ITF 2nd Theatre Seminar: The Body in Space
Duration: 02:32:22; Aspect Ratio: 1.778:1; Hue: 15.538; Saturation: 0.154; Lightness: 0.233; Volume: 0.244; Cuts per Minute: 0.138; Words per Minute: 114.722
The 2nd national seminar held by the India Theatre Forum
intended to address the overall theme of "Spaces of Theatre, Spaces for Theatre" in a wider and holistic manner. It was held between 14 to 18 March 2012 in Ninasam, an extremely special theatre space in Heggodu village of Karnataka which has served as a community centre for over 50 years. The seminar intended to cover a gamut of related topics ranging from the relationship of performing "bodies" to space, to the actual physical spaces of performance, to the politics of the spaces in society , to the new virtual spaces opening up and to the future of Spaces. In other words, the seminar built on the understanding that the act of theatre is always more than simply an act of theatre. To think of theatre and its processes is, ipso facto, to think of its temporal and spatial specificities. However, the main approach of the seminar was not to develop an academic theory of the spaces of/for theatre but to sketch the contours of a "spaciology" of theatre as perceived by its practitioners.
Transcribed by Preethi Athreya and Nisha Vasudevan.
Ninasam, Heggodu, Karnataka
Okay friends, welcome to the first session, symposium session (inaudible). We're supposed to have three speakers, three presenters. Veenapani Chawla, Shankar (inaudible) and Preethi Athreya. As for the latest headlines, Veenapani has just reached her hotel. She's had a long road journey and she must be changing and getting ready to come here
So we have jiggled around the presentations so will begin with Preethi Athreya, followed by Shankar and then Veenapani. And I think we have quite a bit of time, almost 2 and three quarters of an hour. One is requesting each speaker to limit their presentation to 20-25 minutes so that there is sometime for everybody to pitch in and share ideas.
it's interesting also that along with such a matured (sic) and experienced performer like Veenapani we have leading young practitioners in stage and contemporary dance who have been complicating the new sort of work rising up in India through a very interesting range of mixed disciplines from spoken word to the dancing body to very very interesting mis-en-scene and lights and most extraordinary stage technology and so on.
So it will be interesting to see what they will have to say about the idea of Bodies in Space. Normally whenever the issue of space comes up, I have been fond of quoting a poem from Pablo Neruda, one of my favourite poets and one of my favourite Neruda poems that I like very much. It's called, "I'm Explaining A Few Things", and at the end he says...addressing the sort of abstract or imaginary questioner, the questioner who is asking the poet that why aren't you talking about beautiful mountains and volcanoes and trees and birds?
So he says, "And you will ask, where are those lovely trees and mountains of your native land? Come and see the blood in the streets. Come and see the blood in the streets! Come and see the blood in the streets." And straight away you get presented two very very interesting spaces for the creative soul. Space that is extremely graceful, rich, replete with metaphors and meaning and fantasy.
The space of nature, the space of organic life, and another space that is dark and dangerous and violent and cruel. A space that Sudhan will talk about in his opening. Violent space of the city. And artists obviously have to deal with these. One artist that I worked and collaborated with, Chandralekha, one of India's very contemporary dancers, classical dance who moved away and created some very exemplary new work...
Has written about a very interesting experience she went through, many people in the audience may be aware of it, but just for the sake of the context - in her very first debut performance, or her Arangethram, she had just learnt from a very great master, and the master was presenting her with a very special (inaudible) in Chennai, at the opening performance.
Fantastic audience, some great musicians, dancers in the audience. And the performance had been built as a charity relief perfo
Which goes something like Mathura Nagare Lo, it's a celebratory song addressing the joy of the citizens of Mathura, the city of which Krishna is the king, and Krishna has gone away and is about to return. And the joy of the citizens of Mathura at the thought of the return of Krishna, and they are going about their daily chores, going to the Yamuna river, fetching water, sprinkling water, cleaning the streets...
Praying with water, sprinkling water at each other, etc. And she started performing that number - and it was very sensuous and graceful, it goes very slowly, it is a very special item from the Balasaraswati repertoire from that school, it's an Abhinaya piece. And as she was doing it, suddenly a thought struck her - "What am I doing, why am I performing this? Because the occasion for which I am performing, the water famine, which is lack of water, and here I am showing on stage an abundance of water."
The sheer contradiction and the sheer irreconcilability of these two worlds struck her. And as she has written and spoken about in many forums - for a moment, she froze. Nobody probably noticed in the audience, but her guru who was sitting on the side and conducting the performance noticed this and later asked, "What happened to you?
And she answered, "I didn't have any clear explanation to describe what exactly happened to me. At that moment, suddenly a thought struck me, this dichotomy between life and art, and the memory in my mind of the photographs I'd seen that morning of parched earth and people standing in long queues with tins in hand for water, etc etc."
But much later, about 20 years later when she was actually thinking and writing about it, she articulated it as a 'split in her body'. And I think this is a very interesting and important split that most performance artists go through. The split between experience and performance, between art and life, between reality and fantasy.
And it's...these splits sort of manifest themselves in various ways and in the kind of choices we make as artists and the choices that we want to work with. Axshara said in the morning, "One is born into a location and that location somehow takes over and constructs and constricts and reinforces a certain set of paradigms in whatever we do.
So in the world of performance, obviously, one is dealing also with the notion of arenas. While the idea of social performativity has now become very questionable and everything is performative, I'm being performative, you're being performative, everybody is performative. While has that become fashionable, there is something about an arena where performance happens, because arena immediately constructs the notion of an inclusion and an exclusion.
And I think these begin to play very very interesting roles and dynamics. Ian McIntosh who is kind of projecting the idea of "uttam (inaudible)" that is ideal performance space. In fact in it's very construction, it's mentioned in the architecture that you must have four pillars for the stage. And the four pillars should have four varnas. The four colours of the four castes should be integrated into that space.
So it's interesting this idea of inclusion was thought about and how it was activated and actualised. Now whether we survive in history, whether other things come and overlay, whether other discourses happen, those are matters of history. But I think theatre practitioners need to think about it. Welcome Veenapani, come to the front, please.
We've decided to give you the last slot so you can relax a bit. First Preethi Athreya and then Shankar then you.
So, this whole issue then becomes very very crucial to figure out whether there is this extremely demarcated zone of an arena where everything is fixed. That is the performer, this is the audience. Or whether these boundaries can be fuzzy. And I think it is upto then performers to decide what kind of work they want to do. Whether you want to public (inaudible) those boundaries, whether you want to intermix the two spaces and so on.
When I think today is a cliche of theater work around the world, first beginning with (Inaudible) and with (inaudible) and then with (inaudible), where you break this idea of space. The performer enters the audience and then it becomes too cliched, everybody does it very easily without actually contesting or challenging any of the space. It has just become an idea that's got absorbed in the mainstream in a particular way, a spectacular way.
So this exercise needs to be engaged in with a different perspective, and the perspective is simply this: What kind of hegemony does a space suggest? And this includes the space of the body. Is the body in space, or the space that is represented in the body going to articulated as a hegemonising principle, or as a more open-ended, more inclusive kind of principle?
That becomes a very crucial question to engage with. Once again one of the points that Sudhan will raise is the idea of the (inaudible), the idea of the interim, the idea of the in-between, the idea of the liminal space. All this begins to play a very special role in the questions that theatre practitioners need to ask today.
Particularly when we're going to overlay the concerns of performance onto the concerns of what kind of structure we need to have. If there has to be the house of our own for performance, then does that house allow this possibility of breaking those boundaries, of creating liminality, of creating those very interesting transitions from moments of consumption to moments of activation. I think it's an important agenda to place on board, it's an important agenda for artists to think of, of theatre workers to think of, for performers to think of, for architects to think of.
Is there that kind of an architecture possible where you can have a school without walls. Is it possible to have a theatre without walls, or without a stage and so and so forth, a multiplicity of possibilities. Now often it is problematic that you hear this phrase, "the multipurpose space". And this multipurpose space is a really characterless being which doesn't have any spine and is useless for everything.
You can use it for multipurpose but it is actually a useless space. So how to creatively evolve a space that can figure out many of these problematics (sic) is an agenda that we need to engage with. The other is a predicament that all of us have been facing in theatre for the past 150 years. The predicament of locating the native or the indigenous body in a extremely westernised (inaudible) space that comes inbuilt with the premises of (inaudible) perspectivism.
And that is completely entrenched in the Indian performance scene. The (inaudible) idea of perspective simply did not exist about 150 years ago and suddenly we are forced to engage with it and today it has become the theatre practice because (inaudible). Everybody else imitates it because that's bourgeois and that is comfortable and that is rich and therefore that rich has value and that sets standards.
Everything, this will be called a cowshed. So our idea of a theatre of a particular kind and it's a hegemonized idea and we're not able to free ourselves from that idea.
So, I think these are some of the preoccupations that this symposium will be dealing with and as far as the idea of the body in space is concerned I think it was Plutarch who quoted Plato as having said that "God has geometrized everything" and it's fascinating that many of the older forms that you find, of performative forms in India...
Come with this inbuild intensity and content of geometries. Of bodily geometries. And these geometries have this certain way of speaking on specific spaces. Spaces that are non-defined as theatre but have a sacred site, a more community site, have a more secular site and so on. The moment you put them on stage space, on (inaudible) space, something seems to happen to these geometries.
The geometries will begin to go awry, they don't work with the access provided by the Cartation/Cartasian (?) perspective of (inaudible). So that is something we really need to engage with and I think Plato had even put this little board outside his academy which said, "Let nobody enter here who does not know geometry."
