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.