So we've heard all our keynotes and (painfully) got to know the Alter U folks better. We met at 10 today to reflect on this and to plan the route ahead.
Seems that the keynotes were also sacrificial lambs: we watched them and learned what works and doesn't work in our bilingual context, where words and ideas not only have to be painstakingly translated, but also distilled. Ko Tar, for instance, has a finger in every activist pie, but decided to focus on monastic education because it's the only thing he knows inside-out. In fact, every public intellectual we've listened to had a vastly different strategy of communication.  It's our turn now: what's the best way to get our ideas across?

One thing we're doing is we're going to have some of our text pre-translated and handed out on slips of paper. (Cody's bugging everyone to hand in their words by 5pm.) We'll still have on-the-spot translation, but this will save time. The volunteers are doing this, btw - KS has noted the strange effects of getting business translators to work with postmodern art texts.

The artist presentations will be completely open to the public, but of course they're primarily directed at Alter U. Only about half the Alter U folks are performance-based, so we're thinking of breaking up the groups for smaller workshops in the afternoons.
KS: How would you feel about smaller groups?

Julie: I like it. There wouldn’t be that kind of wash feeling, you like it or don’t like it.

Kaffe: It would be less passive,

KS: I think for me [bigger groups] would also be about being exposed for a longer time. They look passive but it’s growing on them. But I think the intensity of people wanting to connect to performance is very deep, because there isn’t much of that around. There are very few people, but very hungry.

Lin Htet: And very committed.
So we're adjusting ourselves to the culture, trying to figure out what'll work and won't work.
Joshua: We had an idea for a log-book of public ideas, with no copyright. People can use their ideas and realize them. But we don’t want to introduce that here.

Fiona: We’re concerned about the translation.

KS: When the Burmees speak, it’s for very long. So they’d probably each speak for ten mintues...

Joshua: We’d have three ideas, and it’d be 300 pages!

We're also talking about Mandalay: that's where Tadasu Takamine and Sanathanan Thamotharampillai are coming on board. Thaiddhi and Thu Thu Sein will also be running their Wathann Film Festival there - not sure how well we'll fit in, because every film will be suffixed by a one-hour discussion, almost entirely in Burmese.

And of course, a big part of the discussion was about Singapore. Are we gonna show exactly the same thing? What kind of logistics will we need for the 72-13 stage? Valerie Oliveiro wanted to know:
This time around, Superintense will be intense not in terms of consecutive hours but as consecutive days: we'll start on Wednesday 15 Jan and end on Sunday 20 with specific days for Burmese film, Burmese activism, the Sri Lanka situation, and of course the classic Saturday night with the artists speaking for one hour each until Kaffe plays the instrumental finish at maybe 1am. (You think that's bad? In 2007 she finished at 5am.)

There'll be no translation issues, fortunately: artists will be able to cover more ground
KS: The room gets quite messy: people start off in proper rows, and then it’s like last night’s screening, people end up on the floor.
There'll be no translation issues, fortunately: artists will be able to cover more ground, and there'll be assumptions we can make about a basic level of familiarity with contemporary practice. 

The duality of locations is important: the cosmopolitan (yet not completely cosmopolitan) context of Singapore, and the closed (but no longer closed) context of Myanmar. That's the work of FCP, more or less: us learning to say things in a way we've never had to say them before.
 


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