So I think this seminar can also begin with this. Let nobody come forward who does not know his or her geometry. And I certainly know for a fact that Preethi Athreya knows her geometry, so welcome her to come and open the innings for us. And we will wait for all the presentations before the question-answer begins.
Thank you for having me here. I come from the area of dance, but I think there are some shared concerns with theatre as well, and I'll share them with you. This presentation has three parts to it, in the first part I'd like to discuss with you the concept of the body as the fundamental space of theatre itself. The second part, (inaudible) said there is no such thing as the neutral body. There is no such thing as the neutral space. The third part looks at the context in India for various kinds of dance that exist, how the forms actually play on the body, what are the spaces they create, and what are the questions these spaces throw up for us.
So I start with part one. I quote from the book The Poetics of Space by Gaston Bachelard - "Often we think we know ourselves in time, when actually we know ourselves in space. A series of spaces that the body inhabits. Everytime we try to evoke a memory from the past, it is invariably dependent on the space in which the action took place.
The last bench in class, the crouch under the staircase, the huddle at the table. It is is the same with performance. It is impossible to remember a performance without the memory of the space in which it took place. How close were you to the action, what was the angle of your view, what was the light that was falling, etc. As a result, we are forced to remember the positions and attitudes that our own body took while watching a show. This participative view is imperative in any discussion on the notion of space through the body of the performer.
As a fundamental premise, the body of the performer is the primary space in theater. In the Natya Shastram, the construction of the performance space is designed using the human body as units of measurement. Starting with Anu, or the atom, there are measures based on Angula (finger), Hasta (Hand), Pada (Foot). The physical space of the theatre was a micromodel of the cosmos, each deity had a demarcated space, cardinal directions were identified in the centre of the stage, the centre of the universe.
Offerings were made to the space as though to a deity in a temple. The only difference being in regarding the performance itself as a sacred entity. As Kapila Vatsyanan points out, the Natya Shastram makes some basic assumptions about form as that which is manifest and unmanifest at the same time.
The body of the performer and it's relation to not just the space around but also the cosmos is explained beautifully in the Katha Upanishad, which says, "As the one fire has entered the world and becomes corresponding in form to every form, so the one inner soul of all things is corresponding in form to every form and yet is outside." By this, the text draws a very strong relation between body and space as entities that are actually connected by intention, by intellect and by the senses.
In effect, if I'm standing before you with a table between us then this table has many of the characteristics which make up you and me and the reverse as well. It is not inanimate. Related to this is the concept of embodiment as mentioned in choreological study, the study of dance has embodied performative art based on the insights of Rudolph Laban, a German expressionist dancer-theorist.
One of the key concepts of choreological study - embodiment fuses movement, the performer and the spectator. As all participants in the event. The body part of embodiment is much more than physical muscle bone and skin that carry motion. The moving body is a visible aspect of space, and space is a hidden aspect of movement.
And a body moves from point A to point B, we can watch the way the body moves and we can also watch what happens to the space as the body moves from point A to point B.
This story depends on the way the body moves - weight, flow, gravity, time, etc. Embodiment goes onto say that the body is not just a passive surface that can be socially or politically described, nor is it a natural phenomenon essentially constituted or preceding cultural conditioning. The body is an inter-subjective identity in the making. The moment you encounter a body on stage, you implicate yourself in the way you respond to it.
So when you say that the body is the primary space of theatre, we're talking about our own bodies as well as that of the performer.
The second premise this paper makes is that there is no such thing as a neutral body. When a body is presented on stage in performance, the way people look at it is affected by a series of learnt assumptions about art. Assumptions concerning things like beauty, truth, genius, form, culture, gender, history, taste, etc. Now these assumptions cannot always accord with the world as it changes.
For example in the middle ages when men believed in the physical existence of hell, the sight of fire must have meant something entirely different than what it means today. Similarly with a performing body on stage, you are looking through many lenses when we receive the image. Starting with the tangible image of the body itself, we perceive the male body with a very different attitude from the way we receive a female body.
To quote John Berger in his book Ways of Seeing, according to usage and conventions which are at last being questioned but are by no means being overcome, the social presence of a woman is different in kind than that of a man. A man's presence is dependent on the promise of power which he embodies. A man's presence suggests what he is capable of doing to you or for you. By contrast, a woman's presence expresses her own attitude to herself, and defines what can and cannot be done to her. And so she comes to consider the surveyor and the surveyed within her, as the two constituent yet always distinct elements of her identity as a woman.
I would like to share with you two video clips of two exceptional dancers. The late Kelucharan Mohapatra, a true master of the classical dance form of Odissi, and (inaudible) one of the pioneer performers and choreographers of German expressionist dance. We'll start with Kelubabu's video. Now Kelucharan Mohapatra, for those who don't know, I don't think there's any body who doesn't know him. But he was born in 1926 at a time when India was still under colonial rule. The reason this is important is the pressure that classical dancers now face as ambassadors of Indian culture in the national movement and so on.
For him, dance was a form of prayer meant to inspire and elevate. A great part of his learning was from paintings and pattachitras as opposed to learning which today quite often happens through video documentation. Kelubabu's dance form is one based on mime and characterisation where that which is not physically present is summoned to the stage by the force of the performer's visualisation. The clip that we're out to view is that of him playing Radha in the GeetaGovinda where she awaits Krishna's arrival.
rmance in aid of this particular district in Andhra Pradesh which was experiencing water famine, drought. Rayalaseema Water Relief Fund that was being raised, and she was performing for that. and there was a particular item she chose to perform that afternoon.
That was just a clip that I wanted to show, you can view the full thing later on if you wish to. May I have some light, please?
So going back to this little clip, already, we are constantly aware of the 'male-ness' of the presence of Kelucharan Mohapatra, without doubt. The way he relates to his own body even as he executes an intimately feminine gesture. There's an item in his form because he chose to derive his impulse from paintings and pattachitras rather than practice around them.
He does not play at being Radha, but we believe in this Radha. As a male dancer, he dominates the stage with an outward presence that demands the viewer's attention to his physicality. Clearly this reinvention of Odissi was as much a revolution as Rukmini Devi's reinvention of Bharatnatyam, or Chandralekha's reinvention of the concept of time on stage.
The newness of it is relative to time and the space of the practice, as it was developed since then. Sussanne Linke was in contrast bombed in 1944 in Germany near the end of WWII, she headed the legacy of Ausdrucktanz or expressionist dance in Germany, a post war expression marked by a violent response to beauty, truth, any kind of all-embracing notions of a brand-narrative. In direct contrast to what we just saw now.
Sussane Linke's dance is founded on that which is tangible, present, non-mysterious. It brings to the fore the quality of the body, which presents no narrative other than itself. The clip which you're about to view of hers is a solo called Im Bade wannen, made in 1980, where she dances with a bathtub, her most famous choreographic work.
She shows us a woman in an everyday situation, namely in her bathroom, where she is confronted with her own bathtub and her own TV (?).
So in contrast, the last video clip, Sussane Linke's presence is very introspective. Her form is directed at the play of tension, balance and control between her and the bathtub. Seemingly everyday gestures become stylised in a way that brings you back to yourself and takes you out to another dimension.
As a female performer, she turns the viewer's gaze by turning her own gaze from her body to her action of displacing the body in the bathtub. In other words, she makes you look at her body in order for you to look past it. Im Bade wannen was created in 1980, it was revolutionizing at the time as it was a major step in unifying the heritage from German pre-war Ausdrucktanz to contemporary German dance theatre and her own signature statement,
Today, in the post-modern dance scene with its apathy for anything dancerly, Im Bade wannen is a classic with a distinctly different value than what it had in 1980. So there is no such thing as a neutral body on the stage. Even before the dancing begins, the body speaks its story, which is read by the body that watches in a time and manner that also have parallel stories. From these stories of the body and the neutrality, we briefly look at how we relate to the body when we approach performance today...
In the Indian context of dance. As far as practice goes, there is a booming industry of cine dance, there is a body of classical dance practice in performance and teaching. There is folk dance, in ritual and community-based expression. There is social dance such as Bollywood, Salsa, Hip hop, etc. And there is for want of a better word, contemporary dance or the dance of resistance, deviation, subversion.
As seen in the work of pioneers like Uday Shankar, Narendra Sharma, Chandralekha, when form is used to problematize perception, each of these spaces (inaudible) a different value to the body and as far as cine dance go, it is true that it has a professional space where dancers respond to a call sheet with a fixed payment. To their credit, cine dancers are open to learning any technique.
To their disadvantage, they have no control over the image of their body that the public consumes. We all have a clear image of the body in cine dance as it exists today. It is important to remember though that when avant-garde dancer Udesh Shankar brought his dancers to cinema, it was a revolution for dance itself.
The question for us today is whether we must turn to the space of film as the only available space for the creation of dance, given the lack of infrastructural support, if so, how then can we treat the space intelligently? In the case of classical dance, we are looking at a large body of practice that has developed since the national movement and therefore fairly recent as a history.
Although the movement was made to bring the dance out of temple and court onto the stage space, we need to question the practice today as a secular space. Because we revere the sentiments evoked through the dance, often spiritual sentiments, there is a tendency to regard the dancer as some kind of divine accomplice. And the dance itself as a holy act above criticism.
The question is whether we can articulate the tools which are necessary to avoid making the practice a museum piece fit only for international ambassadorial services. It is interesting to consider at this point that dance has not made the same strides that visual arts in India have made in the last 50 years.
