23 February 2012

World Puppetry Day 2012 Message

Three puppeteers hanging at Hanging Rock, Australia: Steve Scott (left), Joan Baixas (centre) and Gary Friedman (right)

A very special message has been released by UNIMA in plenty time for our next 'World Puppetry Day' which takes place on 21 March 2012. This year it was written by master-puppeteer and dear friend from Barcelona, Joan Baixas. You can find my previous blogs about Joan Baixas here and here.

"With a firm gesture we put aside newspapers, switch off newscasts and propose a toast to the art and the brotherhood, today is a festive day, we celebrate the World’s Day of Puppetry.

We cannot forget about the grief, the painful reality of mishaps and penuries troubling the world, but exactly because we do not want to forget, we commit ourselves to celebrate human dignity, the insatiable zeal of men to strengthen life against misfortune and death.

Art is a hymn to this dignity, bringing together in continuous tides past and future generations, cultures and clans, by poetry. Art establishes complicity of views between persons who are marvelling together, creator and spectator, about the exploration of the unknown. Every artistic act is a disturbing grain of sand in the gearing of reality.

The art of puppetry is leading towards these objectives at a fair speed. Every time we animate a character we sign a declaration of independence. As an unruly child of the arts of images and words, of interpretation and narration, the marionette reinforces the commitment to innocence, place of happiness and also calls for the other extreme, cruelty.
Innocence is important, is harmonious and fertile, as testified by Jarry or Kurosawa, MirĂ³ or Arseniev and many others.

For cruelty one only has to take measures of the costume and look in the face with sarcasm.

“ The animal lives in nature like the water in the water” (M. Eliade). The marionette lives in the imaginary like the water in the water. A territory where reason verges on the flows of the animal and vegetal kingdoms, of earth and water, the imaginary is the energy reserve of people and tribes and the marionette plays there freely like a king, does not analyse, does not intervene, prospers.

“The differentiating feature of the human animal is the animation and the first animation which made men are the gods. Animation makes us to persons.” (P. Sloterdijk). The sharpness of this philosophical reflection pervades the mood in the main act of the puppeteer: to give life to the inanimate and to convene people around this sorcery.

Already some years ago, a handful of puppeteers had the wise idea to create an organization to strengten international exchange. Unima, already turned into a consolidated reality and extended all over the world, is now more than ever necessary to manage the professional efforts regarding the objectives of the art and human dignity.

So, we praise the gods for granting us this profession, we thank our grandfathers for creating Unima and we celebrate the magnificence of the art of the imaginary, we bring a toast to the marionette. Friends, let’s have a GREAT PARTY!"
To link to Joan Baixas' website, click here!

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