Magdalena Festival: “From A to B, From You To Me” workshop (Day 3-5)

Day 3 – Place #1
Place #1 was where things were supposed to be happening after establishing Home for the groups. Place #1 is somewhere the groups could walk to and they were to meet someone there and initiate some sort of exchange. The groups went out into Maribor and learned quite quickly that guerilla ethnography isn’t as easy as it sounds. Everyone did seem to enjoy the randomness though of either trying to trade a drawing for playing with puppets for 5 minutes or trading information or even photos. They quickly ran into problems, everything from the weather keeping everyone seemingly indoors to not very cooperative Russians. Constant brief revisions and constant self-questioning and looking how to provide direction for themselves conceptually and directionally, seemed to bring the pain a bit.

People, places and trades.

Day 4 – Place #2…kind of

Through yet more coffee-addled and cigarette drenched conversation and confusion about how to link a place you can walk to and a place you can’t walk to through exchanges they soon realised that they can’t know what Place #2 is until they sort out what the exchanges with the different people in the different places are.  Back to the drawing board, but this time they started finally, things seem to be ratcheting up a notch and came out with two really strong ideas.

What is one thing that everyone likes and trades? Jokes. Dead simple, easily transferable, trade-able and quick, jokes seem like one of the most overlooked currencies around. Couldn’t you then have a measurable currency by how funny each joke (unit) is? Could you then maybe start making more complicated trades, 3 mediocre jokes for 1 pretty good joke?

The second concept for the two groups is a littler more complex but quite fascinating actually – signatures. With the recent stalled arbitration and impending referendum on the ongoing Croatian-Slovenian border dispute, and the healthy (some might think volatile) ex-Yugoslav mix of the two groups in the team (2 Croatians, 1 Slovenian, 1 Bosnian, 1 Montenegrin), they started fascinatingly to play with politics. The work in progress with this set of exchanges and places is to give water ‘from Piran Bay’ (the subject of the border dispute) in exchange for signatures for a petition which would then be sent to the parliaments in Slovenia and Croatia. The really great thing I think about this particular idea is the notion of the signature as being not only legally binding somehow, but something valuable for people. Its something extremely easy to do, and something all of us do constantly, but something that you try to be careful about using, something you guard and something you don’t want to get into the wrong hands.

Day 5 – Work in Progress Presentations and Getting Their Hands Dirty

Their hats are made, cameras charged, junk furniture is about and so far so good.