The concept of folk dance is something that developed alongside the categorisation of the classical during the national movement. Some art forms got the status of classical and some...the classical got greater patronage and the others came to be classified as folk. When we look at the folk arts in our country, it is easy to see the way the form has developed purely with local regional participation and patronage.
The play of cast politics is also what makes it what it is, for example, Thapattam, drum dancing in parts of South India, is performed by dancers at temple ceremonies, births, and deaths. Although the dancer is not allowed to enter the temple, he leads the procession. His energy is explosive and unapologetic.
It forms a part of the whole and herein lies the subversion of this space. Social dances like salsa and hip hop are equally important for discussion on space and body as they have increasingly become visible in the media and society. While there are societies that do not confuse a broadway musical with the opera, we are unfortunately in a society that slaps these things together with no evidence of understanding form and function.
For example, a leading newspaper used to carry a column that said learn contemporary dance in 8 easy steps. Or learn modern dance in 8 easy steps. Perhaps there was no one to tell them that contemporary dance is not a universal form, nor is it a social dance form. Perhaps they did not consider that Rukmini Devi created the first modern dance of India.
Perhaps it was only natural that there has been and continues to exist a dance of resistance as exemplified in the works of Chandralekha in Chennai as it does in other parts of the country. This alternate dance scene is quite definitely underground if one was to look for the resistance in it. The resistance to Coke, KFC, Starbucks as much as the resistance to our own country's way of commodifying the body through culture and nationality.
When the revolution comes to power it is no longer the revolution, and therefore, I ask you that this underground space is not one that is held by the same practice or practitioners but rather it is a space that is created in response to the way the world shapes itself. Thank you, I'll leave you with this.
Thank you Preethi, for being absolutely concise and (inaudible).
Hello, I'm from Shankar, I'm from Kerala, I'm a theatre director. I'll start my session with a few improvisations with which I'll try and connect some ideas of space and body and of the symbiotic relationship between them. When I think about space and body, the first thnk that comes to my mind is the temple in Chidambaram. Chidambaram is a town towards the east coast of Tamil Nadu.
It's one of the most striking examples of theatre architecture. Because of its semblance to the human body. According to the Shaivam (inaudible), a Shiva temple has to have 5 (inaudible) which encloses the sanctum sanctorum. In Yogashastra the body is seen as the composite of 5 different sheets or the layers of experience.
Starting with the (?) that is the material part. Then the Pranamayaposha, the vital body. The third is the Manomayaposha, the body, the layer of mind or imagination or whatever you can call it. The fourth is the body which holds intellect, the Vignyanamayaposha. And the fifth is the body that holds experience, Anandamayaposha.
The temple has got 5 ragas or walls out of which the 4 outer walls open to the sky whereas the inner one, the sanctum, is enclosed. The roof of this sanctum is made out of 26,000 golden tiles. Now that is the number of breaths that a human body breathes in a day. And it is fixed using 72,000 names, which is the number of vital channels or naris (?)that are present in our bodies.
In the temple the Supreme dancer Nataraja, is, he dances, by the way, Chidamabaram - the etymology of the word comes from chit, mind, consciousness. And ambaram is space. So Chidambaram is space of consciousness. So the deity is there towards the Nataraja, the dancing Lord, the left side is the Shivakamasundari, Parvati the feminine aspect of the God.
The Gopurams, the tower of the temple, are likened to the feet of a human body lying on its back with the toes pointing to the sky. I once went to this temple and after my darshan I came out, and an elderly man asked me, "Did you see the rahasyam?", meaning "Did you see the secret of the temple?"
I was bewildered, what was the secret, is there a secret in the temple, so I asked him and the priest - no, the elderly man told me you have to and ask the priest. So I went for a second Darshan, I went inside the temple and he asked me, "What is the secret of this temple?"
Then the priest asked me to wait for like an hour, my curiousity was building, and then he summoned me to look through a small window which is meshed. And then inside, the priest went inside and unveiled a curtain. And beyond that curtain is an empty space which has golden leaves as curtains and teasers, and beyond that you couldn't see anything.
It is also interesting to know that the sanctum is an unlit space inside the temple. The only light that they have is the lamps they use for the Aaradhana and prayers and all. And this empty space was really a striking moment for me. And the priest came and told me, "You have to imagine the Lord in your mind, and visualise him dancing." And with my actor's training and training in imagination, I could do it little bit with my own experience.
But it was a very profound moment. I have read Peter Brook's Empty Space as a student of direction, but this one moment seemed to make a lot more sense to me, that the dancing, the priest asking me to imagine me looking through the door. It was something very profound.
What is most interesting is that, again, like a human body, our heart is towards our left side. The sanctum of the temple is placed slightly to the left in the entire architecture. And the dark space, the empty dark space seems to...make the resonance with me, where you have to fill that wit your imagination.
And the empty space is where the Aakash Linga, or the Sky Linga is placed. There are many other relationships with the space, the number of pillars are likened to the number of Vedas, there are some halls where you can find the number of Puranas, so it's all to do with the body, and the space is a representation of the body.
My second improvisation is to do with an excercise with Harishnam Tumbha, he made us do this in a workshop in Bombay. He wanted the actors to close, blindfold their eyes and he would put a mark on the other side of the wall. One has to go and touch the spot. Everyone tried, everyone failed, and Tumbha used to, you know, he put on his blindfold and he would directly touch the middle of the spot.
Again, when you blindfold, the emptiness that comes to your eyes, somehow it relates to me as the empty space that we see in the temple of Chidambaram. Recently I had a very interesting experience, I was asked to shift rooms from one guest house to another and I was (inaudible) all day. I checked into the room around ten o clock, I was tired and I went to bed. In the middle of the night, I woke up to go to the toilet.
And I was terrified because I didn't have a map of that room in my mind. I started banging into furniture. Eventually I hit a wall and I started looking for switches. I found a switch and then again, it was a blackout that time. I was terrified to go into the toilet because again is is a labyrinth kind of a structure, so I did what I wanted to do through the window.
So again, that map of a space in one's mind, I think is a you know, is of some significance. So three improvisations are over, one is the Chidambaram - the empty space in the temple, the secret. The other is Tumbha's exercise is going and touching the spot on the other side of the wall with eyes blindfolded, and the third one is entering a new space.
Connecting all these things, I also had an experience of a blind musician, I don't remember his name. When I was studying in drama school, there was a flute player who was blind, extremely blind, he could only see like 10 %. So he was playing music on the third floor of the hostel and it was late in the evening. We finished our music, whatever things were going on, and we came down. On the way down, the stairs, there was a blackout again.
But it was amazing that we were all stuck, we couldn't move, but the musician, he could walk down the stairs and he was standing by the scooter, you know, on which he was brought to the hostel. So it is something to do with the inner representation of the space and the outer representation of the space. And how one relates those two things.
Let me just digress a bit and go into the various - I'm actually doing a seemingly (inaudible) improvisation and I hope to make some sense out of it, yeah? So the next one is...the various modes of performance, the various modes of behaviour nd how that was you know related to space.
I always start working with my actors by giving them this idea of relating themselves with the character and then, self - character - actor, that's the trajectory that I always suggest that they take. So in order to define oneself, I give them an example of you sitting inside the room with your doors locked from inside.
So that is the...that easily helps us to define ourselves. Where there is nobody in the room, and it is locked from inside. This state of mind is probably the source of all impulses and energies to act. But we don't want to see this state on stage because I wouldn't go pay money to watch somebody on stage. I want to see some kind of a transformation. The moment you open the door and come out, you start to play multiple selves in daily life. i PLAY director in front of my actors, I play student in front of my teachers, I play son in front of my parents, I play husband in front of my wife and so on.
So the moment we come out and start interacting with people, the space changes. Our nature of behaviour changes. So if we can classify these modes of behaviours roughly, not theoretically, but for the sake of understanding the nature of performance. There are like 5-6- various modes that we can discern.
The third mode of behaviour would be a man standing and talking to a crowd. Like Sadanand pointed out, it's performance, I am performing. So here again, you know, we...it's a different mode of behaviour, it's different from me in a room with doors locked from inside, it's different from me playing student, me playing the director, me playing husband or whatever.
The third mode is, you are performing for a group of people. Which can be athletics, a musician, a stand up comic, an oration, all these are performance of that mode. So that you clearly demark a space, a space of performance which where there is an audience, there is a performer.
Here again you are not transforming your sense of self. You're still yourself. I am Shankar, addressing the crowd. The next level of behaviour would be something like an iconic representation where...on a Republic Day parade, I am on a float, wearing Gandhi glasses, I have shaved, I will have cloth, I will be standing in a tableau.
So it appears to be Gandhi for outsiders, we relate that to Gandhi, but the person who is playing that role doesn't transform himself. He is still himself, inconically representing a character, for example Einstein, if you're playing Einstein in a play of Robert Wilson on the beach. There is no character work, there is no transformation of the inner self.
Then comes a level of behaviour where one starts to imitate physical attributes and characteristics, like many of the actors do that. What they do is bascially if I want to make fun of Akshara, I'll observe him for a while, I will take some of his mannerisms, I'll look at his walk, I'll adapt all those things and for some comic effect I might crack a joke and show Akshara.
If applied in the right moment it would seem as good acting but at wrong places that might you know seem as failed, miserable acting. So that is one form of behaviour. Here again what you're not doing is, you're not transforming yourself. You're still you imitating Akshara. The next level is acting in character, playing roles. This is a liminal space where in today's evening you will find actos playing, for example, an actor called Shivashanker is playing (inaudible).
Is Shivashanker Sorin (?), so let's take a better example. Lawrence of Arabia playing Othello. Is Lawrence Othello?
