The important things for working together with the challenged people
– Yokohama Paratriennale 2017 is 2nd one and also second for you, isn’t it?
Yes, I was the Director of the 1st one in 2014, and this one in 2017 is second for me.
We continued to develop Yokohama Paratriennale through some researches and projects in future even if we finish the 2nd one. And we will have the 3rd one in 2020, the year of Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.
-Ms. Kurusu, how have you become the Director?
Initially I had worked for matching the professionals in different fields with other ones, or local areas, so as to make new values. In 2011, I had the handicapped right leg because of illness and serious changes occurred in my job and life. In such situation, some left to me a project in which the challenged people and various kinds of professionals work together to create novel expressions.
Through the project, I saw and know various kinds of individuals, by which the way of my thinking dramatically got changed. Now I wish I would make new society where, irrespective of handicaps, various individuals understand each other and work together to create something novel through the synergetic effects among them.
How do you feel through the 1st Paratriennale?
Through the 1st Paratriennlale, I could find the “walls” and “barriers” for the challenged individuals. I deeply understood that they had the huge difficulties in taking part in such artistic activities with so many people.
What are the “walls” and “barriers” for them?
I can tell you the “Accessibility” as a key phrase. In other word, the handicapped had the huge difficulty just in joining the event itself.
First of all, it was so hard for me to help them understand the workshop and its contents. We had to think out various methods or ways for them. For example, we went to the welfare offices for the handicapped and announced directly to them about it, because they could not understand the event contents by the flyer, emails, and SNS messages. And even if they can understand its information and wish to go, they had to get over not only physical barriers such as transportation and bumpy roads to their end, but also psychological barriers such as their isolated situations around physically non-problematic others and the risk of failures during performance.
So, I desperately felt that we at first had to solve such problems as their difficulty just in joining the event itself, in order to realize as our ideal, the high performance levels enough to present it worldwide.
“Access Coordinator” and “Accompanist”
We have done all the activities so far as much as we can think out for eliminating such barriers for 2 years since the 1st one finished. Among such activities, to set and grow “Access Coordinators” and “Accompanists” was so important, I think.
“Access Coordinators” care for and remove all the barriers and anxiety that the handicapped have until their standing on stages. The first Access Coordinator was the one knowing well with nurse’s license both of the handicapped and performing arts.
Accompanists support the handicapped as dancers or performers on stages, or play the role in, so called, the accompanist in orchestra. They seek as creators with the handicapped, how they can get over the physical and psychological barriers during performance.
With them, I have continued trial and error under research in order to find how to help them participate in the creations without barriers and their anxiety.
-I heard that you were the Stage Advisor of the Olympic Flag Handover Ceremony in 2016 Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games. Did the Access Coordinators and Accompanists play important roles in it?
Yes, they did. Do you remember the performance of the handicapped in the ceremony? For the stage performance for 8 minutes, the Access Coordinators went along with them and the Accompanists supported their performance on the stage. In Paratriennale 2017, the contemporary members of the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games support its activities.
-“Paratriennale” covers not only the day but also the terms during which you make the environments through trial and error for the creative performance, doesn’t it?
Yes, it does. Paratriennale consist of three parts in terms. The first part of “Creations” started on May in this year, and the second one, “Presentation”, is going to be held in the Great Night Parties on October 7 to 9. Now, several teams progress the preparation for the “Presentation”.
For example, that white net is the artwork knitted out of special strings, called “the whitescraper”, which is going to be used in the day. Various generations from children to the grown-ups, is making it together.
In July and August, we held workshops for making it in Singapore, Cambodia, and Indonesia.
In addition, artists, professionals, and the handicapped see each other to make workshops and creations together, irrespective of handicaps, continuously. All of them will bring their success in the Paratriennale 2017.
“The Great Evening Party in Wonderland”
– What kind of party is “The Great Evening Party in Wonderland” coming next month?
In October 7-9, the “Wonderland” made by artists and 10,000 citizens, is going to appear in Zo-no-Hana Terrace and Zo-no-Hana Park and “The Great Evening Party in Wonderland” held, gathering stage performances, arts, and foods.
(The diagram above is a schematic presentation.)
The assembly hall has some stages.
We set a dish-shaped stage in the center of the performance stages. The challenged and the artists coming from whole world are going to be shown the powerful performances on the stages. For example, we have the dance performance by Meri Otoshi, a contemporary dancer, collaborating with the handicapped Cambodian artist, the break dancing by a dancer going to the high school for the blind, the aerial performance by handicapped dancers, and so on. They appear as if they were the dishes served in a full course meal.
The artists and performers, who share the concept of our project, have made continuous efforts, to hold several workshops and performing presentations step by step for two years from 2015 to 2016, and they have succeeded in reaching to the high levels shown to the public enough at last. We would like more people to enjoy it.
On the art stages, various professionals are inspired by the senses of the handicapped, to create the contemporary art works. We are planning to produce the art works via their senses’ contact with techniques such as the clothes expressed by the blind and the jewels created through the communication with a Koto music artist. I am looking forward to seeing such arts appear.
On the Food stage, you can enjoy meals in the food stand by Yama-moko-yama, a food designer team, collaborating with a welfare office in Yokohama-City. In a Pizza stand, Takuma Aoki, a musician, performs playing music.
How can we enjoy Paratriennale having so many kinds of things worth watching?
Entering the stage hall and watching performances are free of charge. And we also have some workshops you can enjoy without reservation.
Anyway, I recommend to you the “Full Course” tour program. You initially ride on the ship with tour guidance to leave Yokohama Minatomirai area for the Wonderland. After watching the art stages with a rabbit’s guidance, you enjoy the shows on the special seats set near the dish-like main stage. Actually, during the “Full Course” program, we set something secret which only the participants can enjoy.
We hold the Paratriennale 2017 2 times a day at 15:30～ and 18:00～ both on Sunday, October 8, and Monday (a holiday), October 9. Naturally speaking, the handicapped can take part in the program. I recommend you to enjoy it with reservation because we have to stop accepting the applications once all the places are taken.
-Please let us have your messages.
I think, Yokohama Paratriennale are the movements creating the world full of new values, not transiently, but continuously.
We wish to make the world connected by empathy and mutual understanding, not the world separated each other by comparison, discrimination, and egoism.
We include such wishes in the subject of Yokohama Paratriennale, “Sense of Oneness -Moving to Greater Harmony-”.
I feel that I am much interested in “experiences” which impress and change individuals. So, I hope you to be involved in the Paratriennale in some way.
I believe that you can have some notice overturning your own stereotypes by watching it directly.
And I would like the visitors with and without interests in welfare to come to the party and to take next action if you can take some feel in the party.
We are looking forward to see you in the “Wonderland”.
Outline of the events
■ “The Great Evening Party in Wonderland”
Dates and Times:
October 7 (Sat.), 2017 18:00~21:00 (for a public rehearsal)
October 8 (Sun.) and 9 (Mon., a holiday), 2017 16:00~21:00
Location: Zo-no-Hana Terrace and Zo-no-Hana Park
Fee: Free of Charge
■ The Great Evening Party in Wonderland “Full Course” tour program
Dates and Times:
October 8 (Sun.) and 9 (Mon., a holiday), 2017 15:30~17:30、18:00~20:00
Fee: ¥3,500（*A pair ticket including one helper, ¥5,000）
*The ships accepting wheelchairs are available on October 8. Reservation required.
Please visit our HP; http://www.paratriennale.net/
AreaYokohama Bay Area (Naka-ku and Nishi-ku)