Reflections on ArtsCross
The 2013 London session of ArtsCross brought together dancers from three cities (Beijing, London and Taipei), and allowed academics and choreographers from these cities to interact in the same place. The ArtsCross platform not only became a hotspot for interaction and exchange of ideas between China and the West, it also created a perfect meeting point for the interaction of theory and practice. After seeing nine choreographers, coming from three different places, at work, and appreciating the works which they created, I formed the view that the outputs of the project were not the most important. What was more interesting was the process.
During the academic interactions, the three topics provided us with specific areas of discussion. However, I noted that the exchange of ideas went far beyond these discussion topics. The questions which were explored were some of the most discussed questions in contemporary academia. They were also questions which all of humankind seeks to answer. Thanks to this interaction, an exploration which sought to promote mutual understanding, we participants, originating from different places across the globe, were no longer strangers.
No longer strangers in our day to day interactions, but more importantly, we were no longer unfamiliar with each others’ ways of thinking. Most importantly, this interaction did not just occur between the Chinese and Western participants, but also during direct interactions with the academics from the island of Taiwan. Thanks to this process of getting to know, communicating with and coming to understand people from the same culture, but different backgrounds, made our ideas increasingly meaningful and strengthened the value of our judgements. This is something that we have been lacking for many years.
Modernism, cosmopolitanism, culture and the sense of identity it brings, practical research… in a few short days, our discussions had touched on many areas, and many varying opinions were voiced and heard. Thanks to an attitude of mutual respect and learning, the ArtsCross platform was able to achieve a significance which exceeded expectations. This form of continuous, progressive and
We in the second group were tasked with discussing the question of “Crossing languages”.
What was interesting was that during this year’s ArtsCross, we often found it impossible to find an accurate translation for one word or another. New concepts and technical terms flowed freely, and we often questioned how to transmit the meaning and the origin of a term through its translated version. Is this not exactly the starting point for considering “transcendence of language”? Of course, when considering the transcendence of spoken language and the transcendence of body language, the topic of “crossing languages” provided us with endless areas to consider. What is more, the actual process of observation enriched our thinking even more.
ArtsCross brought us together, allowed us to experience, and helped us to give wings to our ideas and take flight!