During the past months we were presenters at different shibari festivals in Europe: The International Prague Shibari Festival, the Kink&Ropes in Stuttgart and the Eurix (European Rigger and Model Exchange) XIII. We have done a lot of km, moving in our camper from one side to the other and meeting a lot of interesting people on the way.
Eurix is probably the most important ropes festival in Europe, and it's not focused exclusively on shibari but on all kinds of Bondage. It has been an honor to be called for the second time as presenters (we were already in 2016 in the VIII edition). The new space is beautiful, in Holzmarkt. A huge theatre with several additional rooms for practice and teaching. We shared accommodation with Billie Rose & Kitty Rhea, from Romania, who also presented, and with some other friends. And as the same weekend Eurix started we had workshops in Prague, we had to do all the way to Berlin in one afternoon, but it was a lot of fun because we did it with Czech friends.
The first day is used for presentations, consent talks and "Get in touch" workshops where you can meet other event attendees. Anton did his famous workshop of putting people in groups depending on certain statistical data, such as how many times you had come to Eurix, and it was a lot of fun. Then we did the blindfold workshop that was so successful last year and that people had asked us to repeat.
In this workshop, focused on improving communication and understanding consent from a feedback point of view, the whole group (we were about 50-60 people) is divided into riggers and models, and all riggers are blindfolded. Then the rest of the assistants walk among them for one minute and choose with whom to tie. There can be no verbal communication. The riggers don't know who they are tying with and at the end of the exercise the models can choose between leaving or staying. If they leave, the person who has been tying will not know with whom they have done so. This is the first of the three exercises that we do and the results and the round of feedback from the attendees were super satisfactory. It is very interesting to see how the couples (although there were also trios of ropes!) interact with the greatest of care, using only non-verbal and non-visual communication. You learn to listen a lot to what the other person has to say through touch, breathing, movement, reactions...
The rest of the days we were teaching different practical blocks oriented to creativity, improvisation, kuzushi, and to improve our sessions of ropes and communication in original forms. The first workshop we gave was called "10 fast exercises to think out of the box and break the rules". We expected a limited attendance, as there were quite interesting workshops at the same time (which we missed, it's the disadvantage of being presenting), but when we got to the red room, it was completely full, there was no room for anyone else, and there were people watching (and drawing!). We did 12 exercises at the end, which were incredibly fun. Each exercise was tricky and sought to encourage lateral thinking and creativity. Some results were amazing, and people laughed a lot. But much better, we received a lot of comments over the next few days from people who called the workshop "mind-changing".
Another disadvantage of being a presenter is that I need a lot of time to prepare, organize and design the workshops. I can't appear in space without having things moderately prepared, even if I'm going to talk about improvisation. I will improvise in the ties, but I want to have a set of contents that works perfectly. That means that the time we are not presenting, we use it mainly to prepare and work on the contents. That's one of the reasons, among others, why in this Eurix we haven't taken photos or videos of the performances.
Another workshop we gave that was quite successful was "3 methods to be creative". In which 3 different approaches are explored, combinable with each other, to obtain practical creative results in rope structures.
The workshop "Asymmetrical harnesses for upper body suspension" also worked very well and received good feedback. And it was very interesting to see people putting it into practice on the Rope Jam.
On Friday we gave a joint workshop Saara Rei + Margot + Yo, with the support of Collete & Soptik on "Trolling your model" which was very fun and had many attendees, including the famous artist The Veterinarian doing an illustration of what was going on. In this workshop we explained the concept of "trolling" (always in a positive way, though) and how to use it to improve the rope sessions we have. Again, lateral thinking, mindfuck, playing with words, concepts, context and audience. We made 6 categories with many subcategories and used from absurd objects, cultural references related to shibari, to the audience, audio recordings of important riggers, shame, etc. Some of the ideas were so successful that there are now specific fetishes in fetlife, such as Alex Nawa Ronin's audio recording saying "you suffer so beautifully" referring to semenawa. That by the way there were people using in their sessions...
Of the rest of the workshops, I especially liked those of Saara Rei + Butterfly and Billie Rose + Kitty Rhea, but I'm sorry I couldn't attend more. Nawa Ronin's workshop on semenawa was very interesting and it was a pleasure to be able to share the event with Corso and Vir, which was the first time they went to Eurix, and with Peonía, who was always happy from one side to the other.
The final party was a lot of fun and we had an incredibly nice rope session that I will remember all my life. Although that day was difficult for many other reasons. I am very excited when people tell us that they like very much the workshops we give, but even more so when they tell us that our rope sessions inspire them. 🙂
And one of the biggest discoveries of this year was the sushi place in front of the Chinese embassy in Berlin. I don't know how many times we ate there but I miss it a lot.
Another positive thing about the event was the number of workshops we have been asked to give in different parts of the world. If all goes well, next 2019 we will be even less in Spain, and we will give our first workshop outside Europe 🙂 Wish us luck. Next year there will be many surprises and projects. 🙂