Pina

Pina

I have always been an admirer of the work of German choreographer Pina Bausch. Wim Wenders was always going to make a film with her but Bausch suddenly died in 2009 before filming could have started.

Wenders had been looking for decades for the format or medium in which he could fully convey what Bausch had to offer with her quirky and uniquely expressive blend of dance, movement and theatre. Finally 3D arrived and became developed beyond what an original prototype could have delivered and with it the right medium for the film has also arrived, one that would allow Wenders to tear down the ‘invisible wall’ between dancers and viewers that normal film presents.

It took 2 years for the film maker and the 40 or so dancers of Bausch’s company to render the choreographer’s work onto 3D film and the result is simply amazing. In fact this is the first ever art film, including dance, to be presented in 3D and it suits beautifully and without gimmicks. You get the raw (barely) mediated material.

‘Pina’ the film premiered at the Berlin Film Festival a few months ago and last Sunday it also premiered at the Opera House in Sydney where it was the closing night film of the German Film Festival.

I was mesmerised by the richness of the experience, one that truly probed into the depth of human experience and has done so mostly without words, which is an integral part of Bausch’s philosophy. She worked for decades with dancers to establish a new language of movement and theatre that reached beyond the usual aesthetics and athletics of dance (she doesn’t use ‘average’ body types and dancers dance themselves), interrogated the authentic human experience of the hand picked dance artists of the company and distilled it all into a form that grapples with the elementary aspects of our shared humanity.

The film is mostly dance-movement-theatre but there are also snippets of Pina Bausch in her studio and the dancers reveal in short clips some of their deepest connections to Pina, to her work and through both of them to the world and themselves. Wenders has achieved a wonderful combination of letting the work speak for itself while also giving extra snippets of information from the depth of the dancers’ own experience in order to illuminate the whole, especially for newcomers.

It was filmed in and around Wupperthal where the company was based and populates the most amazing scenes with expression, movement and meaning, from mines to industrial landscapes to forests to a stage filled with water.

‘Pina’ not only honours an amazing artist but gifts viewers with an astonishing artistic experience. Because of the new 3D cinematic infrastructure this film should be able to get at least a limited release and it is worth seeing by all who want to contemplate and ponder our shared human condition and to those willing to venture into a new unique territory that rewards as much as it challenges.

This Guardian video reveals a lot about the film and is a wonderful intro. I highly recommend it!

Funny sign language

Love this clip and so had to share it!

Even if you don’t speak any sign language (yes, each geographical area has its own version!) this is very enjoyable and gives you a window into the deaf world.

Once saw a sign language interpreter at a comedy night at Woodford, she was funnier than the comedians and got a standing ovation.

I only learnt Auslan for a year, that is the Australian sign language, but can really appreciate the work of interpreters and sign language teachers especially..

Future of psychedelics at Evolver

Future of psychedelics at Evolver

Evolver is a global social networking group with local ‘spores’ and monthly topics. Smart, switched-on, progressive people drive the self-organising local groups who meet up once a month to discuss topics from polyamory to dreaming to hyper-localisation to organic farming.

Evolver

I got involved when I was invited last month to talk to the Sydney group about polyamory. It went down beautifully.

This month I turned up to discuss the future of psychedelics. We had two expert guests, one via a video link-up from Mullum, Rak Rasam, who discussed where current psychedelic movements are going and took some deliciously complex questions from the group. The other was an ayahuasca community leader who was there to relay info about local activities and chat about this wonderful sounding South-American psychedelic plant that’s used for ritual healing.

More info on this plant and its uses here: Ayahuasca.com

It is wonderful to open your mind to new ideas and find such a lovely group of progressive smart people locally to have lovely discussions with… next month’s topic is dreaming. Get involved, come along and hook up! :)

If you aren’t in Sydney, perhaps you want to start a local Evolver spore in your city.

Some basic things I learnt on the night (and some I already knew):

* There is a serious psychedelic revival happening in the West, semi-underground. While we are waiting for official research to catch up, these groups just go on doing their thing, which is a blend of traditional tribal knowledge and new agey ideas channeled through a progressive liberal outlook and small-scale self-evolving groups

* psychedelics are a wonderful way of exploring your own consciousness and pushing this exploration into new territories

* there are lots of wonderfully engaged, adventurous individuals out there who are more than happy to share their experiences and ideas

* ayahuasca is a South-American plant with strong psychedelic properties, it is used in shamanic rituals, traditional tribal and neo-shamanic both, in order to explore, discover, open your mind, inspire and most interestingly help you heal yourself on a psychic, spiritual, psychological, emotional level. Ayahuasca contains DMT which is a bit of a scary sounding substance.

* psychedelics are just as illegal as they have been for several decades, but 1) fortunately this doesn’t stop individuals from obtaining them for personal use and benefiting from their various wonderful qualities and 2) there are some promising signs, even if they are few, that official psychedelic research might make a slow come-back

* there are many more sociological, anthropological, philosophical, psychological etc insights to be had relating both to psychedelics, people who use them today and new neo-shamanic movements that combine their use with traditional ways of exploring yourself and the world, and constantly fermenting new ideas on how this can be connected to our modern lives today

* I’m ready for some new adventures in my life! ;)

yoga

yoga

Came home completely blissed out from a heavy yoga class and wanted to finally write about it!

Been practicing yoga on-off for 15 years, probably about just over half of that time very actively. After many years wandering between various hatha places and doing ki yoga at home I have found my way back to the original place I started out: Synergy yoga.

It’s a wonderful ashtanga style practice with a unique vinyasa-flow. The emphasis is both on breathing/meditation and proper alignment and posture. There are 5 sequences in each year, each going for 9 weeks. I mainly attend open classes and absolutely love being reconnected so powerfully with my mind and body. These days I don’t have an active dance practice so yoga makes up for this too.

I now attend the Bondi classes and get so much out of it!! Pretty much everything improves with yoga: stress goes down, breathing gets better, joints feel good, mood lifts, mind gets anchored, muscles get stronger… it’s like an inside-out rejuvenation! After each practice I feel grounded and uplifted and I’m grateful for what my body can give me.

I know many of you do yoga already, but I can’t recommend it strongly enough, especially if you struggle with chronic conditions like I do which rule out lots of other types of practice. Let me know if you want to come along, always happy to introduce more friends to yoga :)