Yesterday a few of us decided (pretty much at the last minute) to head down to FUN Party, the opening ceremony for the 2009 Beijing Art Festival, at the 798 Art Zone.
We got there pretty late in the day and missed a few DJs and some of the new media works. Arriving there, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I was however disappointed at the general lack of video based works. As for the video works themselves, they were controlled by 3 artists, one using Max/MSP, another using Ableton, and the last one was using an unidentified piece of software that looked like a basic video mixing desk.
As evening came, the DJ started laying down some minimal techno. It was nothing particularly new nor ground breaking, but it was still enjoyable regardless. The dance floor (which was basically just the courtyard in front of the DJ booth) started to liven up with dancing revellers. I was beginning to wish that I had my contact staves with me.
We finished our beers and decided that it was time to get in on some of the action. By this time there was a little circle forming around a few dancers (one of which decided to take his top off). And I guess in the same party spirit, 2 of my friends and myself decided to jump into the fray topless. As they say, “if you’ve got it, flaunt it”. So now the crowd was being treated to 3 circus bodies on the dance floor, and out came the cameras.
Somehow a conga line formed. It was rather odd witnessing a conga line forming to minimal techno. When it finally stopped, we were left with a large circle with us at the edge. And the crowd was looking to us to see what was going to happen next.
What proceeded next was just fuelled by pure adrenaline. 2 of the group were taking turns performing acrobatic tricks, another was doing some breaking and dancing. There was also someone else in the crowd who’d come up and do some dancing and a even did small Wushu demonstration. It was almost like a mini battle.
Then, I took a breath, removed my shirt yet again, and asked for another shirt. I began walking slowly towards the middle of the circle, a shirt in each hand, dangling from my fingers. The DJ seemed to have picked up that something was happening and the music changed subtly, almost signalling an intro. By now I was in the middle of the circle, arms outstretched. I took another deep breath, and something took over. Filled with an energy that I haven’t really felt since performing fire at Woodford 2008⁄09, I launched into some freeform Poi spinning with the shirts. It was simple, but intense. I played with the crowd, fed off the energy and vibe, and replied with a greater intensity. The crowd went wild.
I left the floor and my companions took over again who finished off with a little bit of acrobalance. And the crowd went wild once again.
And just as quickly as we burst onto the dance floor, we disappeared back into the crowd, high fives and pats on the back from strangers all round as we made our quick escape.
Unfortunately for us, we were too caught up in the spontaneity of everything that none of us took out our cameras. But there’s no doubt that somewhere out there, exists footage and pictures of our crazy antics.