What is your dream? How does your dream relate to yourself, your life, your family, your city, country, the world? The Brazilian director Renato Rocha, together with artists living in Budapest, was in pursuit of these questions in the frame of a one week long interdisciplinary workshop.
“In the description of the open call was written that it will be an interdisciplinary workshop. This was what draw my attention as some of my projects concentrate on interdisciplinary performing arts, as well. It seemed a very good opportunity to get an inside view into a similar work in progress, get to know artists with common interests, see how does another artist/director start a work like this, and also take part in the creative process” says Mónika, a professional opera singer. She was one of the eight participants of Renato Rocha’s workshop entitled ‘I Have a Dream’, which actually started from the zero, having no concept shared, and no points of reference. From the first meeting the “blank page” suddenly started to gain shape, forms and colors.
From our side as organizers at Bakelit, the biggest question was who will come to a workshop which doesn’t dispose anything concrete, and additionally who has 4 hours per day during a whole week for an event whose character is quite ambiguous. Patrycja Rup who currently works as a curator, having the aim to connect Hungarian and Polish artists, needed some positive impulses, an inspirational project with new people and new environment. “When I saw the topic „I Have a Dream“, I said Yes, this is what I need at the moment. Renato is creating this kind of friendly and safe atmosphere which helps all of us relax and contribute. It was really surprising for me that I didn’t have any restrictions. I really liked the group from the very beginning. We shared a lot of energy, it was really easy-going and open. I think this is the first time when without knowing anyone from the group I felt comfortable. It was a good choice to come here. As a curator I need new inspirations all the time, and from time to time I need to change my environment as well“.
But let’s return to Mónika’s question: how does this kind of open and collective project start? Does the first step originate from the director or from the participants? “On the first day when we had our introductions, we had to bring something, an object, some text, music, anything. I brought a poem but I didn’t have any intention to work with it, but he said that I should. Fruzsina for instance said only one sentence: “I’m afraid of the future”. So he grabbed it and made an entire list out of it. And now I’m reading her list, which by the time became a collective list of fears, including the fears of all of us” says Bori, volunteer in drama and theatre pedagogy, former student of art history. We might claim that the first inputs arrived from the participants, and one of their sentences or ideas grounded the process of the workshop from the very beginning.
It might be called some kind of provocation that Nikita describes as an act of grabbing everyone out of their comfort zones, in order to feel vulnerable and express themselves in the way they never did before. Renato creates these conditions and circumstances which help participants open up. “The task is to rise up to the challenge”, adds Urvi, dancer from India. She approaches the same idea of provocation from a totally different perspective, saying that “I’ve been doing a lot of improvisation, and compared to these, Renato’s workshop appeals more to a closed improvisation. But I’m not saying this in a negative way. It is a specified improvisation. I’ve already been given a brief that I have to use movement and find something animalistic. So the conditions are given to me. I think he is provocative in the meaning that he demands something specific from you and whether or not you thought of it or you can do it, he will push you to do it.”
Additionally some other questions regarding the hierarchy between participants and the director also arose. Where does the structure of an open workshop originate from? What are the rights of participants, and what is the role of the director in such case? Urvi, who is a contemporary dancer from India shared with us the following reflections: “I was intrigued to begin with ‘I Have A Dream’ and interested in what the others wanted with it too. For me the idea of dreams that he took was too reductive, too obvious. And in that, we weren’t really given space to explore it. As soon as we introduced ourselves, he picked sentences or ideas that HE liked and assumed those were either our dreams or the only thing interesting about us. For the next few days, we had already been essentialised – ‘the girl with a military dance’ (I am not very personally even connected to it at the moment) or ‘the girl with fears’… Are these really dreams?”
And how would this project look like if it were a month or two months long work in progress? – ask the participants in a chorus.
Renato Rocha (BR): I Have a Dream / multidisciplinary workshop realized in the frame of Be SpectACTive / 16-20 April, 2018
Read Nikita Khellat’s own reflections & video of the work in progress presentation here.