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EXILE

Exile is a project that was born from several humanitarian actions we launched with refugees in Paris. The first was in the ‘bulle’, a space set up in 2016 to welcome male refugees. Several skateboard and circus workshops were given, mostly to young men aged between 16 and 24 years old. A large part of this audience came from The Central African Republic.

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird 

We began creating a performance that told the stories of the people we had encountered. Not only their story of exile but the complexity of exile, frontiers, cultural boundaries and how to go beyond that. 

 

As most of the people we worked with at the center moved on to other cities in France, the first residency was one that told Thupten’s story.  After fleeing his native Tibet in 2007, Thupten Gyasto spent several years in India, before migrating to Paris. He studied Traditional Tibetan Medicine, closely following his cousin Dr. Nida Chenagtsang for over ten years. His story is one that could also be that of many others. Therefore the importance of seeing this piece as a global story became apparent, as it is a story that could be anyone’s.

Exile thus became centered around a poem about a Blackbird. With the métaphore of the blackbird representing oneness. 

Firstly, the show begins with a monk meditating. Perched onstage with him, is a blackbird. The poem by Wallace Stevens, Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird, was used to set the scene. Its fourth verse raises a Zen Buddhists concept of oneness and the poem highlights a duality between nature & culture, human & nature as it tackles the limits of our perception within the confinements of these key issues. 

 

The notion of consciousness correlates oneness, incarnated in the form of the blackbird. 

The Tibetan monk represents all those in a physical and/or mental exile. Much more than a voyage across borders; his journey is physical, mental and spiritual. Its movement is a shift in identity, and a shift in belonging as the sense of self dissolves into an awareness of a greater unity.

WORKSHOPS

Traditional Tibetan Medicine is a Himalayan healing science, which is more than 2000 years old. In the native language it is called Sowa Rigpa. It has preserved its authenticity integrally until today’s date through the pure lineage of transmission.

Thupten also studied as a monk in Tibet before exiling. A fully qualified masseur, acupuncturist and yoga teacher, he is passionate about the transmission of his knowledge and healing techniques. 

Kate is a trapeze artist who has trained in Paris with Zoe Maistre whose technique focuses on Sensorial Movement and meditation. Sensorial introspection uses perception as a means of accessing the body and the mind. It calls upon the exteroceptive and interoceptive senses in a progressive and cumulative way which leads the practitioner's attention to become more panoramic, which allows to soften cognitive control and to develop openness at the present moment, as well as a feeling of peace and a different interpretation of reality.

 

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