gems of our bodies, a myriad different colours and spastically beautiful striations. I wish I could take photos of their eyes, record them all into a wallpaper. Today I will endeavour to photograph the scenario from my vantage point.

Friday, January 11, 2013

I met thirty strangers yesterday

And wonder how many I will meet today. I am performing a Wabi-Sabi Afternoon Tea as part of Sydney Festival in one of the Micro-Parks in my area, there are 3 other parks with actions involved and for 3 days we are occupying the parks. I am serving Australian tea in a Japanese fashion, involving a slight artistic fusion between the two ceremonies, traditional English tea ceremony and the Japanese chanoyu (茶の湯?). The work was curated by Jeff Kahn from the Performance Space. Most strikingly, in recollection I recall the eyes of my guests, the clear quality of their gaze as we interacted in this unusual get-together and meeting point I had designed. One aspect of both rituals, other than to provide rest, refreshment and contemplation of beauty, is a conversation, which I am thrilled to partake in, even at such a basic level. It is a pleasure to interact with strangers and offer a gift and have an exchange which I am so fortunate to participate in and be the receptacle of knowledge about. It was not something I had conceived of, when planning the performance, but is the main outcome which I am aware of, and which I wanted to share as there were so many kind and beautiful words exchanged, of which I was privvy. Which is why I'm writing this today. The seven seasons of weather in the North of Australia. The tattoes from around the globe, most notably a bear in the woods from Canada. That tea parties aren't played as children in China. The pinky finger, whence drinking English tea should be curved, rather than pointed and comes as a result of drinking from cups, rather than mugs. That you don't need to travel in order to enjoy what you have here. Not sure about that. That art and philosophy enrich our lives and minds so that all else is possible. I would include rituals. I met a few couples who were newly in love, and ones that didn't know they were in love with each other, and some that were together but lived far from one another. The honesty and integrity of the participants being recalled fills me with hope for today.