Harmless Things

17 January 2008

Talking to Ong Keng Sen about Vietnam and Cambodia. He describes the flood of exiles/emigres returning in recent times to the former especially, somehow trying to recreate the lives they’ve lived elsewhere. He describes their presence in the captial and elsewhere (their bars and cafes, their arts scene, their.. ) as in some way as like scar tissue. New tissue whose very presence reflects damage, and which although it sticks out, is still in the first instance, a part of the same body. Layer after layer he says. Old scar and new scar, untouched skin and altered skin as metaphors for the change in a country.


Talking to Eva Meyer Keller and Alexandra Bachzetsis about play doctors. That strange feeling that overtakes you sometimes – when watching other people’s work – that you could fix it. An effect of the distance and the space for fantasy I am sure.

Eva also sent me images from a new project she’s doing in collaboration with Sybille Müller. The piece will involve a small group of kids working together to create versions of catastrophes – floods, hurricanes, explosions and more – using household materials. Looks like it will turn into a very smart piece – a more epic sequel perhaps to her brilliant Death Is Certain. Here’s a quote from her talking about that earlier piece:

“I’m just handling/ using harmless things, that everyone has at home in the kitchen or in their toolbox… Things you find in the supermarket… Everybody knows how it feels to have a knife, a hair dryer or an iron in their hand. At the same time, I’m not trying to recreate a kitchen on stage at all. It’s more that I invite these objects into the theatre and let them stand for what they signify. Throughout the performance they gain or change their… characteristics….. In the mind they might become torture tools… “