There is a level where it's not me. That's the space where the character is pitched in performance. So I've started in my room with self, with me. I have come out, I have started playing multiple roles in life, then I've started to perform in front of a crowd. The next day you would be iconically representing a character, a historical character for example.
And then the next one would be, the next one is demonstrating, where I put on the physical attributes and characteristics but I don't transform myself. The next level is playing in character. So Arjun (?) is Macbeth, I have seen a Macbeth photograph of him, but is he Macbeth? No. But at the same time he is not not Macbeth. Now comes the idea of transforming oneself. So until that point, the me is there. But from this point onwards there is the inside...the transformation that happens within the actor.
And the space. A book by a kudiattam maestro, (name) he talks about a transformation problem of the actor. The actor goes and stands near the lamps. He will focus his eyes on the lamp which will allow the pupils to shrink. And at that point a certain darkness falls, and at that point the actor starts to tell himself, (Sanskrit - So Smedhi Manasa Smaran?)
"I am Him". Tell myself that I am him, and that triggers a certain transformation in the actor, and then he starts to believe. He doesn't believe in the physical space anymore, he fills the imagination with a certain other space. So the moment (name) becomes a Ravana, the space transforms for him as Lanka, and he is in Lanka, he believes in the truth and that's when he makes us feel that this is Lanka. So that is the process of transformation which happens in a kudiattam actor.
And this transformation happens only when the actor changes his sense of space around him. So when he is on stage, he forgets that it is a stage. He imposes, applies a certain imaginary attributes to the space which allow him to transform. If you take the example of a No actor. No, which is the traditional theatre of Japan.
The actor wears a mask and he has 5-6 layers of costume on top of his body. His toes will be covered. Only his hand, and a small hole that connects that mask - you don't get to see the eyes like this, all you get to see is a small round hole - the same way, the actor just gets a sense of a circle of the external space.
So, the actor doesn't believe that he is in a no space. Whatever that is there, he transforms, he re-assigns meaning to the pillars, the kootambaram. Like the relationship between the lamb and the actor is what it is all about and the rest is imagined in the actor.
Now,in the process of transformation, what the actor actually does is, he embodies the writer's imagination. He embodies the character's mind. His own mind adds to it, and by virtue of performance, he strikes the attention of the audience and involves their imagination into the act of performance. Whereby, he unifies the various imaginations in space.
So you have the author's imagination, the actor's imagination, the character's imagination and the imagination of the audience. Which all brings together a certain charge to the space where minds are brought together. And then, the space becomes something different, the actor is able to transform the space, from a theatre into something else.
So these are the various improvisations that I have to relate the symbiotic relationship between the space and the actor. For me it has always been the secret, like Chidambaram's secret of what this relationship between space and actor is. It's transformatory, it's fluid, it doesn't have one relationship, there are multiple relationships and meaning attached to it.
There are certain wonderful explorations of space that I have seen, for example, iconic representation where i have seen Prodessor Ramachandran of the school of drama students going as a funeral procession - they were doing a street play. And disrupting a republic day parade. This is a use of space which kind of shakes up something.
Like I have seen (inaudible) literally showing, making me feel that this is not theatre, this is not a performance space.
Today evening you'll see a production of (inaudible), I've worked with the actors too, used sound spaces to perform. So they can perform the play, they can perform the play outside, they can perform the play anywhere else and make sense of the space and show the play. So that was one treatment that I was trying for this Seagull (?) production.
My previous production, Elephant project, I had an actor who was 148 centimetres tall. And she was playing an elephant. And my concept was - initial design concept was to have this concept in the quarry, like a rock quarry. Somewhere in the jungle where the entire rock is carves out and we see a small figure. So...which could not be possible in performance, so what we did to create that kind of a scale we used fireworks and you know, things to create that dynamic of space.
I have rehearsed in interesting spaces and found the dynamics for the actor. My first play, Quick Death, which I did in 2007, we rehearsed in Delhi in a space called APJ Media Gallery which was...which had glass on all four sides, which had a revolving door which never let any air circulation pass through. There was no air conditioning and we were rehearsing during the month of May. So it was like, the moment we used to go into that space we used to freeze water in the fridge and take it.
The moment we'd go into the rehearsal space, the water would melt and it would be hot, and we'll be finishing the water by 12:00, we'd be all stuck, the actors wearing 3-piece suits, they'd be squeezing sweat out of it. But that dynamics helped that play a lot in terms of finding the exertion the actor brings to the performance.
Space is basically where the actor makes the imagination crescent. He makes imagination tangible for the audience, and i think that's the secret art of the form. Thank you.
Thank you very much. No such thing as a neutral body. (Inaudible) Next we have Veenapani from Adishakti in Pondicherry.
Space and the Actor.
Space, time and light are 3 pre-occupations (inaudible). For they are ways of knowing and interpreting reality. And as far as the artist is concerned, these are are central to (inaudible) expression.
In general, mystics agree that objective spacial reality is not the only valid reality. That the subjective reality of the in-here space is as valid as the out-there objective space. They also agree that space is fluid. That there is no sharp dividing line between the in-here space and the out-there space.
One can float from one to the other or be in both simultaneously, existing in the objective reality and subjective reality and giving both a quality of the in-here space.
(inaudible) Bindu, a contemporary mystic explains this philosophically when he says, "Space and time are names for the self-extension of one reality. They are fundamental conditions of the spirit itself which assume different appearances or status according to the status of our consciousness and even different movements of time and space within each status."
In the early 20th century, Einstein's concepts of the relativity of spacetime violated common sense and everyday notions of this. And Gertrude Stein's devastated descriptions of our hometown, "There is no there there" could apply to the condition of space at the speed of light.
There is no there because it is all here. We have to imagine that all the points in space along the path of observation occupy the same space simultaneously. This view of reality came to be expressed for the first time when Cubism fractured objects and re-arranged them so that visually their front, back, sides, bottom could be seen by viewer simultaneously rather than sequentially.
We come now to theatre. Is there such a parallel vision of space in theatre today? (Inaudible), which the contemporary mystic physicist and visual artist (inaudible).
In South Asia, there co-exist two different notions of aesthetic space. One notion perceives it as an objective three dimensional extent which is the objective container of actors, events, (inaudible), etc.
Carrying objects, relating them, giving them distance, etc. The other notion comes from traditional theatre and it recognises three kinds of spaces. There is the inner, psychological space of the performer. The external, real space which she shares with the audience. And a larger, cosmic space. And all these spaces are fluid without sharp dividing lines between them, anticipating the aesthetic of "here-ness".
In kudiyattam performance, the performer expresses her inner psychological space through Mukh Abhinay. She reinforces this expression through (inaudible) and netra-abhinaya, recognising the necessity of communicating to the objective space shared with the spectator. And her Vachika fills and communicates with cosmic space. Let is try to demystify this third space.
In one of my earliest experiences in Kerala, I attended a flag hoisting ceremony at a temple. The flag pole rested on a sculpted tortoise. And the flag at the other end carried a bell. Material space was connected to etheric space by sound.
And sound is said to be the substratum of space. It is said to have created space, whether through a mystic sound, or through a big bang. Space is extent. Sound is pervasive. The third cosmic space of the kudiyattam performer reflects precisely this idea that sound creates it's own space through pervasiveness.
My work at the theatre can be divided into two phases. In the first phase I can view theatre as the performance of a literary text. A text which has an aesthetic existence independent of it's performance. in the second, I believed theatre could be anything and everything so long as we recognised that we could be nothing without the primacy of the live presence of the performer.
Inherent in those two positions were two different aesthetics of space I mentioned. In the first phase, text was a determinant with regard to space. It needed a defined look. It needed to be situated. This gave primary focus to space as an objective container of the text. For it accomodated the action and behaviour demanded by the text.
It was its existence feat. When however, I started giving primacy to the live presence to the actor above all other elements in the theatre, then my use and understanding of space changed. It needs a little evaporation (?).
The performer acquires primacy when she cultivates a qualitatively different presence from that which she has in daily life. A presence which has an enhanced energy and an enhanced consciousness.
And enhanced energy emerges from the honing of her physical instrumentality. For a focus only on the body as a performance tool at the most enables the performer to have a sensorial impact. During the period of my work when text was the primary element of theatre, I did employ at times, an enhanced physical behaviour for the performance. But my aesthetic of space remained unchanged.
The performer's behaviour in relation to the given three-dimensional objective space was determined by the needs of the text and her behaviour of the movement at the most modified as the space around her such that it yielded greater significance.
So apart from honing her physical instrumentality the performer must also expand the peripheries of her consciousness. Energy becomes consciousness when it moves from the physical to the psychological realm. And so the actor must expand her inner focus progressively to increase her inner awareness.
This is not done so that the performer can bring a kind of (inaudible) psychologism to her performance but because is enables her to bring a concentrated multi-layered simultaneity of consciousness to her performance. A quality of "here-ness"
For indeed we have multiple difference consciousnesses or spaces within us. Each having a different quality and degree of subtlety and often pulling in different directions. We conveniently cover all these spaces under the blanket of mind to provide a cohesion or homogeneity to these different movements within us. And we flow from one space to the other like water, and sometimes, like water, are in all spaces simultaneously, but in a haze.
The conscious energized performer would through a daily practice of self-observation bring to her performance a concentrated consciousness of her multiple inner spaces as well as and as much as to her external space, the body. An outcome of this process of self-witnessing and one relevant to the theme of today is that the performer get experiential evidence of the many spaces and times that she occupies.
