Εν αρχή ην ο Λόγος, και ο Λόγος ην προς τον Θεόν, και Θεός ην ο Λόγος./
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
( John 1:1)
I wish I could take language
And heal the words that were the wounds you have no name for.
“Transcendental encounters of the text” is a workshop that attempts to explore the application of spiritual and ritualistic practices to performance making, with the utopic objective to identify methodologies that lead to the creation of performances that are structural and functional spiritual chiropractics and rituals, with the text as a rite of passage.
Using the text as a rite of passage reveals its innate potential to be an utterance that constitutes an act of transcendental value not just for the art of performance making and live art but for the human experience and growth in general, and that there are applicable consequences for contemporary western culture and everyday life in terms of social encounter and experience, leading to the emergence of cultural restorative collective realities of humanly human social encounters, towards expansion of critical thought, meaningful social experience and emotional concinnity through spiritual connections.
As a performer I ask myself : how do I make the body a pure channel for the text, a space where the text can vibrate its true meaning , where, as a performer I do not simply transmit the text but I become the text? And a second question: By becoming the text how do I invite the audience to join me in a communion of the text?
In spiritual healing work, affirmations and prayers are being used as a successful active healing intervention. Sivananda, in his book Mantras: Words of Power says :
The uttering of words creates vibrations, which in turn produce a transformation in our reality.
A prayer starts in the lips, with intention and will and effort. Then, when repeated during a period of time, in rhythm and with gentle concentration, it slowly by slowly, starts sinking in the heart and every fiber of our being. This process allows us to shut the door to our mind and ego and let the prayer speak out its divine intention. When we become the prayer, we are fully present and fully connected to the divine forces, our heart is full with golden light and angelic energy. This process changes everything inside us and in the world. Thomas of Celano when writing about St Francis of Assisi he says:
…in his whole being he was not so much as a person who said prayers, as one who he himself was transformed into a prayer.
The experiential exercises during the workshop will not offer you a new way to re-invent the text. This is a way that the text will re-invent you. It is more the text will offer you a new way to exist. A new quality of being. You become your own solution. Holbrook Jackson, in his book The reading of books, explains:
Books properly understood and used should co-ordinate the experience of reader and writer, producing harmony out of two assertive forces, that of an author who says in effect “I am” and of a reader who says , less consciously but nor less effectively “I become” ! But the reader does not become the author he becomes himself.
Flusser perceives a written text as an unfinished business. He declares that this, which completes the existence of the text, goes beyond the writing of the text and includes its delivery to the reader, the act of someone reading it.
In text-based performance there is a duality, which interferes with the nature of this delivery, a double reading, a double interpretation: that of the performer and that of the audience. This duality puts the performer in the position of a mediator between text and audience. This mediation is a far more complex one than the mere transmission of the text from the paper to the audience/reader. And it becomes even more complex because of the difficulty to answer a question such as: Which is the true meaning of the text and how do I make this meaning public? Geertz, in The Interpretation of Cultures, portrays this complexity very accurately by saying that the interpretation of the text does not take us to the heart of the meaning of the text but rather to the heart of the interpretation itself. Thus the relationship between text-performer-audience is a structural investigation of the nature of the relationship itself. Thus, by becoming the text, the performer becomes part of the solution to the problem of the meaning of the text, which is a manifestation of the meaning of the relationship between performer and the audience, which in its turn is a manifestation of the meaning of the performer´s existence. I am inspired by Augosto Boals phrasing :