Just Start Here Festival: Saturday
by Rory Buccheri
courtesy of Michal Wachucik
A fruitful jumble of performative art, poetry, music and workshops, day 2 of Just Start Here raised the point of the importance of the here and now in the battle for climate justice. Nobody is excluded from the quest for raising awareness and fostering change: musicians, professors, performers, writers and workers of the city of Aberdeen were given a spotlight to showcase their ideas and contribution. In fact, the focus of the happening was exploring the role of arts within the debate of climate justice and fostering change.
The second half of the event started with a workshop on how to involve and engage people with artistic projects. A number of those included spreading awareness and communicating the urgency of the matter through the power of language, play of words and the spoken word (consuming meat, what’s at stake?) or projects dealing with the intersection of the arts (including an audience-led performance of drawing and thinking). On the same note, among the many performers that took active part in this event, it is worth mentioning the performance of Aberdeen-based visual artist Brian Keeley, whose reading of the event gave birth to the performance ‘5 Minutes to Move Me’. The act, consisting on a series of one-on-one encounters with the artist in the attempt to stimulate an action-reaction from the partaker, highlighted the importance and celebrated the interconnectedness of all human beings through the artist’s own personal story.
This workshop space opened to the public showcased perfectly the aim of the event: bridging the artistic scene with the every-day actions led by all of us, regardless of our position of audience or performer. When working towards the goal of climate justice, we are both protagonists and witnesses to what happens in the world and it is our duty to act now. This spirit is what led the second part of the event, an enthralling blend of spoken word, music and vocals by local artists Jo Gilbert and Fiona Soe Paing. The performance, ‘Now/Apathy/Action Sharing’ was stimulated and structured around a provocation by climate expert and Robert Gordon University Lecturer Dr Leslie Mabon. This gradual shift from words to music led to the next part of the event, a piece of dance theatre created in collaboration by Vicki Manderson and Finn den Hertog, ‘The Afflicted’, whose central storyline was inspired by mysterious events taking place among a group of schoolgirls in the States. The sinister atmosphere of the dance and the sharp commentary included in the act were key to analyse what society believes and shapes to be supernatural or unreal while the scientific world is struggling to prove otherwise. The disturbing parallel with climate change and its denial is clear.
After the moving and thought-provoking performances, the event ended on a positive note, thanks to WHɎTE, a duo playing a quite unconventional blend of electronica infused with traditional Gaelic song.
I feel confident in saying that Just Start Here managed to achieve its goals: the curtains of the festival closed, but the dialogue and the desire to inspire change and aspire to change just started.