Thursday, 9 July 2015

What is UNFIX?

Pauk Michael 
Henry :
UNFIX is essentially a brand new festival. It has its roots in my work with different Butoh dancers around Europe / internationally, and specifically the 'Moving Bodies' Butoh tour that happened at the CCA last year - this was masterminded by Ambra G. Bergamasco and I only directed the Glasgow leg. Moving Bodies opened doors for me at the CCA and around Glasgow, and has enabled this new thing called UNFIX. 

UNFIX Festival reflects my own journey as someone rooted in a search for a way of being that honours myself but also integrates with the world and the people around me - that world is Glasgow more than any other place. 

Glasgow is a place I've run from in various ways, geographically (making artwork around Europe), philosophically (exploring Buddhism, Sufism, the continental avant-garde and Butoh dance - which for me is kintetic philosophy or spirituality). I found it a hard place to accept growing up as I felt I was being handed a completely broken set of values and ordered to be happy with them; in my case a bowdlerised Catholicism and repressive approach to cosmic / mortal / soul issues, a violent concept of maleness, a very conservative mindset and an obsession with consumerism and material things. 

I still believe these things are true, but over the last years I've come to recognise that there's also an incredible beauty, vibrancy, hope and generosity to life in Scotland; a paradox I've given up trying to resolve. I've also noticed that the cultures and philosophies I ran to - Indian, Japanese etc - are also riddled with paradoxes and nightmares. 

There's nowhere you can go where you don't find this mixture. And over it all sits the spectre of globalisation and corporatism, climate change, the war on 'nature' and so on. We really are all on the same boat - or aboard the same Spaceship Earth as Buckminster Fuller would have it. 

UNFIX festival is my belated recognition of this, and of the fact that if I confess my own darkness and confusion to myself, I see that everyone around me is the same: interdependent, improvising, hoping for better, trying to evolve towards love with varying degrees of success and in a context that is largely not designed for human well-being. So UNFIX is conceived as an act of love, a bear hug to the world, a prayer of sorts. 

I can find all of the above in Butoh dance personally, and Butoh remains a core approach to art and life for me. But it isn't for everyone, and UNFIX is welcoming film, live art, visual / contemporary art, political / climate activists and philosophical & spiritual thinkers to go at this whole issue in a
communal stab at Enlightenment: how can we help each other be better? 

How can we honour this world and our time in it? To lapse into tag-line speak: UNFIX conceives individual human lives as a microcosm of the whole, and puts it to you: climate change and ecological transformation are happening inside your body, RIGHT NOW.

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