The Passing Of Time, a whole day Butoh exploration event

I started to have plans to do this performance event since the start of 2020, when the design studio Triple Rooster had a different location in Dongshankou, Guangzhou. Maarten, the dutch designer who owns Triple Rooster, and I, waited till the end of the first Covid19 lockdown to rethink the event, but then it came that he lost the place as one of the economic victims of the measures to contain the epidemic. Now that he has a new location and has created with other artists Creative Commune we decided it was time to realize our first collaboration.

The Passing of Time is a work of Butoh that I started working in 2019. The main goal was the exploration of the inner sense of time worked with the Butoh technique of inner chain of images. In October 2019 I did a first collaboration with the bassoonist Michael Garza at Zhile Art Space in Guangzhou, a 50-minute Butoh performance mixing that exploration of time with another one based in my personal artistic interpretation of Ma Yuen’s series of paintings “Study of the properties of water”. This performance event at Creative Commune goes back to the initial point, the exploration of the inner sense of time through the Butoh technique.

Thanks to the special shape of the gallery I can choose a very special corner of the place: the narrow end of the main corridor which got a very nice visual perspective from the gallery’s entrance. At that place I’m going to work -from 11AM till 7PM (with pauses)- what I call The Inner Passing of Time, a live installation, the creative process of The Passing of Time, all through my Butoh technique of inner chain of images as the main impulse of movement.

I also can retake something that it was part of the initial project: a visual story telling of the process. Through photographs taken during the creative process of the day it will be also created a slideshow of images trying to tell the story of the resulted movements, but also showing a different version of experimenting the time I’m working with. Those resulted visual-stories should be screened in different moments of the day adding images till one last resulted as independent work at the end of the day.

Finally it comes a new version of the Butoh work created during the day, but condensed in a 30-minute show, this will be The Passing of Time, a Butoh work.

The public can come and go since the beginning of the event, watching, observing and exploring time with me as they like. At the end of the day (around 9 PM) we all can drink and chat about what it was experimented and watched.

Doing a conceptual work in Butoh is not new (I don’t pretend to do something new), but I’m interested in doing this exploration by myself and live and see the results.

I appreciate enormously that the guys of Creative Commune wanted to collaborate with me in this project.

(Poster of the event. Design by Marteen and Creative Commune. Photograph in the poster by Dominique Lila. Guangzhou @ 2021)

Gustavo Thomas 

Guangzhou, China 

January 2021

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