Day 4. The sound of silence and the joy of culture

European Performing Arts, Performing Arts Residency

Yesterday was a very full day in Clastic residency which I feel has brought us even closer.

We started the morning with Heynaz workshop on sound. This was amazing because none of us had done anything like it before so we all jumped on board straightaway. First they took us on a tour around the streets of Alice listening through their recorder to the surrounding sounds. As soon as we understood how it worked we started looking for sounds to record: a bicycle passing by, the buzzing of the bees, a stick against a fence, dry leaves breaking beneath our feet… A whole universe was opening before our eyes (or, rather, ears) which we had never before realised was there. The most simple things, like a garage door closing or a ball rolling down the street became extremely exciting. After learning how to do it, we went into couples to find three environments (any small space) to feel, connect with and explore its sounds. We had to come up with a single hit (a clear, short sound), a composition (rythmic or otherwise from the combination of sounds), our own voice and a movement that the place inspired.

For the second part of the workshop we went back to space which we had reconfigured with a projector and a table full of computers in the middle. Kate and Adrian taught as the basics of Audacity and how to modify and layer some of the sounds we had recorded with it. To finish, we warmed up our bodies and started remembering with our bodies the sensations, movements, words and sounds that the environments had inspired in us. At the same time, Adrian composed a sound base from our recordings, mainly a streched out sound of a donkey. At the end of the workshop I had the feeling of having glimpsed the very beginning of a whole universe of sound and I think I speak for everyone when I say it felt too short.

During the lunch break we divided in groups for cooking and going around the valley to put of posters of the performance.

In the afternoon we had our fourth creative session, this time divided into two big groups. The first group, in which I was in, started from the material we already had and tried to find a guiding thread among some of our favourite scenes. We also explored some movement and sound that could work as a transition in the final performance. The second group, on the other hand, created a completely new material that had the public spread out among the performers. There was a lot of talking and discussing. The day of the performance is getting closer and we have to start narrowing down the themes we’re going to work on and the scenes or images we want to present. Managing a group of 15 people coming from completely different artistic backgrounds is a challenge but I’m sure the results will pay out.

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After the creative session we had a very special evening. The local music band of Alice Superiore, who shares the space with Biloura, had offered themselves to come to play and eat with us. They were arriving only at 9pm so we had a lot of free time for aperitivo, ice creams and going back to swim in the river.

The evening was a total success. The band arrived at 9 pm and we introduced each other, with a bit of help of those of us bilingual who acted as interpreters. The band played well into the night all sorts of traditional piemontese songs and we all improvised our dances inside a circle. Our own musicians, Angie and Aude, also made their own contribution with the violin and the accordion. Then others started to contribute their own traditional songs, sung a cappella. There was plenty of wine and later pasta al forno that the band had ordered for us.

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We ate, talked, drank, sung and above all danced, danced and danced until exhaustion. It was a beautiful artistic and human exchange between the people of the village that hosts us and their musical heritage on the one hand; and on the other hand the heritage of all of our artists from around Europe. A perfect lesson for all of us about sharing, heritage and the joy of culture.

 

 

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DAY 0. The Groups Are Here!

European Performing Arts, Performing Arts Residency

The groups are finally here and CLASTIC is ready to take off!

It has been a long day of arrivals but finally we are all here. It has been a very long day for all of us. Our artists have arrived in early flights all the way from London, Berlin, Belgrade and by car from France. We have shown them around the space and the hostel and they are all very tired but very happy to be here!

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The organisation team has spent the afternoon around Ivrea and the villages in the Valchiusella valley hanging the posters to promote the final performance taking place on Friday at the ZAC in Ivrea. It was hard work and we lost temporarily one of our members but we managed to make it back safe and sound for dinner.

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We cooked a fantastic Italian welcome dinner in the courtyard for the groups to get some strength for the workshops which start tomorrow with I Patom Theatre.

Finally we begin!

DAY -3. And so it begins

European Performing Arts, Performing Arts Residency

I have just landed in Milan from Madrid and the CLASTIC residency journey begins! During the following week I will be writing updates on the fantastic project that I have been able to bring to life thanks to the co-organisation of Biloura Collective and the funding of the Faculty of Arts & Humanities of University College London.

CLASTIC is an intercultural, interdisciplinary residency of artistic exchange that brings together five performing art groups from five different countries to live, share and create together for a week in the glacial valley of Valchiusella, in the Italian region of Piedmont. Since this year has been designated by the European Commission “2018 European Year of Cultural Heritage” the residency will explore what cultural heritage means in the current historical context when Europe is living through a process of social, political and cultural fragmentation.

I had the idea of CLASTIC last April while taking part in a series of workshops among theatre companies brilliantly organised by Teatro dei Servi Disobbedienti in Poverarte Festival in Bologna, where I did my Erasmus a year ago. I have just graduated in European Social and Political Studies from UCL, a degree with a very international base of students, and I have taken part in performing art workshops in the UK, Italy and Spain so my first thought was to extend this approach to artistic exchange to the European level. Having lived through Brexit and seeing the general rise of nationalism in Europe I thought that an initiative that worked across borders would be a political statement about the future of Europe that I wanted to make.

I found Biloura Collective, who I had met during the Festival, to be the perfect partner for the project. An intercultural, transdisciplinary group which has worked for years in international networks of performing arts, they shared my idea of a European residency of artistic exchange and had the experience and the space to help me organise it.

The 2018 European Year of Cultural Heritage gave us the idea of working around the theme of European heritage in the performing arts. I liked how the initiative presents cultural heritage as a meeting between the past and the future. I therefore wanted to see how the past traditions of the participating groups were re-configured when coming into contact with traditions from different countries, in the present time, out of their birthplace.

This is where the idea of the name “CLASTIC” came about, while having a conversation with my friend Giudi Green, a performer herself, who has also been an immense help to the project.

 Clastic rocks are composed of fragments, or clasts, of pre-existing minerals and rock. A clast is a fragment of geological detritus, chunks and smaller grains of rock broken off other rocks by physical weathering. Clastic rocks are formed over time through a process of sedimentation in which the fragments in suspension solidify due to the external forces acting on the fluid in which they move.

The idea is to make CLASTIC Residency (which incidentally takes place in the Moraine Amphitheatre of Ivrea) just one of these external forces. A force that brings together a diversity of fragments of past European heritages and identities and binds them into new, solid communities of artistic creation that can persist through time.