11 October – Last day for the artists – we meet for the Sharing Session in the basement of the Contemporary Art Centre in Baku’s old town. The artists are delighted that we gave them until 11.00 to get up. See Miha SON:DA’s what I heard…
Chris asked each member of the group three questions:
What is their practical evaluation of the Xpedition – what could be done differently in the future? What about the content of the experience: what did they see, feel, experience? And are there any proposal for project or ideas for productions coming out of the experience?
Everyone agreed that it had been a long trip and quite exhausting: 16 days 3 countries. But many said that they thought it had been extremely good.
In terms of problems or changes that should be brought in for the future there was a general desire to have what became called ‘basecamps’ – less travelling and longer stops in one place (three days) with shorter trips to nearby places. May be the idea of a ‘travel’ day would be better than travelling nearly every day.
The group was fairly split on whether single or double rooms should be used – some liked their own space, others would be happy to share one or two times on the route: all part of the experience of an Xpedition.
In order to get to know the place, good translation was crucial – and good local guides were vital. Some felt that had missed a deeper engagement with the locals.
Everyone agreed that driving in Georgia and Azerbaijan was scary! And although there had been good food there was too much of it: the hospitality of the region had been overwhelming. A few pointed out that the best meal we had had was the dumplings in Telavi – very simple and authentic.
As for the outcomes of the two trips (North and Caucasus) there was a lot bubbling under the surface – small groups and partnerships had already been formed and ideas were being discussed. We shall see the results in January 2012.
The meeting broke up and people had some spare time before a much gentler dinner at Caravan Saray in the ‘Caves’ under the building.
Then we all adjourned to the roof of one of our hotels for a final drink under a full moon that shone down on Baku.