Tokyo workshop with Antoine D’Agata
Mike Calcagno
163

Thanks so much for this, Mike. I think it is a cool, accurate account of what took place. Yes, it was like a drug and i think we all do crave more. When I look at the body of Antoine’s work, and after talking to him at some length I am reminded of the role of Shamans in ancient cultures. The Shaman took drugs, and often went through rituals of self harm. The idea was to gain a higher level of consciousness. From that higher level they then brought back knowledge for the tribe. They also, rather as Christ did, took on the burdens/guilt of the tribe and through their rituals (which involved great physical and psychic hardship) mediated between the world of humans and the spirits. To be a Shaman is to suffer, but also to bring relief to others. The Shaman were those did the cave art of the upper paleolithic — those paintings are records of visions, they are probably teh result of some kind of hallucination. Not all photographers have to be shaman, but all real artists must. there is a famous letter written by a young french poet called Arthur Rimbaud lettre du voyant. If you dont read french, it is easy to get an english translation. in this letter he argued that a true poet(artist) would be a seer, someone who can see the future, who can see the deeper forces and patterns underpinning human life. To gain this ability the poet would have to practice a system of ‘deranging his senses’. ie taking drugs, putting oneself in extreme situations, traveling far from our comfort zone. I think this is antoine’s approach. We all had the honor of being able to sample some of it — exhausting yes, but what an experience

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