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

Parade: DREAMLAND or ZOOMING on the Breakwater

In Rijeka, on its signature breakwater, we became a serial event, a long parade of participants, waiting, watching, and doing at each fluid states site. We shared the problem that we had films and projections to share, but these filmic events could only be seen in flickers because of the long sunlit evening on the breakwater.


First, we listened, because Santorini was going to be a listening site, a Greek island full of planetary rumbling. We listed to a radio commercial for perfume. It was a tale of irony and capitalism.


Then we saw a dance that would never be danced: our Lebanon fluid state became too difficult after Rijeka, but here the dance flashed blue and gold between the water and the sun.


We played games with the Philippines’ fluid states group. We ran, jumped, pushed, shoved, and blew on our bright green whistles. Who won?

Rijeka’s breakwater is a solitary wall and walkway, concrete over old giant stones.

We walked in slow motion, in unison with the butoh dancer creating a long parade in the slow sunset. Unison movement enforces a visual and kinaesthetic unity, walking slowly in patterns forward and backward and slow seeing at the waters’ edge. We moved together. We came to the wall of butoh, where only a ghost light of the dance figures could be seen on the rocky wall. BUT, Hayato Kosuge called out to us, conjuring the images into life: “I am sure you can see the figure of Hijikata Tatsumi on the stone. There he is! Watch him and Ohno Kazuo as I tell you their stories.” We all looked at the flickering wall and saw just what Kosuge wanted us to see: butoh heroes of the past, present day performers, broken fragments of his butoh research, flashing by in the not-yet darkness. But, Kosuge reminded us that in Tohoku, these seen-and-unseen spirits abound. The Serbian group made a classroom from giant chalkboards leaning against the wall. They wrote and danced statistics of the dead, the politics of ongoing ethnic troubles and the underlying tremble of fear adds up before us. We see how capitalism fails again and again to cover its tracks. There is a vocabulary for terror.

There was a boat for the Sisters from the Nordic Fluid States, to bring you on board for their new school. The boat was lit up with pink light, or was it blue? It was a saturated techno-color film to watch. Then the diver from the deep blue of the deepest Pacific dove into the dark bay with just himself. Does he always think: this might be the last or is there always one more deep blue dive?

We have come a long way on the jetty, where it tapers to a narrow ending. THEN WE SEE HIM: Lit in blue, we see Mick, glowing in the dark. He wears a space suit and swimming goggles with their own lights beaming from some far off outer space place. We scooped up the salt we had brought form around the world, from other seas, and scooped and scooped and tossed the treasures of the sea back into the sea.


We were hypnotized and hungry, when we turned to the sound of the Maori calls, the chants that enchant the seas, that speak to the earth, sky, water. We did not have to worry. We entered a wooden Stonehenge: with structures that kept us in a devout and reverential circle. Standing in our own constellation, we gazed up at the now deep black sky, shot with stars. The breakwater was our island of unknowing. The spokesperson said that we would find our way home, easily, by marking the lines between stars, the angles of our breath, the fine-tuning of our vision. We would find our way home in any kind of vastness or darkness.

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