Iwan Wijono predicts disaster. He told the audience that he sees calamity in coming in the year 2020. We need to be prepared. I see it too--the depletion of fish stocks, the erosion of the agricultural land reserves, and the erosion of third world cultures as they become enslaved to produced the cheap labor that feed and clothes us. Given the pressures of overpopulation and global warming, I can see more potential for natural and economic collapse.
Wijono is a successful international artist, but his business card says he is a healer. One day last week he offered to heal my twisted back in the café where we were sitting. I sat with my eyes closed and he projected his healing energy over me and then encouraged me to do this for myself. He has offered to do a healing circle in Centre A, if we can get this together before he leaves.
Thursday night, As Iwan Wijono lay on the table to have his blood taken, he invited people to come closer, not that they needed much encouragement. The crowd swarmed in on him and without hesitation they were taking photos and videos on cell phone and digital cameras, and at least one vintage Leica. People snapped, then immediately showed the photos to the friend standing next to them, as if the live event had to be mediated by technology in order to be legitimized. It seemed to be a normalized practice in this space: cocktail party seguewaying seamlessly in and out of performance. (This is exactly the kind of performance that is very popular in Vancouver right now.) The chance to give blood was to become an active participant in the performance, creating an intimate link with the performer who thanked each one individually. Four volunteers were people that had been approached ahead of time and came to the performance knowing they would donate blood. Others spontaneously became donors. In fact, although I had not been asked directly, Iwan told me the day before not to be afraid of the blood in his performance, as they were hiring a trained nurse. The night of the performance, he said it again. "Don't be afraid to give blood, Lori."
As I read it, this gesture of giving blood could be read as emergency preparedness on a practical and spiritual level. The city of Vancouver is always giving out reminders that the stored blood supply is running low, so that if there ever was a major disaster we'd be caught unprepared for a large number of casualties. According to Wijono, we are going to need to be prepared for the worst. He should know. Recently, his village in Java was devastated by an earthquake. In April 2006 he brought in artists to help rebuild the village's houses and an bridge. He invited foreign artists to perform alongside the people who live there and who are in the process of reviving their own traditional culture.
More LIVE5: To Iwan Wijono Photo Set