It informs her that her reality is not only that of the logic of the external and sensorial world. And that she is the container of realities, the space which can express all things. She is space which reflects her inner space and conditions. She becomes the space on which the dramatic expression occurs. She is the space and the text, and under these circumstances, the external circum-ambient space becomes a tool to extend her inner intentions and conditions.
For example, when the kudiyattam performer through her gestural behaviour and her eyes describes an imaginary tree or suggests a distance she needs to walk, the circum-ambient space transforms to accommodate these suggestions and then goes back to sheer neutrality. Because presence is the one reality in theatre, which imparts reality to other elements, the external space itself becomes fluid, and becomes whatever is demanded of it. It is not fixed.
The notion of space as something logical or continuous gives way to something more fluid, which can reflect then many different realities in an aesthetic of here-ness. Apart from transforming the circum-ambient space the performer's body can also image concepts, ideas and other realities which can then be sensuously experienced by the spectator.
In other words, it can create visual metaphors. And the metaphor itself reflects a here-ness. It is a spacial way of knowing, as distinct from a temporary way of knowing. Because it can be apprehended an all-at-once manner (?).
Many adishakti productions have opened with visual metaphors in the (inaudible). The performer is contained in a small box or square of light and his behaviour within it, images the dilemma of Hamlet, caught in the box of his mind, the main flavour of which is doubt, the essential quality of the reasoning mind.
However, manifesting this particular visual metaphor would not have been possible without the play of light. And although the live performer has primacy in theatre, there are other signifiers which aid the performer's spacial expression or enable her to extend her intention or even perhaps complicate or (inaudible) it.
And these signifiers can be the word, the light, the music, and perhaps many others we don't know about. In kudiyattam performance, the rhythm which accompanies it extends and fulfills the actors' intention. It is a critical signifier. For example, if with the posture of her body and eyes and gesture, the performer indicates a presence with height in front of here, the music stretches intentionally to provide the oral image of length and height.
If the space of a face reflects and inner turmoil, the music will provide and oral dynamic movement to the turmoil. Indeed the music in this instance provides the temporal element to the space which is the performer. It temporalises or dynamises the space providing it with movement.
Temporalising space however can be achieved by other signifiers as well. In adishakti's (inaudible), there is a scene where Drona is teaching the children. He expresses through the space of his body the temporal processes of knowing as distinct from the spacial process of knowing. And he does this through gestures, eyes, speech rhythms, contempt of word and movements. The oral images by the musicians extend and act to the temporal nature of a thinking mind.
And the light by sequentially lighting up the sectiones of the cirum-ambient space which the character occupies sequentially dynamises it, temporalises it and provides it with additional (inaudible). Talking of light, providing movement, brings to mind the shadow puppet performance tradition of Kerala where the static puppet acquires spacial mobility, because of the mobile (inaudible).
In 2001, Adishakti produced another piece to explore the use of music or rhythm as the prime signifier. Let us record here the traditional view of sound and space as pervasiveness. It is space beyond the visual space of the kudiyattam performer seen through a keyhole vision by the spectator. Its vibration is experienced at a subtle level.
And it is universal in another sense. It is pre-verbal. Let me expand this thought. Like the physical image, rhythm embodies a pre-verbal stage in the process of our coming to grips with reality. When words supplant images and sound, we not only lose contact with a direct and fresh experience of reality, for it begins to be provided to us with indirect agency of the constructed word, but we also acquire cultural specificity.
And as rhythms come out of a more fundamental space within us, they touch a same fundamental space in the spectator. To my mind, this seems to be a way of looking at the way of the universal cosmic space of sound.
A final word about signifiers. All signifiers in theatre exist because they extend the performer's intention and reveal significance. And all reveal meaning in their own unique way such that a dimension or layer is added to the performance, which provides it with different angles or views. And as the angles of view are provided simultaneously and not sequentially, the actor's spacial intention reflects a here-ness.
A last word about space - I would like to reflect also on the space in between. This has been a source of great curiousity to me for some time now. My interest in it was aroused when I explored it from the point of view of the actor's craft. How, for example, did she make the transition from one emotion to another? From one character to another? From one movement to another?
One state to another? What happens in that moment of transition? What occupies it? Recently I had begun to realise that this state of transition of the in-between of liminality is also an interesting aesthetic space. Were we to frame it and focus on it, what would be its implications for an aesthetic of here-ness.
(setting up for discussion session)
Thank you Veenapani. I think you'll all agree that this is an extraordinarily disciplined group of panelists who also spend time and (inaudible).
Thank you very much. (inaudible, general discussion). I'd like to kick off by making an observation. It's an observation, not a question, but you would notice that the concepts that were being dealt with, all in a sense point to a metaphysical understanding of the idea of space. And somehow there seems to be recurring (inaudible), because we have such a huge baggage of these kind of principles and steps and small stories and large stories and the dualities.
It's no longer a binary thing. There's a much broader sense of duality. Which interestingly spans both early conceptual history as we know it through the Upanishads onwards, the texts like Natyashastra, Yogashastra, grammar, the architectural texts which span into greater commentaries and so on. and it continues in our time, so there's a very interesting flow to what can be called a living ambiguity to the idea of borders.
I think there is a great resistance to the idea of great resistance and clear borders. Kabir comes to mind, "Jal mein kumbh kumbh mein paani" and so on. There's a very thing layer, a mud pot that is connecting one with the other and everytime there is a rupture they both mix. However, you know also for a fact that both the conventional societies and contemporary society of India as a subcontinent make a fine art of making these distinctions remain and perpetuating them and increasing the distance between human communities.
And in that sense, very little of theatre has succeeded in penetrating that invisible border almost which prevents the creation of a more secular dynamic, a more articulate practice. A more articulate polemics here. Let's begin by posing the panelists - how would they understand this predicament of being unable to get out of this metaphysical paradigm within each specific law.
Let us say for example, body is not neutral, why is it not?
I think it's very important first of all, the metaphysical position as you put it, it's important to understand it because this notion of saying this form needs this set of things, and this form needs this set of things to survive. This is somehow not related to the concept of anything that can grow within a society.
The arts are coming out of the society because the society needs it. We're all part of the audience as well, as performers on stage. The moment you stop that thing, it's kind of difficult. The value of bringing in this view of body and space is purely because it presents more possibilities.
Not the multiview hall, what is that thing? Not the multipurpose thing, but precisely that every form, architecture is not about the enclosure of the walls but also the actions it witnesses. So it's only by entering into this discussion that you can actually talk about form, you know? I would not see the point of disassociating myself from that unless it brings forth another argument.
It's not about metaphysics. It's about imagination, it's about truth and beliefs, it's about you know, the (inaudible), as Veenapani said, can show you the 14 worlds with the use of ten fingers and two eyes sitting on a stool. It's not metaphysics. It's about imagination and imaginative use of space.
There seems to be some (inaudible) of the use of the word 'metaphysics' here.
I don't think everybody understands the word metaphysics the way it is. The question is are we putting the last word on (inaudible). After kudiyattam is the deluge (?). Of course he respects is form and they are very deep and there is tremendous more to learn. And from a contemporary urban perspective, we don't even know what it is. All that is there, but you are a person who has schooled in both the conventional wisdom of kudiyattam as well as very very modern theatre practices, right? You translate that? Homi Bhabha said, "During the translation (inaudible). How do you retain the two, or how do you separate them?
What is striking about a traditional performance is the command of space which the actor has like you see, when an actor does a gesture, it reveals a command of space that the actor has. Now that is because of certain factors which the contemporary actor doesn't enjoy. The Kudiattam actor is not born into that space, no actor is born into that space, he doesn't have to scale down or scale up a performance.
Whereas the contemporary actor the travel is different, when I travel with (incomprehensible) in six different cities, we had six different performances. We had to scale down the set, scale up the set, slow down the acting, speed up the acting. So eventually what you're trying to get is the same command of space and that is what this presence is all about.
So these forms are references. And it's not deluge after that. We try and make the best of it and work it in our contemporary practice. And when we do that it's not about a set of belief systems. It's not about the lamb and me (?). It's about the audience and angle.
The axis of the performance is different. In kudiattam, the actor moves to the audience and away from the audience. But in most contemporary performance the axis of movement itself is different. And yet what you're trying to capture is that command of space that the actor has.
Metaphysical is a set of beliefs and practices to work with which you really need to be a believer. So for example if you wish to try and read somewhere something that (inaudible). And I suppose that sounds very interesting, I'd like to use it in a play that I'm making etc. There's one kind of relationship than having grown into the belief and its practice and philosophy and interpreting that to a largely non-believer population. So to employ a set of material that you may believe in but the rest don't and therefore you need to translate.
I believe in it because it's experiential. One doesn't talk about belief blindly, lest one knows that there is experiential evidence behind it. In which case, the question of belief is (inaudible). I like the idea of the metaphysical and I like entering into it, but experientially, not necessarily only through that. That's why I'm (inaudible).
Can you take the mic?
(man gets mic)
I'm from Chennai. It's in a way an extension of the observation that Sadanand made. That what I really would like to hear is the dialogue between when Preeti said that the tapattam artist, the drum dancer cannot enter the temple but he has to lead the procession when the drum dance. And you have a Chidambaram Rahasyam. I'm from that region and I know, I don't know how you felt, you would have bent down to look at that as well.
Even if you really wanted to see that Chidambaram Rahasyam. But there are millions and millions of people who aren't allowed into it. And Chidambaram is one temple which has been so exclusive down the ages, but not just in practice of Hinduism as a religion but also in the way that patriarchy is enforced, the way priests in Chidambaram temple function.
Now, my question is, how do we then account for a body which is not allowed to enter that stage? And that really comes from my position, for me it comes from gender and I'm sure there will be a lot of caste inflections which people would would...talk.
