POTLATCH : Objects on the move

Du 17 au 21 septembre 2018

The phenomenon of giving and taking is the basis of communal life in early societies and it is celebrated and performed in various ways in different cultures depending on politics, economics, religion and ideologies. In occidental culture we have either Christmas and easter celebrations or birthday and wedding parties which give the opportunity to make gifts or be given presents. With the emergence of the capitalist economic order, according to the french anthropologist Marcel Mauss, the original cohesion of societies was lost, since only profit orientation and profit had become the target of trade.
In the beginning of the workshop “Objects on the move-Performative Reflections on Ceremonies and Rituals of Giving and Taking”, we investigated the ways of giving and taking on the sculptural object level. The potlatch ceremonies, for example, follow a strictly regulated sequence of ceremonies and rituals performed on a kind of stage, with masks, singings, dances and spiritual spells. After our research we invented and developed our own ceremonies and rituals of giving and taking. We then created a space of encounter and exchange, various objects on the basis of which we performed the rituals and we have on the one hand choreographed the physical and oral elements of the performance/ceremonie and on the other hand developed movements and actions which activate the objects. Our focus was the performative quality and the paraphernalia of the process and not the handed over present / gift itself. Questions like : What are we handing over ? Why and how do we hand over a present ? How do we feel and behave, if a present is given to us ? How does giving and taking influence relationships between people and objects will be investigated and discussed.