Parade, Pilgrimage, Passage: Walking on Water From Rijeka to Aomori

PSi Fluid States released its members to contemplate and participate in these local places, these crevices of culture, these non-scripted interactions between visitors and citizens and place. PSi and other similar organizations most often must set up a meeting-driven theme, a willing institution, and then make sure that the place, theme, and system of conferencing is inclusive and broadly defined in order to include a wide range of people and their contributions. While this works, very often the conference’s place and local populations become “neutralized” or even erased in the high concentration of diverse events. Ironically, this inclusive internationalization can homogenize our differences. Fluid States, from its inception, opened the flood gates, and asked us to dig into a particular fluid state, to focus on a singular geography, to concentrate on specific inhabitants and their performances, and to generate an event that would propel our performative research further than we could imagine. These local “performances of unknowing” were to arise from deep knowing and became the multiple driving forces of Fluid States events.

In this essay I will describe several “moving” events that were the outcomes of the dare to perform the unknowing through radical concentration on a specific fluid state. Each of these events was based on local place and populations but mixed strangers, visitors, and locals into encounters with the unknown. I am not suggesting that these events could only happen in the year of PSi Fluid States, but I don’t think PSi members, or the local populations, would have experimented in these kinds of physical immersive experiences with the local without the conditions of the Fluid States’ focused place/event mandate. Further, these events shared the attributes that all Fluid states sites depended on: local collaboration and stranger/inhabitant ensemble production.

This is a critical travelogue that passes between states and places and performance events on the Rijeka, Croatia Breakwater, the PSi Tohoku pilgrimage event to Osore-zan (Mt. Osore), and the vessel performance passage “rite” of “Pacific Passages” between the fluid states of the Cook Islands and the Tohoku region functioned as performances of knowing and making places. This is about a parade, a pilgrimage, and a passage across oceans and coasts, through immersive choreographies invested in the deep seated placeness of geography and its inhabitants in time: Geochronic performative events.

I highlight particularly pleasurable and unexpected events, along with reading the crisscrossing journeys with Said’s often stated orientalist turn and Homi Bhabha’s densely packed “other”-ing. The way is studded with stops, on purpose to make the voyage look back upon itself. I also use different forms of writing to match the photo album effect: description, provocations, theories, saturated melodramatic impressions, and verse. Diverse writing opens up the view to the panoramic.

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