Overhear Paris, and other pre-conference activities (64 – 66)

Will I ever get tired of fall foliage? No, no I will not.

I think by now it should be relatively obvious that any time I do a post on a clump of days like this, it’s because I’ve been reading all day. Of course.

Last-minute prep for Boston has been contributing to this as well. Before anyone asks: yes, it feels weird to be going back. No, I don’t necessarily think I’m going to break down. But who knows.

In any case, today, at least, proved a good final distraction before conference prep, editing, and packing got in the way.

Visions in red.

First, a visit to the Palais de Tokyo to check out the expo Medusa bijoux et tabous (Medusa, jewelry and taboo) before it closes on the 5th. As the name suggests, the primary focus was on jewelry, but more specifically, the different ways in which jewelry is used or appropriated by the wearer not only to create, affirm, or subvert an identity, but also establish or undermine cultural norms and values. I’ve never really given much thought to how my own choices in jewelry are/can be seen as a reflection of myself – as my style/preferences have changed frequently throughout the years –, but maybe next time I’m getting ready in the morning, I’ll take some time to examine what it means to have so many pieces shaped like triangles.  

No lie, would probably actually wear this if given the chance.

The evening’s second event was more in line with my usual wheelhouse of artistic interests, namely experimental/experiential theatre. About a week ago, a friend posted a link to It’s Not a Box Theatre’s Overhear Paris project, a theatrical experience advertised as an interactive walk through part of Nation, punctuated by periodic performances. The first night of performances was this evening, and, as I have been doing for pretty much every show I end up going to and as this would be my only chance to see this, I pretty much said, why the hell not and signed up for a slot.

The way it works is that you show up to a designated meeting spot (in my case, just outside metro Avron), where someone from the troupe will meet you and hand you a phone – having a good set of headphones is a plus for this, but they can provide those as well – with a preloaded app open and ready to guide you along your journey. At your start time – only one person can take the walk per slot – the app is launched, and a recording starts guiding you along the designated route. Every so often, you come across a performer, who also has a phone with the app preloaded, and when you do, your phones pair up, and their narrative starts playing as they in turn – through dance and gesture – perform their story in front of you. It’s a strange sort of intimacy that happens when you have a situation like this where two people, seemingly isolated with their headphones on, are in fact connected via virtual and corporeal transmission of a narrative. In any case, there were moments where I couldn’t help but also watch some of the passerby who stole sometimes intrigued, sometimes confused glances at what was going on.

The theme of the show was on immigration, expatriation, generally, leaving one’s home to move abroad, and the trials and tribulations that come with it. At the end of the show, once you turn your phone back in, the team asks if you would like five minutes to share your story. Which I did.

If anyone reading this is currently in Paris, the show is still on for a few more performances. I highly recommend checking it out if you have the chance.

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