1st VA+M+P@IR*E on 8 October 2023


Our 1st VA+M+P@IR*E festival took place on Sunday 8 October 2023 at Ito Cultural Hall.

Co-creative art, music, video, photography, poetry, spoken word... improvising, discussing with established creatives as well as new talent emerging.

The festival's theme was "Shore" (磯). Some Vampires interpreted the theme quite literally with images of shores, of seawater breaking on stones, or with a computer game recounting the eons of the horseshoe crab (actually more spider than crab). We workshopped a new ending for Marin, the little mermaid charged with taking revenge on Frappuccino-loving plastic-littering homo sapiens (actually more an idiot than a savant). Arguably the deepest reflection on 磯 came from the observation that the kanji was composed of a combination of stone (石) and loom (機). The abstract photographer-Vampire gave us the image of a rocky shore with the sound of a loom weaving. It was supposed to echo the breaking of waves on the rocks, which in any case managed to hypnotize us, as did the Descants of the field composer-Vampire, with the hours of the sheep, the monkey, and the rooster. 

Talking about alternative endings for Marin, the revenge-seeking mermaid, we were very impressed with the range of ideas emerging from the Vampire audience, where some envisioned a post-cynical venture of effective altruism, while others went for a straightforward psychopathy, inviting Frappuccino-loving plastic-littering homo sapiens to a pool party, where the nastiest specimens would happily end up mixed and shaken into a delicious smoothie, so bloody addictive it would help depopulate the globe. There were also realists, reckoning Marin would just give up and dive under, never to come back. Notably, though, especially our youngest Vampires displayed despite all the plastic an unbeatable moral reflex in wanting to make things better and believing they can, which of course, yes.

Some of the Vampires took the shore theme to more metaphoric regions, focusing on the boundaries as synergies between art and science, or rats flushing their veins with green tea. Another Vampire treated us to a video poem combining the imagery of a youth loitering on the beach, sometimes swimming, sometimes gazing out, with a voice-over addressing his grandmother, whose dementia keeps pulling her consciousness underwater. Also playing on borders, between being and not, between inside and out, between having a bioengineered structure on your back and losing it, was a duet reading of "The Earmouse" accompanied by live improvised piano music, straight out of cinema's silent era, and illuminated with manga-like transitions showing the ghost or clone of Nishida Kitaro gradually making his escape from the lab.   

Connecting to cinema's silent era, there was arguably the most Nosferatu-like contribution of them all at our 1st VA+M+P@IR*E with the pangs of love, largely but not entirely unrequited, shifting from the beach to a cabaret on a moonless light, with an eery song to boot, all in a revitalized rendering of David Lynch by Federico Fellini by F.W. Murnau. Indeed, "At night, the light attracts the Engineer," light not from the moon but from the fireworks of amygdala neurons hyperactive in R.E.M. sleep. "Take your time, there is no hurry," said the sweetest Vampire. "I've never had to repeat myself." 

Ay, so true. Vampires don't repeat themselves. Every return is a variation. 

Thank You, All of You Vampires!

(+ wishing many bloody returns) 

The 1st VA+M+P@IR*E received the most delicious infusions from Daryl JamiesonBritton BrooksTomohiro HanadaRaymond KunikaneItalentoNanami SakuraiNathalie LauwereynsSnowappleGordon WilliamsSoma Kudo, and Jan Lauwereyns.