Conference at London

(U K)
Presented by SAMPAD,(Founder-Director, Ms Piali Ray)
February 2000 Presentation by Anita Ratnam: The Challenges of Interculturalism and Collaboration

The Challenges of Interculturalism and Collaboration - An Excerpt

Collaboration for me has been the politics of "inclusion". The automatic recognition of the 'other' is not to presume that it is in any way inferior to mine, but it is an equal. The journey I must confess was not without its own dangers... When I first started an international collaboration project in choreography, I presumed that my culture was superior to my partner collaborator. My malaise was evident although I did not know it at that time. I was suffering from an acute case of moral piety. That was in 1993.

By the time it was 1997 I had travelled well along the highway of multiculturalism and devoured western arts council terminology and all the anxiety of grant proposals which forced artistes to find collaborators in order to survive even if they honestly did not want to do so...

In each of my collaborations, some of which have been miserable disasters and others euphorically successful, I felt like I was floating in a bed of quicksand, unstable but still moving from one cultural domain to another with ease. For me, to live in the process of collaboration is to live in the domain of ideas, for ideas are the property of humanity.

My work has already been intersected by a German composer, a Puerto Rican actor, an Argentinian musician, a Canadian photographer, an American choreographer, a Singaporean Director, a Tamil sculptor, a Native American poet...

Today artists dare to cross intellectual frontiers as casually as geographic ones... The cultivation of worldliness can only deepen and make more radical the idea of collaborations, openly welcoming the wandering eye of the traveller to be more than a cultural tourist... not just make a work of art but to open in the space of the two hours a window on their culture.

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