And so it ends. As always this last blog comes a few days after our show ended due to the work and relaxation needed to end such a productive and busy week. Without sounding full of ourselves I think it’s fair to say that From Inner Space has been a success, the show went down more or less exactly as we’d all expected and the crowd seemingly loved every minute of it. The feedback from audience, artists and friends has been great and even the representatives of Bologna’s city council who made it were impressed and pleased. So much so one even told me ‘see you next year’, I certainly hope so.
The show itself was just as mesmerising as I’d expected it to be. Having spent the whole week locked in rehearsals with Katzuma and his band I knew the music inside out but to hear it on stage and accompanied by the visuals from Opificio Ciclope really was something else. While the grooves went out into cosmic territories, flying through funk, disco and house, the visuals alternated over three ten-meter long projections with pictures and films of Bologna’s most famous, and also least well known, sights and surroundings manipulated to incorporate space imagery, taking the audience further out into an imaginary space that both collectives devised separately but which once more worked as a perfect whole.
I remember looking up and seeing their manipulations of Easyjet and Ikea adverts for the first time and just laughing at how clever and appropriate it was. Easynasa selling space suits while Ikea offered replacement parts for space shuttles. A famous church adorned with Russian space programs numerals while a shot of the city’s periphery showed a space shuttle cosily nestled next to high rise buildings, your brain making a stop to register the odd visual sensation before telling you that it was actually all ok.
As I said on the first day, from the outside this seemed like the smallest show we’ve done and yet from the inside it has been by far our biggest production, a real labor of love. Five weeks of preparations leading to five days of rehearsals leading to a five hour night and an hour long showcase. As always lessons were learnt and while the night, and the week, was indeed a success we still have a long road ahead of us. For the first time though it feels like we’ve really started to hit on what makes this project of ours so unique and powerful. Already this had started to transpire in our first two events, but From Inner Space, for me at least, really clarified what we do a lot more. After one official year, Original Cultures has already evolved and been refined from a Japan/Europe cultural exchange project to a broader cultural project aimed at connecting cultures through modern performing arts. And from this we are now further refining what it is we do, why we do it and how.
As we sat down at 3am discussing the week and night, Cris brought up the concept of cultural laboratory which he’d brought up earlier in the week during the press conference. As we drove an hour later we discussed it further and other points came up that I really believe define this project perfectly: we are a cultural laboratory that operates from Bologna, bringing into and out of the city artists for week-long cultural and artistic experiments. Our labs give artists a unique chance to further explore and develop their creative potentials. We saw this already in our first two shows, but even more this time with Katzuma and the Expanding Disco Machine. Here is a musical project which was birthed thanks to our platform and can now continue to grow and develop independent of it. Just like we gave Will Barras, Ericailcane and DEM a platform to showcase their artistic talents outside of the street art scene that made them famous, resulting in works based on chinese shadows and animations. Or just as the Om Unit musical identity really came into being for Jim Coles during our first two shows.
And we also now know that we excel at re-appropriating and transforming live spaces during one off showcases. In our first show we transformed a modern theater space into a club so to speak, bringing into a space an audio and visual show it never had, and never has since, experienced. In London we used a wine bar like so many other in the city and turned it once more into a venue for an audio visual showcase that it never had hosted. We brought the venue to life and made it do things even its owners didn’t know it could do. And this year we took a popular, mainstream live outdoor venue and brought it out into space, once more re-appropriating it through music and visuals and turning it into something new. On every occasion the response was the same from owners and public alike, ‘I’ve never seen anything like it’.
It felt good to come to this realisation at the end of a long week of work and two years of growing an idea into reality. Like I said we are still at the start of our journey but with every step we grow stronger and our family grows bigger and tighter. We hope you can join us as we continue on this journey.
Massive thanks goes to all the artists for their belief in us and hard work, the whole O.C crew, Yassin, Ale, Cris, Lisa, Katia, Vale, all those who worked with us this year, Luca, Giorgia, Massi, Undervilla Production, the city of Bologna and the cultural department especially, all our media partners and sponsors, Flip and Error Broadcast, all the staff on the night and everyone who came and made it a night to remember.
See you soon!