It was full on! Here's the rundown:
10am we meet at the museum. Its still raining from yesterday. Radu tells me that last night when we all parted, on his way home he found that all hell had broken lose in Bucharest due to (actual) hail and ice and the down hill parts of the city were a mess. It seems I cannot escape cold rainy miserable weather. In Edinburgh and Buenos Aires this year it was just the same. But, hell, we're inside (hahaha) making art so, I tell myself to suck it up, there's plenty of coffee.
11am we start our tour of all the spaces that we will be able to intervene. We head towards the museum entrance but instead of ascending the staircase, we go out the back door to a brick court yard and head towards a tiny doorway labeled Biblioteca in jaunty lettering. It's the archive, storage and restoration building for museum artifacts. We are really really about to be INSIDE places no one patron of the museum has ever seen! I have to duck to not hit my head on the short door frame as we all descend a few steps and land in a white tile hallway. Nothing too exciting about this I'm thinking. And then Ana announces that this is one of the performance areas. hmmm. What can one do here? I'll have to think long and hard of some magical fix to spruce up this bland environment to make it remotely theatrical.
We take the tiny elevator to the second floor. A terrace! and a room full of looms where someone is in the middle of weaving several beautiful things -- from a large wall tapestry to a small throw rug. The calendar is in German. There is poem in romanian about a flower and photos of a women. Perhaps the weaver? This room is lush with stimulus but the Terrace! wow. the roof is a desert landscape of black tar. I can see it now. One lone actors sitting in the middle of the vast blackness. Ohh--what might they say. There is an open doorway that you can only access by walking along the roof. It is a perfect frame. So theatrical. Who will stand here? What might they say? We all dream a long time in that space. And then, we move on to the top floor and the Pièce de résistance- the watch tower. You can see ALLLLLLL Bucharest from here including the main government building from which I'm told the police will shoot you if they don't have permission to be on the tower. No one is quite sure if we have clearance. Or rather if anyone has told the police this yet. Oh my oh my the things we can do here.
All in all we visit 3 workshops, intrude on 2 offices, peek into numerous doors, closets, storages, hear a few stories from the museum director, talk with the oldest employee of the museum- a metal restorer, to a wooden objects restorer who says the most profound sh*t like " I only try to find what the object express. That guides my hand. " and " You might do more damage to it trying to fix it. You have to pay close attention not to harm the object more than time itself has done." Thats kinda a good philosophy with people too, i think. And maybe a good missive for this collaboration. I come back to the hallway we started in. The White tiled surface. The white walls. I can see so much more of it now-- the elegant forest green bench waiting for a lone actor to sit on it. The glass pane doors that are now open but closed create a provocative forces perspective that feels like a Roman Polanski Film set. Dropped ceiling, peeling paint, exposed duct work, a strange sink floating in the middle of the hallway. It feels old and heavy with story. I love this space! I just had to pay close attention. I would have done harm trying to "fix it". Or at least missed the opportunity to tell the story that beckons from the walls itself by imposing my own. Thanks Mr. wood restorer about the reminder, to pay close attention and to let the expression of the object to guid my work.