Indigenous Contemporary Scene
Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2019
Lara Kramer: "I’m concerned with what sensations I can incite and provoke; this is my access to my public, feeding sensations."
NATIVE GIRL SYNDROME
Summerhall 2nd-4th & 7th-11th August at 16:20 | Tickets
THIS TIME WILL BE DIFFERENT
Summerhall 13th-18th August at 16:00 | Tickets
Summerhall 20th-24th August at 16:00 | Tickets
Ojii-Cree dancer and artist Lara Kramer is bringing three works to Summerhall, which run as a chronological progression, exploring the past, present and future; highlighting that to care for the next generation we must look at the past and the cyclical nature of everything being interconnected.
Opening with Native Girl Syndrome, followed by This Time Will Be Different, co-created by Emilie Monnet and concluding with Miijin Ki.
Hello Lara, many thanks for talking to TNC, how are you doing?
I’m doing great, currently trying to take a little downtime after a full year of touring.
Are you looking forward to your run at Edinburgh Fringe this year?
Yes, I am, it is my first time in Edinburgh and the experience I’m anticipating will be full with the presentation of my three works! It will allow me to absorb over a longer period of time the climate of the festival.
You are bringing three works to the fringe this August, what was it about these three pieces that made you want to share them with the fringe audience?
I think in all three shows you see resilience, multiforms and realities of resilience. And expose various layers of the on-going recovery. Without it being pronounced in all shows, there is a through-line of the works being connected to the impact of the trauma of colonialism and the transformation that is experienced through different times, generations and bodies. The presentation of the three distinct works, Native Girl Syndrome, This Time Will be Different and Miijin Ki touches on a progression towards on my past, present and future.
These works are also part of this year's Indigenous Contemporary Scene how did you get involved in this project?
My colleague Emilie Monnet who is the founder and artistic director of Indigenous Contemporary Scene also created and collaborated with me on the work This Time Will be Different. Emilie had been in discussion with me about the presentation of this particular work when the idea was proposed to me of presenting a retrospective of my work.
Do you think more art festivals around Europe should provide this type of unique platform for indigenous artists and voices?
Absolutely. Having international eyes and ears on indigenous artists and voices is a positive action towards allowing us to tell our stories, take back our own narratives. I often hear reactions from international audiences that they were not aware that this is what is happening in Canada.
Can you tell me a little bit about Native Girl Syndrome, This Time Will Be Different & Miijin Ki, what can we expect?
I can speak to what sets the three shows apart from each other. I think there are many things, from topics explored, starting off points in creation-collaborations to personal research projects or community developed project, from objects, sets, textures, sounds, performers and so on. All are enveloping performance installations that are activating time and space with rich landscapes and textures. One aspect that differs notably, is their relationship to the public.
"Self-expression was always fostered."
In Native Girl Syndrome the public is situated in a voyeuristic role/proximity, the awareness of devastating lands, bodies on land becomes acute for the public. In This Time Will be Different, the heart of the work is in community, the performance is activated by the public and performers together. You feel the collective landscape, shockwaves, pride, humility, honour. There is a feeling of community that emerges from the experience with the public. In Miijin Ki, the public is in close relation to the performers, the line of performance and life are raw, blunt, blurred. There is the intention of pleasure causing tension, positive acts of generous tension created. Peaceful acts of tension celebrated that call into question all our relations.
Miijin Ki is a new work in development how does this connect with Native Girl Syndrome, This Time Will Be Different?
I always think of my work creating and leaving a resonance of difficult and raw emotions. Wonderfully disturbing. There is always a feeling of entering the engrossing territory, that something will be consumed and will need time to digest.
I’m concerned with what sensations I can incite and provoke; this is my access to my public, feeding sensations.
Miijin Ki is a work that remains central to this practice however is pushing new territory for me with the intentions of pleasure. We are not cut off from the pendulum of the experience, the effects of extraction of land and indigenous bodies from the land. We see this in the light of the joy.
From audience to artists how important is it for us to reflect in the past in order for us to build a better future?
All are interconnected and the more profound our connection to our past is we will have the knowledge, awareness to better support the future generations.
Have you always had a passion for the arts?
Yes, I was born into an artistic family. My mother is a painter and my father a musician. Self-expression was always fostered.
"The parameters of the work will continue to set boundaries or specific tasks, actions will be anchored in specific intentions."
When did you first release you wanted to create your own innovative and through-providing work?
When I was in my final year of study for contemporary dance in 2007. I was asked to find mobility of my past and it’s as if the flood gates were opened.
What drives this creativity you have?
My work is confronting myself, it is a practice of survival. The drive is for transformation.
How important, for works like this, is the collaborative nature for artists?
It’s very much central to the practice and process. The works are intimate, demanding, confronting and all spirits are in fully. I believe the collaboration process is necessary for the creative building, manifestation of the work.
When a show is running will much change or are you able to leave it without tweaking it too much?
My work is always in flux. It is living, breathing and needs to remain in a space where it can transform and evolve. The parameters of the work will continue to set boundaries or specific tasks, actions will be anchored in specific intentions. However, there is a lot of freedom for the material inside to change in hues like on a colour spectrum.
If you could choose three words to describe these works what would they be?
Dignity, beauty and feast.
For any emerging indigenous artists out there do you have any advice you could offer them?
To continue to persevere, surround yourself with other indigenous artists young and old who inspire you.
And finally, what do you hope your Edinburgh audiences will take away from your works?
I’m not sure. I aim to have the public be in a place of discovery, continued discovery and take time to digest what is seen, felt, heard.