Disruptions in the Ordinary

This is a very quick post on thoughts bubbling around my mind following the amazing #thepassion last weekend – a three day secular reconstructed tale of the Passion, told by over 2000 performers/participants, that wove its way through the community and spaces of Port Talbot in Wales. I didn’t set out to – I didn’t even know about it before that weekend, but it seeped into my twitter feed not through agressive ‘amplification’ driven by any kind of ‘strategy’ (scare quotes ‘r’ us), but by the sheer force of people desperate to share. Desperate to share what, by all reports, was a life-changing and affirming piece of theatre. People tweeting, or posting on the Guardian’s review of it talked about the healing of a community, the putting to rest of bad dreams and memories, that it was ‘spectacular’, ‘breath-taking’, that it re-connected them with ‘the awe of humanity’ (comments here).

Truly radical theatre, I might term it.

If I had the time, this would be a proper blog post. As it is, it’s the fragments, images, quotes, ideas, that might have gone into something I could have spent some thought on. Maybe I’ll come back and fill in the gaps at some point.

“We live at a time when people increasingly express the feeling that the world outside our windows is a dangerous and fragmented place. Once upon a time people walked through the city and it gave them a chance to name places and make contact with each other. […] humans need to mark their lives against real space and other people. When they cease to walk, the real spaces become less plausible then than the centralized reality of the media and are increasingly witnessed as a passing blur from a car window.” – Graeme Miller quoted in a piece by Carl Lavery on Linked

Many handsthree hands, all helping him
(image posted with the kind permission of @angsy)

“Playfulness, disruption, gifts left for strangers, the sharing of visions, intelligent flash-mobbing, provocations at the tipping points of cities, making a scene so the city performs itself, misguided tours, wireless on-line technology – combining phone, movie, digital design, camera, editing desk and ipod – sending routes, signs and stories in waves across spreading networks of uncontrollable walking, maps of atmospheres and basins of attraction, and festivals celebrating the reflections in windows and the glints in pedestrians’ eyes – […] extraordinary changes will begin with disruptions in the ordinary.” – A Manifesto for a New Walking Culture Wrights and Sites

A tweet from @alexanderkelly about #thepassionIt was a triumph of optimism. And make no mistake,

“Optimism is a political act. Entrenched interests use despair, confusion and apathy to prevent change. They encourage modes of thinking which lead us to believe that problems are insolvable, that nothing we do can matter, that the issue is too complex to present even the opportunity for change. It is a long-standing political art to sow the seeds of mistrust between those you would rule over: as Machiavelli said, tyrants do not care if they are hated, so long as those under them do not love one another. Cynicism is often seen as a rebellious attitude in Western popular culture, but, in reality, cynicism in average people is the attitude exactly most likely to conform to the desires of the powerful – cynicism is obedience.” Excerpt from this post by Alex Steffen

And finally, the images, the ideas, resonated with the image linked below, of a moment in the Stokescroft ‘riot’ – where a collection of community-minded squatters in Bristol were extremely heavy-handedly evicted. An amazing photo.

This photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jonathantaphouse/5643052154/in/photostream/

(not reproduced here because it’s not CC)

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