Now given that context, when Kellucharan's practice of classical dance comes up, the experience is very different. and though Preeti did not really elaborate it given the timeframe, she did mention how in a very very easy way he was able to project the male body to connote femininity.
Or to bring in the grammar of what is acceptable as legitimate feminity. Now I'm just thinking of the hordes of transgender groups and sex workers who are coming up on stage now. And if you're going to go into it...
It's not just the metaphysics for me. If you're going to think in terms of certain kind of universalism and an abstractness of an actor's body, you're just going to see Xerox copies as far as I'm concerned. Because there are bodies and bodies, and what we're really looking for is a space for all those bodies.
And that is where I think both traditional constraints of bodies occupy a particular space, I'm sorry to use militarist language, but that's how it is, they occupy.
And the contemporary reservations that we have about accepting certain bodies and not really accepting whole-heartedly other bodies, whether or not one is looking at actor or performer or whatever. Just the body, and the way the body performs even when you're here in the audience. I think it needs to be fleshed out in terms of the realities that we face, which is what is really going to construct what I'm going to show in the body -
-that i'm going to present as the dramatic space.
Comment plus a question. Would anybody like to represent or should we receive more questions?
- More questions.
Thank you very much, all three of you, for really exceptionally nuanced and very precise, as Sadanand's pointed out. (Inaudible) but in the way you've choreographed your thoughts, so thank you. And I think there's three very rooted sensibilities which have journeyed in the (inaudible) arts practice of many levels, but they come together through many echoes.
I want to take up the metaphysics. And since Artho has been invoked, it's a beautiful beautiful line by him, "Metaphysics must be made to re-enter our skins". And of course, that's a plea. It seems to me that what Veenapani was saying, that it has already in a sense entered our skins.
If metaphysics did not embodied to use your, Preeti, it would be mumbo jumbo, it would get into the realm of belief, which it's not. It's something more concrete than that, more tangible than that to go back to the word that you ended on. It's something felt, you know, something that transformed you, your hair stands on end, you know?
(Inaudible) in that...so just picking up on some of the words that were being used. But now, and this was a very powerful question, comment raised. I go back to Sadanand Menon, when he raises the issue of hegemonic space, and I think in a sense was what was being invoked there. What is the relationship of metaphysics, of experiencing space, command of space as you would put it, or in any other way...fluidity, etc.
And the fact that space has at some level remained hegemonic. There are rites of entry and there are rites of participation. All of you have invoked very correctly and very precisely and very feelingly temple spaces at some point or the other. In terms of etheric, acoustic, reverberations and Chidambaram and so on.
Now we know, in a country like India that the temple space can be highly exclusionary and very violent. The right that we assume sometimes too easily - I can't assume for example, when I worked on Krishnattam I had to pass as a Hindu, which was very difficult for me. Tripping on my dhoti every night and going past the bodyguards, you know, the Varnapalas.
I won't do that today, because I feel a bit insulted that I, as a non-Hindu cannot enter that space. So there is a hegemony that operates in such spaces. Now I love Krishnattam, I know how much of joy and beauty there is in Krishnattam. Which then takes me back in trying to complicate the argument outside a very strictly political, in a narrow sense of the word, aesthetics.
What happens to space when it gets imagined when it enters this other dimension? Does the hegemony dissolve, at least for those who have entered it? Does hegemony cease to burgeon a kind of practice.
What happens to hegemony in that transformed space when you are talking about it? Either truth among the space, experience, fluidity, or in-between-ness, or whatever.
Can we afford to completely ignore hegemony? I don't believe one can. But how can we make our reading of hegemony a little more subtle and a little more complex instead of using it in a very deterministic kind of way. So how can the aesthetics of politics compel us to rethink certain political norms and platitudes that power - not that they are unimportant - but how can we differentiate them in different spaces?
I'll go back to the question very powerfully raised there, the whole business of Kelubabu appropriating femininity with a certain ease, now there are huge debates around it in performance studies, now we have (inaudible) for example, supporting that kind of decision, with very little knowledge of the tradition. And you have Chandralekha for example saying I don't believe he appropriates my femininity at all.
He makes me feel it more. I said how? She said through the curve of his body. Now that's a very strange answer but it's again a very concrete answer. The curve of the body, it makes me cry, I remember her saying that. So when we are entering a very different kind of vocabulary which is more minute, more textured, and I think how do we find ways of addressing these experiential dimensions without making them sentimental, you know.
Because that's a real trap we want to avoid. I really liked, Veenapani, your insertions of light and sound in the creation of space. I feel we could do more here and I fully agree that the perceptible dimension which Sadanand has pointed out, it doesn't work when you put Kelucharan Mohapatra, that is a horrible documentation which has been presented against that horrible cycle-o-rama forcing his curvilinear body into a two dimensional space.
Whereas in Sussane Linke I think it was handled quite differently and that has to do with another dimension of space which is recorded space. We can't conflict (?) the two. And uh...I had some other things to say but I'll stop here.
Hi, my name is Anita, I'm an actor from Bangalore. My question is specifically for Preeti. You said while describing Kelubabu's piece that he pulls that which is invisible and Sussane Linke it's an external representation of external reality or reality as it is.
Did you say something like that? One pulls the invisible and the other is -
I said, Kelubabu's dance is based on mime, where that which is not physically present is summoned to the stage. And with Sussane Linke I said that um...she brings to the fore the quality of the body which presents no narrative other than itself. It's a dance based on...founded on that which is tangible, present and non-mysterious.
So my question is, is it anything that's presented and visible, always point to its counterpart of that which is invisible or which is indirect. Like if she chooses to represent the elium of her life, then doesn't that bring in the yearning for something else? Isn't the invisible always present by what we choose to show?
No I think why I brought these two parallels is only because there is technique on the one hand, actual form on the one hand. And one is a narrative form which is a representative signifying form. Flower, bird, tree, creeper, dress, mirror. It's based on certain ways of representation, and that is the reason I spoke about that, which is imagined as (inaudible). Sussane Linke's case is not based on representing things. She is not representing her tedium. She is not representing - it has very much to do with the quality of what happened with her body and the bathtub on the stage. And the reason I also spoke about form is -
- form came about at a certain point in time in that part of the world based on certain events and our reading of it is also affected by that, you see. So by effect if you are watching it here, you will read it differently from what someone else reads it. That's pretty much.
That I agree, but I'm saying is it...I mean there was a way in which she did, as you said, no body is completely neutral, so is it always something that's invisible, indirect in everything that is visible.
That is the clarification I was looking for.
Sussanne Linke's piece with the bathtub, I've always called it the jugalbandi with the bathtub. It was performed in India in 5 different cities to a very great response, surprisingly, it's a very abstract piece. I really wonder how the audiences would have got into the skin of it.
But got into into the skin of it, when they see the whole piece which is basically talking about the drudgery of a woman's life - a cleaning woman's life. Who is cleaning the bathtub, she is not going to use it, she is cleaning it.
As she begins cleaning, the fantasy of what the bathtub might be as an object of luxury, and then imagining herself in the bathtub luxuriantly. And then it...from that point onwards the bathtub begins to take many many meanings, ending up finally on the side as a token in which this female, wracked by drudgery, eventually centred. So there's a tremendous complexity to that presentation.
So at every stage, what you're saying is true, the other, (inaudible).
Thank you. Just two short comments. Not questions. One is a reflection, not even a comment. Listening to the three speakers, I began thinking that as a theatre, practicing at a theatre, appreciating in a theatre. (Inaudible). We have a natural tendency to analyse, conceptualise, analyse some more, conceptualise, analyse yet some more, conceptualise.
It gives us a kind of expectant satisfaction which we can't deny. Nothing wrong in that, that is part of our DNA. But what do we do this for? We do this with an audience in mind, with a receiver in mind, with a consumer in mind, if you like.
And so somewhere at the backs of our minds, we are also thinking about how this is received. The idea that I have in my mind does have impact. Do I communicate? The audience is not interested in analysis, the audience is interested in synthesis. It looks for a (inaudible) experience and the need of the audience from metaphysics to bare skin is as great as (inaudible).
We shouldn't deny them their intelligence, right? I think the average IQ level of the audience is the same as ours. If not a bit higher. So we shouldn't deny them that intelligence, we should accept that they are seeking a (inaudible). And so at the end of the day, the question we should be asking is, "Is all our analysis for our private satisfaction?" or is there an impact?
So that is just one reflection which I thought I'd share with you. The second one is for you, Shankar. This is a less known research study. The background to this is that for 7 years now I've been associated with an international programme called Indigenous Knowledge Systems. Across three continents - South America, Africa and South Asia.
These are great big pools of gathered insights and knowledge in indigenous peoples. And I want to just share with you a documented case which is very very profound. There is an indigenous community in Guatemala which has a child rearing practice which we may find strange. When a child is born, it doesn't come out of the hut for 8 years. Till the age of 8.
The hut is completely dark, there's no light coming in, in fact the door has two layers so no light comes in. The child is brought up for 8 years in complete darkness. And then it first comes out, he or she, for any western or city-bred or civilised observer, the child is an idiot.
It hasn't had any intellectual development that is expected at age 8. Right? I'm not going into why and the social ecology of this project. But...by the time the child is 10, she/he is hunting, fishing, climbing trees, chasing birds, doing everything possible that you'd accept any child to do, bang on! in other words, there is something about the evolved human brain which we must accept is very special. Its capacity for abstraction and learning is very special.
In fact, most of the cultural anthropologists as different from psychologists will define intelligence as the ability to learn. Thank you very much.
