Performance at Goethe Institut

One of the best things about parkour is that it is one's own perspective of looking at things. I am always excited about the shift in my point of view that happens every time I experience something new which is slightly outside the parkour universe. One such experience happened during our performances in Goethe institute as part of the art collective basement 21.

Climbing a forty foot wall using a scramble net, like the ones used on ships, was a challenge by itself. The driving force behind the pause/play event - which was the name of the two-day event in Goethe Institut - wanted parkour professionals to climb the net. It was a risky climb as there were no safety ropes or riggings to arrest a person's fall.

But the rigor of parkour training was familiar to these artists and they were quite comfortable with us climbing the net. There were five of us who were supposed to move up and down the net in time to a musical score created by acclaimed sax musician Maarten and performed by his musical quartet. Each musician was assigned one climber who had to move on the net, according to the notes played by the musician.

The music itself was not what we were used to hearing as the instruments were made to produce sounds that were short bursts on pipes and strings. There was no harmony or rhythm, but it was still considered a score and it was fun to watch these musicians push the boundaries of music in their own way.

It was a lot of fun figuring out how to secure the net and how to move on it without causing too much sway. It was even more challenging as there were five people at a time on the net. But having trained so hard at parkour, all the traceurs found it quite comfortable.

Even though the concept of the climb was open to the interpretation for the viewer, what surprised me most was that I could see movement from a perspective that I hadn't envisioned before. We did it more than four times over a period of two days and towards the end I could sense a shift in many things within my mind.

Even though the purpose of the event was to interrupt the proceedings of the Goethe Institut, I am quite glad to say that it was my thought process that got interrupted.

- Prabu