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IETM Asian Satellite meeting: Part Two

Jun 12, 2014

This is part two of a three part series, to start reading from the beginning check out IETM Asian Satellite meeting: Part One.

The IETM Satellite meeting was opened by Nan Van Houte, IETM Secretary General and Michel Quéré, Meetings and Events Coordinator, speaking about the formation of IETM. Thirty years ago, IETM began from a dinner party, with a group of people talking about the need for new contexts and new contacts – ‘…for if you remain in your own community you dry up.’ IETM emerged from that dinner – organic and with no structure and carrying with it a quality of the informal, of generosity and of sharing knowledge. A non-hierarchical conversation building ground for trust and mutual understanding ‘…for with that collective intelligence we can change the world.’

This approach of personal relationships in creating informal networks, peer to peer conversations based on artistic and aesthetics interest, was echoed during a working session of Presenters moderated by Ening Nurjanah (Indonesia) and featuring Kee Hong Low (Hong Kong) Pawit Mahasarind (Thailand) and Seunghyo Lee (Korea).  A reemphasising that these relationships and new creative collaborations shouldn’t be a model that is pre-existing elsewhere, but must rely on like minded peers who sit down and do something about it.

This is the first IETM Satellite meeting to take place in Australia and Australia’s context was strongly positioned within ‘the Asian space’ shifting the pull towards a European paradigm of theatre and artistic context. The IETM Satellite meeting began for many of the delegates during the final weekend of Next Wave Festival and The Lab, as part of Arts Centre Melbourne’s Asian Performing Arts Program, curated by Stephen Armstrong and Kate Ben-Tovim.

The Lab enabled twenty artists and connectors from Australia and the countries of Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Japan, and Hong Kong, to work together preceding and after the IETM Satellite to explore new artistic conversations. These collaborations were matched through an interest in artist-to-artist collaboration, and did not have a preconceived outcome. The Lab created the lens through which I experienced Next Wave and the IETM Satellite, an extraordinary group of artists’ processes, a re-authoring of ideas, and dialogues each with a robust sense of self-determination, and with a capacity to be open and fluid to the conversations, political and social contexts circling in the room.

On the first day of The Lab, Stephen and Kate observed that while Australia has been sending artists to Asia for some time, often the collaborations were organisation to organisation. The Lab was an opportunity to prioritise the relationships of independent artists who have been working in the Australian/Asian space for a long time.  Stephen Armstrong noted that, in the absence of any other term, he chose to describe the diverse set of nations, languages and regions as ‘the Asian space’.  It was this combination of the Lab and Next Wave that prompted the Australia Council to schedule the IETM Satellite meeting at the same time, building a place and context for people to make informal connections and just be in the same place at the same time.

Stay tuned for Part Three!