January 8th, 2010
Thanks to the wishes for my returned good health by many friends, I felt much better today. In fact, I feel better than I felt the day before the surgery, although I feel weak, I feel very little pain.
I met another Fulbrighter, Joji, for coffee and a chat about research and otherwise spent the day taking care of my body.
Tomorrow I will meet my 개전연 Gaejeonyeon friends and we'll catch a bus to 임실필봉농악 Imshil Pilbong Nongak's training center. I have too many things to carry- I don't know how I'll manage to get to the bus. I'm excited for 24/7 research over the next week. I'll try to update my blog from the field.
Here is an excerpt for something I am writing about intensive training camps like this one (Comments welcome):
The camps are a strong community building experience. As Kwon explains, the intense and isolated environment of the camps is "especially conducive to the cultivation and embodiment of certain alternative Korean subjectivities.” (Kwon 2005: 207). In her 2008 book The Gei of Geisha, Kelly Foreman describes the relationship between the geisha and patron who play music together as an experience of time-travel. The two recreate an instance that could be of the past. Search for an imagined past, a time when things are perceived to be in some way preferable to today, or as a break from everyday reality, is a recreational alternative preferred by many people including in America the Civil War re-enactors and members of the Society for Creative Anachronism. Koreans often search in the performance environment for a state of communal heightened consciousness called shinmyeong. Shinmyeong, or combined with the verb 'release', shinmyeong puli, has been compared in the works of performance scholar Cho Dong-il to rasa in India or catharsis (1997, 2005, 2006). It is a state of ecstatic near-abandon that is arrived at in a group, but provides catharsis for each individual who attains the shinmyeong state. Shinmyeong, brought to life through audience/performer interaction, is the acme of what Victor Turner (1969) terms spontaneous communitas. A Korean traditional performance in many folk genres can be considered unsuccessful if the performers have not generated shinmyeong. Expressing shinmyeong, letting loose with abandon, characterizes much of Korean folk cultural participative performance, including mask dance dramas such as Goseong Ogwangdae and drumming and dancing music like Imshil Pilbong Nongak.