The first days of the project were characterized by a constant research on the alchemy of emotions, concept evaluation and a steady expressive follow up. The whole group was introduced to an improvisation per task system and forced to get deeper involvement into topic. Later their took what was created during first days of the project and constructed that into main performance, which became a puzzle of all of the participants experiences, emotions, wishes and fears.
Performance day was very exciting to each and for all at the same time. Finally they’ve had to show what was created during this short, but extremely productive period. And it went just magically. This small and cozy theater was full, people where clapping and natural discussion on the racism and discrimination topic started. So it can be said, that they really made an impact.
And finally, after intense period, time for reflection and relaxation came. So for the last day all this artistic bunch packed their backpacks, said good bye to Kaunas and went to explore Lithuania capital – Vilnius. It was time for side seeing, talking, planning future meetings, hugging, drinking coffee in the Lithuanian autumn sun and just reflecting about time spent in the camp.
Moving on the ledge of actuarial performance, two interventions were carried out by racism theory experts. A deep connection between spoken word and racism was bridged. Jan first, and Jurate in a following session, took flight over the conceptual world of racism landing on the importance of art as social device to contrast the hatred. The group followed carefully as Jan gave anecdotes about his personal experience with discrimination. A couple days later they where involved in a role-playing afternoon introduced by Jurate that made them rethink their lives in the cloth of a fictitious character and what comes of it of change in their points of view.
General coach Gildas also asked them to look for a news articles that resembled their inner experience about discrimination and racism, helping to bring out their inner critical spirit. In change they were to give him a piece of work sprouting from those emotions that they had kept inside of them for a long time. The results were wrote down, designed and followed up by daily work in light of what they had learned in the precedent days.
At the same time one of the coaches – Aistis, invited all participants to divide into groups, spread in the city and make a short video interviews with the locals. Asking them some really confronting questions such as “Are you a racist?”, that made all participants to step from their comfort zone, also it helped them get into local people minds and hear their thoughts about this uncomfortable topic.
And finally there was Laura. The girl with the camera, who was responsible for media part of all this project. Together with her, those people, who already had some insight view what racism is and what locals think about it, created short video teaser about the projects, about the upcoming performance, about the racism and about foreigners in Kaunas landscape.
The first morning schedule began as early as 10 AM. Everybody was given a brief glimpse of the project, camp and the disciplines/work that would have animated the upcoming days.
The second half of the day was devoted to one of the two anti-racism theory sessions with the intervention of Jan Bahal, a theory of anti-racism disciple, at the end of which, a discrepancy between semantic intention and semantic symbol was delved out of ambiguity in the context of the racist vocabulary.
They were left no more idle hence, instead they were involved into the active discovery of the physical measures, weights, smells and the sounds that the spaces of the “Kaunas Cultural Centre of Various Nations“ presented to them. By night a jam session was also in plan where the group had a fist impact acquaintance. And that was just the first day. Afterwards hard but inspiring work followed. Young talents worked and spent together long hours just to share their experiences and skills, crystallize ideas and built this performance that would transfer this project idea to local community and make an actual impact to them.
Preparing improvisation performances on racism topic
Improvisation, lack of time, bold contraptions of imagination were only some of the challenges propedeutically thrown upon the senses, the minds and the reflexes of the newborn group in a way that its members, constantly provoked to hear and recollect into their thoughts, were faced with an emerging perception of the surroundings and of their own proprioception, devised to compose a working performative formula and subsequently asked to stage its result.
Susanna led the physical awakening, minding every little and big part of the body, in a quest for the natural emergence of the movement in strict correlation with the most enshadowed emotional globes, while Max played, between the other instruments, a piano, a guitar and his own body clapping, scratching, squeezing and touching their surfaces in the most various way in attempt to peek a little light hole through the individual emotion connecting it to its performative expression.
Seventh of September, full moon night. Eight variegated Italian young artists meet at a quite bus stop in the center of Florence. Seventh of September, eight lively young artists more, after leaving their hometown, Cologne, reach them in Kaunas, Lithuania, where local young artists greats them all. It is the starting of the third edition of the Roots’n’Routes , “I Care” project. Topic: Racism and discrimination. Performing, dancing, acting and musical composition, along with smiling and improvising were just a pinch of the creative skills involved. All this people where brought together with main task: to create a performance about this relevant topic, which will be presented to Kaunas citizens in Kaunas chamber theater.
After the respectively long trips the tired bunch were introduced to their hotel in the center of Kaunas where they carried their various backgrounds, aversions and cravings, led through the town by their brand new peer to peer coaches. Late in the following morning another long journey was in channel for them.
We as EWOCA family spent a nice afternoon in El Palmar on Saturday, the 5th of August 2017.
There we drove to the beach us to cool down. The water was pleasantly warm and we had a lot of fun together. Then we drove with a boat out on the lake to look at the sunset. The name of the lake is Albufera.
The captain told us about the rice fields and the lake. The lake had 30,000 ha before 25,000 ha had been cultivated for rice fields and on 2,000 ha, roads and buildings have been built. The lake is connected to the Mediterranean Sea and consists of mixed sweet and salty water. The captain then told us when the rice fields were dry and when they were harvested. We also visited the last original Barraca, a traditional old house, made of clay, straw and bamboo.
The third day started with a big teambuilding game. We cooperated with each other and coped with all the tasks. We shouted a video with local people saying “Yes, we camp”. We studied to count from 1 to 10 in three languages: German, Italian and Russian. We also created costumes from natural materials and made a team photo with the emblem of EWOCA. The finniest moment was when we were to brush each other teeth standing in a circle.
Still, it is only the beginning. During the second part of the day we had peer-to-peer tours in the Minsk. Different tours for people with different interests – that’s the key to success. Look how it was!
After 12 pm we… made one girl cry. Why? It was a great birthday surprise! EWOCA creates unforgettable memories =-)