Review: Journey To The East Festival

Jian Yi’s inaugural festival Journey To The East features a series of performances from international artists, films, workshops and talks. I look at Saturday, the second day of the festival.

Sin Wai Kin Photo:Ivy Tzai

Film Highlights at the CCA

There is a lot to enjoy in the film selection, particularly with an anthropological leaning. A vintage Horizon episode from the BBC, called Pidgin, takes a look at African diaspora and language, and there’s an elegiac performance film, Dry Leaf, from Breathing Forest Dance Theatre, an Indonesian troupe who fuse Butoh with breathtaking vocal work and instrumentation.

Jing Xie ‘s playfully provocative GSA film Lady, Escalator and Hand is like a deadpan sociological experiment, as she glides up an escalator in a shopping mall with her hand out, ready to connect with strangers. Having being conducted in Glasgow, it’s fair to say results are varied.

Raimundas Malasauskas and Marcos Lutyens’ Guggenheim film takes an existential, hypnotic float through the gallery, recalibrating the space entirely.

Sin Wai Kin (fka Victoria Sin) presents the Scottish premiere of If I Had The Words To Tell You We Wouldn’t Be Here Now, a languid drag meditation on the limitations of language and the desire to be close. It’s beautiful, otherworldly and timely.


Frederic Gies.Photo: Tiu Makkonen

Meanwhile, over in the Southside of Glasgow in a gallery space, something is stirring. An ominous grey blob in the corner of the room shudders to life, turning into a giant inflatable foot. Two legs are poking out. These belong to dancer Frederic Gies, who emerges slowly, then with immense control, dexterity and poise, throws balletic shapes to the brilliant, gathering bass storm of Berghain resident DJ Fiedel.

Gies skilfully works the entire room, sometimes punkish, sometimes Puckish, locking eyes with everyone. On occasion they seem weightless, at other times a sinewy blur of tattooed flesh. As the techno picks up in pace, the crowd follow this incredible dancer, and the party begins. It’s exciting and unique, part durational performance, part club night.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s