Monday, 8 March 2010

Tuesday 23.2. Narration and storytelling

Let me tell you a story.

A long long time ago in the days of King Adara the realm met with mortal peril. Then the King sought the rabbi Malachi and asked for his help. Rabbi Malachi went to the secret place in the forest, performed the secret rite and spoke the secret words, and thus the peril was averted.

Time passed, and in the days of King Lev a peril threatened the realm again. The king sent for rabbi Bracha and asked for his help. "We have forgotten the place, but we still know the rite and the words; that will have to be enough", said the rabbi; and it was.

Time passed again, and in the days of King Chaim there was another peril. Rabbi Kelila said: "We have forgotten the place, and we do not know the rite, but we still remember the words; that will have to be enough". And it was.

And time passed, and King Isaiah had to send for rabbi Hadar to avert a mortal peril. Then said rabbi Hadar: " We have forgotten the place, we do not know the rite, and we do not remember the words. But we can still tell the story, that will have to be enough!". And, it was.

Storytelling is a basic human function, a way of creating community, of sharing and transmitting experience, of giving meaning to the world and its happenings. It is a powerful way of molding the world.

We also went through some basic points in Walter Benjamin's Storyteller.

And then watched Shunji Iwai's Swallowtail_Butterfly, where the global metropolis is the wind in the sails of the story: "Once upon a time, when the yen was the most powerful force in the world, the city overflowed with immigrants, like a gold rush boom town. They came in search of yen, snatching up yen. And the immigrants called the city Yentown. But the Japanese hated that name. So they referred to those yen thieves as Yentowns. It's a bit puzzling, but "Yentown" meant both the city and the outcasts. If they worked hard, earned a pocketful of yen, and returned home, they were rich men. It sounds like a fairy tale, but it was a paradise of yen, "Yentown". And this is the story of Yentowns in Yentown."

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