Hello. My name is Prakash. So, I had 2-3 things and I have one doubt. Whether the actor is articulating his body or as Shankar said, is he articulating the space? I want to add three examples. And it is better to have a discussion keeping the concrete examples. Because a lot of Maharshi's friends are here, (inaudible), it is better to take the example of the (inaudible) or the one. It is better to take the example of the (inaudible) or the one who does (inaudible). He is a (inaudible)....
So my question is, it is not a question of articulating a space. It is the (inaudible), actor's intelligence and presence of mind.
(Okay apologies R, I can't understand what he is saying very well here.)
My name is Sundar. When as coming from philosophy, I really felt I was in a philosophy conference, listening to three people reflecting deeply on an issue and then Sadanand adding his political statement that metaphysics is not political. Because I don't believe that, and I am sure we will continue that discussion.
Now I'm paraphrasing you, so it suits me to say that you said that. Now the reason I am saying this is because there are two things. One, the real point of contention about space and the way all three of you spoke about is whether there is something special, real called space?
At least with the philosophy community this is the fundamental issue, this is the metaphysics that Sadanand is talking about. Is space just real or is it a way we talk about our experience? And half the time I felt, of course, definitely, Preeti and Shankar, that space is a kind of experience. And if space is an experience, you don't need to invoke something called space.
In other words, if you want to have an indication that there is something real called space, you will have to ask the space (inaudible). Does it cause something in us? In a way, what Shankar was talking about, it seems that space causes something, it affects us in a particular way. And that's really the question at least, for the three of you, which I have. When you talk of space, are you talking metaphorically of something else which is nothing to do with space, and is it just about some experience which you are using the word space to talk about certain kind of an experience like the kuttiyatam which is a lovely example, you know when you stare at that lamp and it creates a different experience, like I become him.
Is space becomes a (sic) shorthand word for that kind of an experience, if that is true, then there is no object called space, which is really the point of contention. The only way in which the counter-argument to that comes from Veenapani's lovely idea of here-ness. The aesthetics of here-ness. But in that, using that, if I ask you the question is there a here-ness to space? Just as there is a here-ness to us? The presence of space, is there really something called...is space present to us like other things are present to us?
And do we that...that actually makes it very interesting in the context of aesthetical space, because the only larger problem of here-ness is, there are too many things which are here. Which embody here-ness. Things embody here-ness. Dancer, a theatre actor embodies here-ness. An object, a chair embodies here-ness. And here-ness is embodied in wonderful ways in digital world.
So what is that? Because I was really interested, as a professional philosopher, even the kinds of things coming out of what you're saying. But to me the question remains, here-ness is a very problematical (sic) category, but perhaps you have an insight into how, as a actor (sic), somehow this idea of here-ness is captured differently from that of an object, or that of a statue standing on the stage.
One second. Should we allow them to respond? Okay next question.
Actually I would have said this very differently, but because of Sundar I am forced to re-state how I was going to mention this problem. I don't know whether there is space in the way this question is being asked, but without questions there are spaces. Because there are boundaries and borders. Which is why you have the problem of who can enter a temple or not, there is untouchability, and how close is uncomfortable?
How you include it on this space (sic) it comes because there are spaces, because there are boundaries. And actually it works both ways. Just like in the Chidambaram Rahasyam, the space is actually in the centre of everything. Actors and humans have created their own spaces or auras and there are boundaries which cannot exceed. The politicising of it happens without question on stage all the time.
Because the reality of these constraints, they get mocked on stage. Because the stage space is actually an imagined space, a manipulated space, and it's a mockery of reality. And which is why when you mock your teachers they get upset, it's subversive. Just the representation of these boundaries, whether you like it or not, they become subversive, is what I propose. Thanks.
I find it interesting, Sundar, what you said about have you experienced space? Right? The here-ness of space. And I just wanted to share an anecdote, actually. Which brings me closest in memory to the question you asked.
Many years ago when I was giving a full Bharatnatyam Kacheri on the stage, it was 2:30 in the afternoon in a sabha in Chennai. Where they did not see it fit to put the wings. It was too early in the day, so I stepped out of the green room, directly to confront the audience. And for a moment, I did not know whether I had to...how to stand, because my body underwent a moment of confusion.
I quickly adapted and went on to accept the audience could see me entering and leaving, therefore I would continue in the character I was. While I was performing, there were actually these mic and sound guys who were organising the stage for the next concert. Yesudas was going to sing after me. So they were setting up special amplifiers and mics in their lungis, with their wires and jacks and everything.
On stage, walking around me as I was invoking devi on stage, blah blah. And for a moment it threw me because I did not know what you were watching as an audience. Were you watching me or were you watching lungi-man? Wasn't sure at all. So for me this was one of the big, strongest experience of space that I've had, actually.
Yes they have their fantastic architecture temples, all of it which I've (inaudible), but this one experience was a life changing thing for me and I just wanted to share that.
Mind is a space. Thought is within that space, you experience that. Body is a space. It has experiences. With regard to relationships and distances and interactions. That's a kind of experience, and so and so forth, it depends on as many spaces that you enter qualitatively different from each other.
Yes it is experience, this is an experience, it is a kind of experience. What is here-ness? I am talking now only about the aesthetic space. I'm concerned with that as a theatre person. Here-ness is something to do with presence. It's to do with a kind of focus of all your spaces and it's to do with simultaneity and not about sequentiality.
That's...that's loosely what I would say is here-ness for me.
Japanese philosopher (inaudible) Yuwasa, he provides us with a schemalization(?) of the body. He looks at the body as an information system comprised of 5 different circuits. One is the external sensory motor circuit. Second, he calls it the circuit of kinesthesis. The third one is the circuit of somesthesis, then he talks about the emotion-instinct circuit. The fifth one is the unconscious posse-body(?) circuit.
So the external sensory motor circuit acts as a link between the outside word and the inside world. And the somatic surface, the skin surface begins the border between the inside and the outside. So how we perceive and how we process and in turn how we respond to the space is belated.
So...I think these three aspects kind of tell is whether there is a space or whether space is an experience. Of course there is a presence of a physical space and we perceive it through our senses, we process it, and the various other factors determine how we process space. And in turn we respond to it and then it becomes a loop of action-reaction.
And by virtue of this circuit we are able to navigate in space. We are able to act in space, we are able to feel space, we are able to respond in space.
The second circuit, the circuit of kinesthesis, that is the circuit which keeps the awareness of the body in space - how am i sitting in space? How is my body? What is the orientation of my body?
The third circuit is the circuit of somesthesis which we are not aware of. It's one we eat something, once it goes beyond the throat then we are not aware of it unless there is an abnormality in the body.
So we can't be conscious of certain spaces within our body, I can't be conscious of my kidney. I can't be conscious of the inner workings of my brain, unless there is an abnormality.
The fourth one connects emotions and the instinct circuits where a physical disturbance causes a psychological and emotional response. So cut open the body and pin-point the location of the mind. But for example, irritable bowel syndrome is an example of that. When you get tense, you feel like going to the loo. Tension is...it's psychological but it shows physical response.
Or when you get, when your stomach is upset you get tense. So either way. So this one circuit relates the psychological space with the physical space. And the fifth circuit he talks about the unconscious posse body which holds life in the body. So...I think we process space and understand space and experience space, we relate to it, we respond to it by virtue of this, the functioning of the 5 circuits.
I think to translate that into a more suitable usage, Benedict Anderson talks about the shift from bound seriality and unbound seriality in the concept of the nation. One moment I'm belonging to this bound seriality called India, and the next, I dream of being a citizen in...Tasmania or somewhere.
And that is a constant process, so the question always would be that is there a definitive thing called the body. Is there an end to the body or is it constantly under formation? After all, in the molecular way also the body is always deteriorating and reconstituting. So it seems to me a rather abstract idea to write (inaudible) border and definition to it and -
- therefore the moment of this Japanese person's definition would approximate something like the 5 chakras in the body that we (inaudible).
But if it is not connected with contemporary life, to your and my daily life, it is a mantra, if it is a... to say...mumbo jumbo, the language takes it out of your everyday life. If you say spaces in the mind, you are taking it out of the purview of everyday life, because space for me is real, if I enter a railway platform without a ticket, that hurts me.
It's not in the mind, it hurts me, it happened just coming by the vehicle to come reach here, the cop stopped us and asked for certain documents, the driver didn't have them. We would have been called up (inaudible)>
My I just ask a question? You have in the body, going to the railway station, connected to that experience of space you have a corresponding experience of time. Now if you go for a little dream in your mind, temporal experience is totally experience because the space is different. When you are thinking of someone, you are with that person because you are thinking of that person. That's a different space, it has a different time.
Your emotional space is totally different. These are spaces that are there within you, and they collude, collide sometimes. They are spaces, they are as distinct as -
No no, but I accept all this within quotation intellectually. Within quotation I understand. But for an actor I think it's a luxury to remain within that quotation.
Okay I'll put it another way, do we need to draw a hierarchy on these cases? Because I think that's what seems to be happening.
Hello, I'm himanshu, an architect. I've found all three presentations very suggestive, I mean it in the best possible way. Size, and (inaudible). I think they all work broadly on the (inaudible) in a sense. The method that works with personal experience and kind of resonates, and that's I think that's one very legitimate way of thinking about body, space, most of architecture is thought of in that way.
But...I just thought it might be interesting to think why all three presentations were from the perspective of the performers experience of the body and space. And so can we start thinking about also the embodiment and experience of the audience and really -
- I think we should do two things, one is again, it will bring in space as a (inaudible). Secondly, it will focus attention on that exchange, on that engagement, and which really is the pivot of theatre in many ways.
