BOW: post from the field #3: September 22, 2015

BOW: post from the field #3: September 22, 2015

| from Calgary, thinking about rules

It’s easy to break the rules, especially when they are invisible. Conflict has surfaced in Calgary because we broke unseen rules regarding where we are permitted to create art. During the first stage of the process in Calgary, we rehearsed and taught freely on the pebbled shore of the Bow River near Edworthy Park. We felt part of the community; people were curious about, and welcoming to, our site-specific research. During this second stage, we are adapting the work to a site on and near the Peace Bridge. Though permits and insurance have been issued for the second site, of the two places, it’s much more dangerous. Last night Anne, Wojciech, Melissa and I sat on the rocky shore there, watching the river claim the bit of safe beach where we hoped to dance.

The intersection of bureaucracy and dance reminds me of a story dancer/farmer Min Tanaka told me about the time he was arrested in France for, “moving too slowly in a public place”. It’s permissible to walk, ride a bike, run, or jog across the Peace Bridge, but if one wishes to dance there (and invite people to witness this) we’ve been told one must apply for a permit 30 days in advance. Meanwhile, most of contemporary human culture has forgotten the agreements with the Bow River, with water and the rest of the Nature. But the river has not forgotten. She continues to welcome people and tries to provide for us and all other life forms, even when people have so horribly broken the agreements we had with her. 

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