At the beginning of July I escaped the European treadmill to go to Colombia for what my Colombo-German friend Jan Lotter once called "productive holidays". It's a term to indicate that you are taking time away from your habitual environment; you're released from the stress and the pressures that usually subjugate you, and an entirely new area of potential creativity and - why not - productivity presents itself to you. I expected myself to be working on a publication, to be producing some things, some content and encounters; I expected to get inspired while trying to avoid being too concerned with end results. Ironically looking back I can easily say that I was more productive, that I produced more visible output, in those last 2 months in Colombia than in the entire last year in Europe. Being back in Europe it comes as natural to justify my absence here by summing up my achievements there: to start a band, to record a record, to play some concerts, to conduct some artist talks, to appear on a local radio program and to participate in a group exhibition. Those achievements of course also re-affirm that I actually did something, that I produced some things, and that it was worth the time and the money. But I would dare to say that apart from the concrete results more important things are in play.
First of all I'm working on an inspiring project that doesn't seem to have an expiry date; it started with receiving a gift in Colombia fifteen years ago, the desire to write a novel based on the circumstances in which I received the gift, then it turned into an idea and then into a video project, recently it side kicked into a recording session for a record and some concerts in the city of Cali and Medellín. Meanwhile I started to fantasize about a couple of alternative careers in Colombia and to turn those fantasies into playful actions, most concretely with Wilson y Los Más Elegantes, a band that interprets traditional Colombian music, with a specialty in the genre of bambuco. I also keep dreaming out loud about a career as the foreign actor in a Colombian soap series. Moreover I rediscovered a more organic way of working that allowed me to take last minute decisions without feeling bad about it. And last but not least I realized once more that the arts scene in Colombia is alive and kicking, driven by many energetic collectives and individuals who are motivated to do things, to make a difference, almost regardless of monetary, productional or political circumstances. My top choice at the moment: Helena producciones (Cali), Lugar A Dudas (Cali), Casa Tres Patios (Medellin), Campos de Gutierrez (Medellin), Laagencia (Bogota), El parche (Bogota), Residencias en la tierra (Montenegro).
Currently I'm still breaking my head over how to share all of this with you, and how to translate the work from one cultural context to another, how to keep the subtle and cultural-sensitive layers, or how to find their equivalent. You'll hear about it when it goes on air in your neighborhood!
With the kind support of Interacciones Urbano_Rural, Residencia en la tierra (Montenegro), Arcapacha (Tolima), Lugar A Dudas (Cali), Campos de Gutierrez (Medellín), Casa Tres Patios (Medellín), Laagencia (Bogotá) and de Vlaamse Overheidless