And we know from experience how important the body of the audience, each of the many bodies in an audience, when we see the difference in the way in which those bodies are schooled. In a modern auditorium, everyone is stiff and straight and in the dark. It's actually the body is not visible. The idea is in a dark auditorium to make the body absent, to make the viewer's body absent to the performers at one level.
And you have in the all night performances of Kathakali in Kerala temples, you have a very different type of audience, where you can walk up and go out and enter. So I think it will be useful also to remove the possibility, avoid the possibility of getting lost in a very involuted discussion about the body and space, which I think somewhere is (inaudible) isolating the performer.
Not necessarily. I was trying to say that the actor unifies the minds in space. So (inaudible). Space works as a medium and it is this phenomenological experience, like the actor connects that, he brings the minds together, he brings each one of you together. (Inaudible)
It's not a very you know...it's not cutting out the presence of the audience. It involves the audience and the actor is very aware that he is performing in and environment, and this environment is seen with the audience so the actor is playing with the audience, he is not playing to the audience.
So there is a space outside, and there is an inner understanding of the space. And the actor relates the inner space, he brings out the inner space, he makes it possible for the audience to relate to that space. He makes the...somatic surface...the surface which cuts out the inside and the outside gets blurred. Which allows many people to come together and experience the space.
What I was saying was I know that in all three cases the intention is there, there is no theatre without that kind of engagement. It would be interesting I suspect to bring it out into the telling of, into the discussion of all the things that were talked about, you would complicate it in an interesting way, perhaps, because it would bring in the relationality at a very bodily level and make the audience the responding body, not just the viewer.
My name is Samira and I just want to take what you're saying a little further, I've been thinking of the various examples that have been thrown out, and it was interesting to me, Preeti, that you talked about Kellubabu having a vocabulary, which should (inaudible) and at a certain point in time it did.
And he was performing this dance which was in...there is a question of culture, not just as individuals, but there is a question of culture that happens. So when he is performing his dance, there is the assumption that the audience knows that story and he indicates to you and charges the space between you or with you and takes you to that imaginary that you've already shared (sic).
And in fact one of the problems I personally think that classical dancers face there is those stories are no longer shared in the same way. And then they show the second phase where there is no share, so the dancers have done something else with space because they are sharing with the audience. It is in fact something very different.
So my question to all of you, I think all of you work in the contemporary space is when you are harking that to the kudiattam and picking up form these performances, there was still work with the assumption of a shared imagination (?), how do you...what is the learning you take from that to your work, and I've seen all your work, how does transfer into the way your actors work with space to reach an audience with which you don't have a continual sharing?
I hark back to kudiattam because that was where it was approximated, my idea of an aesthetic here-ness. I also, I hark back because they have a craft, which they did that. They communicated what was within these three psychological - the psychological space, the objective space and the performer and the shared with the performer and the cosmic space. They have this notion, and the craft with which they do that, that's why I hark back to those things.
And also because these knowledges and techniques are informative, we can't dismiss them. They need to extend them maybe true so that it is something that's relevant in our times, something that people can relate to as you were saying.
This is something that I at least personally need to go back to. It's where we begin.
As I was holding in my paper, the gestural mode, the way the eyes are used to communicate with the space. Because much of the emotions which are expressed are very subjective. It's really reflecting minimally on the face. It's the eyes on the gesture which provide the movement and the distance which is required for this communication of the inner space to this shared space in the audience.
It's with these two ways that they do it, and the sound of course, the vachika is for the larger space who is beyond the visual. What you can see, and the kudiattam performer is lit up by a lamp, you can just about see as though through a keyhole. And then the sound travels. These are things that fire one's imagination. So I can't dismiss them.
I'm only trying to share my impressions based on your presentations. Now I personally feel that we need to have a more nuanced understanding of what needs to be used. Use words like metaphysics, metaphysical or transcendent, now are we using them as fixed categories that really do not have any bearing on history, or that they have no ethical positions at all.
So if I deal with a certain category in a certain manner than would be called abstract, metaphysical, transcendental. Now does it dismiss the use of such categories and prepositions as (inaudible), unethical? So I think we need to see different co-relations between different metaphysical positions and spiritual (inaudible) and actual spaces. I'll give you one example and end there.
I'm not trained (inaudible). Take the case of Sri Aurobindo. The three phases of his life, the second being the revolutionary phase. But look at the last phase. He came (inaudible), enters the world of yoga but then says, "It is through my power of yoga that I want to put an end to WWII." I want to redeem humanity, the great humanity, call it mumbo jumbo, call it whatever you want. Now if you see that as a philosophical problem, what could be transcendental or metaphysical also has a sense of history, ethics and morality.
So don't you think, seeing it as a problem, is it not (inaudible) enough, is it not historical enough? (Completely incomprehensible)
My name is Ashish Ghosh from Delhi. I basically play fortunes, it's a good question to ask. All the three presentations seem to be heavily stressing on the fact of liminality. In a way I thought that theatre always had been a play in liminality. But the best thing that happened is that, as I understoor, there has been an excellent articulation of how that liminal space can be realised and an actor can play.
Related to this observation is a question. While going through a certain research work in the performance issue in Eastern(?) India, what I find is that a lot of transformational activities are there and also some where it is related to a trans(inaudible), and not that transformation or trans-whatever we are going to say -
- is shared by the audience. That way, my question is related to (inaudible)'s, but it is slightly different to have both the questions. Since all the shared understandings are not there with your audience, are you able to frighten that an articulation in theatre can reach the audience or not (?). That frightening factor, I am asking.
I am Karunaprasad from Madras. As an actor, I feel it as an exploration of possibilities by the mind and body. As Shankar told, that blindfolded man, walked towards the circle to touch blindfolded man.
In that time, the body and mind explores something. In the same way, Preeti presented that Kellucharan Mohapatra's that playing that veena, at some point I felt that as an expected...at some point, watching that music, how that thing plays, but he explores the possibilities with turning around, and then the singh(?), that sound, my mind is going downwards with that singh sound. But his finger is in the upper ways (sic).
So the mind and body explores that in between the space, I feel that, thank you.
It was very nice, my name is Abhilash and I am from Delhi. I want to share a question, maybe it must have been answered. While talking about all this engagements of the mind and how we bring it. Different kinds of concentration and then only putting it down. But this is all to some extent, talking from the point of view of the presence of an actor or a presence of a body and the kind of relation with the space.
What is the kind of the relativity of the space with the presence of the body?
What about the absence of the body and how much does a place play the rule in the absence of a body. This is just a kind of a doubt.
I wanted to remind you that there were two questions right in the beginning that have not been addressed.
This is Ravi from Chennai. One of the things that came to my mind, when one person was talking she said "militaristic" language she said occupy space. And I would suggest that there is such a similarity when you say command space. And then you command this space, and commanding my audience, you're actually taking over.
Command of the space.
Command of the space, of my skill as an actor and orator, is still command. And that command is actually used to take my audience captive. Now there are propositions in contemporary theatre when you say, let's not think command but let's be in conversation. And that is perhaps another way of looking at space between the actor and the audience.
One thing I felt, Veenapani, when you were talking about the sound and light expanding the zone of the actor and space. Sometimes it's also interesting when sound or the light are contrapuntal to what the actor is feeling inside. And then there is tension which makes it interesting, and then there is a here-ness which can be very different.
See, expand is extend the intension and also to complicate that.
Command of space is in relation with the traditional actors' relationship with the space. Like the conversation that you're talking about is the temporary work and the world -
Any actor can actually have the same amount of awareness of space. Very much in the now.
It's not about in the now, see, the No actor has literally a small slit of (inaudible) and literally has sensory input from this place. That's the experience that he has with the space. If the power goes, he continues to perform. The changes in the external space doesn't affect him (sic).
Until his body, or somebody comes and violaates his performance space. So the space in which he believes and performs is imaginary space. He does it in a real space but his presence is in an imaginary world. He has crossed the bridge from heaven, hell and he has come to the here and now. That's the No performance.
I didn't get that.
In No performance we see characters who are often deranged ghosts -
No I did get that.
The time is coming to a close, I think there is serious engagement. There's a last comment there. and after that I think I request Preeti, Veenapani and Shankar to make their last two sentences.
I'm Sulekha. I just wanted to go back a little bit to what Himanshu brought up. I think where one places the audience makes a lot of difference. I think it changes very much how one views the performer, in a proscenium you've got the audience seated in a very particular way.
In another space which is a 360, you can walk around or you're seated all around. And i think that is a very different experience, and a very different experience for every single person that will view a narrative very differently.
And I just, because it's really got something to do with not only, you know, it's got to to with the viewer but it's also got to do with the performer and how one views the performer. And how changing that viewing space makes a big difference to how narratives are understood or created.
I was just...because Himanshu brought that up, I'm just sort of following through with that.
Thank you. Closing comments?
One last thing to add is that, in some explorations of theatre, the play happens in the audience's minds. The space is in your minds and the actor just provokes imagination. Triggers imagination in the audience so that the play happens there, not in this physical space.
Thank you very much...it was interesting hearing all the questions and most significantly I am sorry I couldn't respond to one guy's question, I wasn't equipped at that moment to engage with it, it definitely had something to look at.
I think I'm most excited in this conference, if I could proceed inputs on long discussions I could change the nature of performance itself. We are going through a tremendous period of change as far as practice goes. And I think I am looking forward to hear more things from this conference where it's really going to impact the manner in which we perform and what it is we're actually trying to share as we find this.
Thank you very much everybody.