CRAFTING THE REAL curated by Kai Tuchmann

Fri Apr 19 2024 at 04:30 pm to 06:30 pm

Goethe-Institut Boston | Boston

Goethe-Institut Boston
Publisher/HostGoethe-Institut Boston
Multi-media Performances investigate Forms and Politics of the Documentary in the Interplay of Theatre, Music, Film and Digital Art
About this Event

A collaboration with the LUDICS SEMINAR of the Mahindra Humanities Center at Harvard University
Through the act of crafting, artists transform real incidents into the forms of performance, composition, film or computational arts. The act of crafting records these real incidents, but at the same time it also manipulates them according to the inner logics of these aesthetic forms. This gathering assembles differently situated practices of crafting from different artistic disciplines and from across different geographical places. By so doing, it seeks to explore which protocols inform practices of crafting and which scenarios of learning (and unlearning) of craftsmanship artists (and their audiences) have to undergo. Who owns the standards of craftsmanship? How does crafting the real game with our understanding of past, present and future? How could (and should) one game with the very idea of craftsmanship itself? Why is the dilettante not automatically a revolutionary?
A two-day gathering connects the academic and artist communities of the Cambridge and Boston areas with international artists and scholars working with and/or on documentary arts. The methodology of this gathering is rooted in artistic practices: It will unpack the relationship between artistic form and real materials (e.g., biographies, historical documents, personal stories, etc.) through a series of staged readings, concerts and lecture performances. All presentations are conducted by artists or artist-scholars and are deeply informed by the application of either dramatic, cinematic, compositional or informatic craftsmanship. In extensive Q&As, as well as in panels following these artistic presentations, this two-day gathering will set out to understand, assemble, and critique the potentials, pitfalls and limits of craftsmanship.

DAY1: Friday, April 19 @ Goethe-Institut Boston
4:30pm Opening Remarks
Welcome and Introduction by the Goethe Institute, the Ludics Seminar and Citizen TALES Commons
4:45- 6:00pm The Stinking Nose: Towards a Culinary Theater of the Real?
Lecture Performance by Brandon Woolf and Q&A
In this performance-lecture, Brandon Woolf and his collaborators Leonie Bell and Matt Korahais will present material from their upcoming work The Stinking Nose, in which a German, a Jew, and a Greek who can’t smell host a dinner-performance for the audience staring garlic, for better and for worse. On the one hand, this household allium has a tragic history: since at least the Middle Ages, it has been grossly misappropriated by antisemites and other bigots as a stand-in for Jews, migrating peoples, and underclasses around the globe. On the other hand, it is a beacon of resistance and fortitude both in our kitchens and out in the wild. Garlic has many enemies, and its only choice is to stand and fight, Allicin and aroma its most useful weapons. With the garlic as our guide, we discuss and discurse early Austrian rhinoplasties, what we know about what the nose knows, Freud's own penchant for sniffing over seeing, pickled codes of solidarity, and of course, how to make a Sunday sauce. Take a deep breath and tell us what you smell.

6:15-7:30pm Dramatizing Real Conflicts
Staged Readings from Siting Yang`s Play Sky of Darkness in Collaboration with Citizen TALES Commons, followed by Q&A
Sky of Darkness is a documentary adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s classic novella Heart of Darkness—it recontextualizes the 19th century British imperial story through the lens of a modern-day Chinese pilot in West Africa. Sky of Darkness features investigatory, documentary methodologies that might seem unusual in literary adaptations. The plot is interwoven with verbatim interviews, and the story also features polyphonic discourses assembled from news in Chinese and Western media, popular Chinese social media where heated discussions on African issues take place, academic research on Chinese infrastructure investments in Africa and the racial issues they bring about, as well as lectures and articles by post-colonial critics including Chinua Achebe himself. Sky of Darkness extracts its plotline from Conrad’s novella. However, it replaces the time and space with a contemporary one: the sailor-narrator Marlow becomes a Chinese pilot Ma-Luo, who works for CATIC, a state-owned enterprise that exports military aircrafts to African countries. At the same time, it introduces the Nigerian novelist, Chinua Achebe, as a ghost figure that frames the narrative with his African point of view, challenges the protagonist with questions of ethics, race, history. Sky of Darkness explores a series of questions in the racial aspect of socioeconomics, geo-politics, and cultural production: What does colonialism and imperialism look like in our time, in the Third World? We are all too familiar with the discourse of post-colonial critiques, but what do we make of our culpable selves when we are part of the totalizing blueprint of colonialism?

8.00pm – 9:00pm Music as Documentation
Codes of Absence – A Documentary Concert by Christancho, Tilli, and Tuchmann and Q&A
Codes of Absence brings musician Nico Yurgaki on stage and takes us with him on a personal vigil, that has its point of departure in Nico´s experiences of migrating into the EU from Colombia. These experiences were often dominated by feelings of saudade and the absence of loved ones. So during the performance, he invites his mother, Bertha Ouinthero, who founded the first female Salsa Ensemble in Colombia, to improvise live music with him -by using the technology of an Internet call. During these improvisations, they emerge on an intimate conversation that discusses topics like motherhood, rebellion against patriarchy, masculinity, love - and the feeling of absence in a seemingly globally connected world. The structure of their musical improvisations is grounded in the concept of the five Claves (translated into English as Codes) in Colombian/Pacific and Caribbean music. These five codes are rhythmic patterns that are present in many music pieces played in Columbia. They have come into existence through hundreds of years of interweaving different musical cultures across the Latin/Afro/Caribbean realm. Thus turning these patterns into a symbol for the unstableness of identity- and its transgression.


Event Venue & Nearby Stays

Goethe-Institut Boston, 170 Beacon Street, Boston, United States


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