Today I met a new friend. As a volunteer, Keith spent the day with us, pondering carefully on which of all problems should he put up, there on the screen, to then pummel as hard as he could. He was the oldest participant so far, and one of the most inspirational as well. Keith took most of the day to then decide to publicly confront "some people in authority", which he did with the strength and vitality of a teenager! We both shared our inspiration for the Suffragettes and agreed that there is a massive need to organise and resist - at all times - reminding the institutionalised forms of power what they are there for.
Talitah was also with us. Again, the first hours in the morning are normally slow, and so, it has become a tradition that we have some good conversations during those quieter times, before people come to solve some problems. Talitah works in East London, quite close to where I teach piano. Today she was doing this session with her class on Discrimination. Similarly to how Augusto Boal did with his "Theatre of the Oppressed", she is bringing some theatrical techniques into her classroom in order to enact situations where an array of injustices are not just portrayed, or talked about, but actually performed and actualised. This exercise on hard ethical decision-making eventually makes children revolt against the conditions they are put into, and then, it is much easier for them to refer back to how it felt to have gone through such complicated situations.
Still in the morning, Yamuna came with her two sons, who helped her beat "self-doubt". The first kick was quite telling of her trained skills in doing so. It turns out that she is the owner of a gym and her husband is a professional boxer... I could tell the children were pretty happy to be around flying kicks and some very fierce punches. Dariyan then came with his mom, who helped him realise that one of the things he gets most upset with is his "Ipad getting out of charge". Florence wanted to defeat "mushrooms" and so did Maia afterwards. [I hope that, in their minds, they had dealt with the aversion to mushrooms instead]. Leah, from the cafe, fought "fear of living", and had none by the end, she said. After also telling everyone that she would now resume boxing classes, a big hug made us part with tired bodies but warm hearts. Golda came again to address her "relationship". She used to be a dancer as well, so some moves were just fantastic! I love when the aesthetics of a certain sense of style, the people's personality, and all idiosyncrasies merge unnoticeably with the efficiency and utility aspects of the performance.
Raina confronted her difficulty in "controlling anger" and told me afterwards that the marks she was left with on both her hands will remind her of not having to shout at her kids no more. Rafi came to complain about his older brother, Yoni, who "punches, kicks and pinches" him. Milin and Jasmin did not have much time left, so the solution was to couple up both of their problems together. "Getting annoyed too easily and bad dreams" received the usual treatment. The Berkuvits family helped little Avi dealing with his fear of "ambulances". His mom had to be recently transported in one, so his relationship to such strange wagons had to be dealt with here, so much so, that at a point he took the mom's walking-stick to try and hit the screen as well! Good fun (given that I managed to prevent such major damage in time).
In the end of the day, I cycled to Gants Hill. That's where I teach piano on Fridays. Having returned home, I realised that today I had cycled for hours in total, many of which in a sprint mode. Gods of wellbeing, give me rest now.
When someone says that they have a problem, you imagine perhaps that they are stuck with a complicated situation, that something is tricky, sticky, or even 'funny'. We feel as though life stops before a problem, as things get entangled and cease to work. It is a blockage, a barrier, an insurmountable impossibility!
However, the idea of a problem is actually based on an action and, in fact, a quite physical one. The Greek verb probállō is composed by pro- (forwards) and bállō (to throw). So, in PROBLEM, Rodrigo challenges you to rescue the proactive nature of what problems should be. Throw some punches at your own problems! In this interactive audiovisual installation, name any problem you may have: "My tea is cold", "Brexit gives me headaches", "Loneliness", "Sneaky pesticides in my food", "I can't find my socks", "Social inequality" etc.
Problem is a call to action, and a reminder, for we often forget we have a body; one that is simultaneously physical, biological, animal, social, cultural, political… From the smallest to the biggest, from the simplest to the most complex, abstract or unfathomable, every problem is welcome to be thrown forwards, towards a sense of unity.