In my project the ‘storyteller voice’ belongs to Alan Watts. He was born in London in 1915 and at a young age became fascinated with the Far East. In 1938 he moved to New York and then to Chicago, where he served as an Episcopal Priest for few years before leaving the Church. In 1950 Alan Watts moved to San Francisco to teach at the Academy of Asian Studies. After leaving the Church, he never became a member of another organised religion. Although he wrote and spoke extensively about Zen Buddhism, but he was criticised by American Buddhist practitioners for not sitting regularly in zazen. Alan Watts responded simply by saying, “A cat sits until it is done sitting, and then gets up, stretches, and walks away.”
In my project I’ll shoot a video of campfire and I’m going to use the voice of Alan Watts talking about ‘The Dream of Life’. He shares himself through his lectures and the audience reveal and share themselves through their reception of the lectures. Listeners also experience the urgency of a creative process taking place in their presence and they experience the empowerment of being a part of that creative process.
Early storytelling combined stories, poetry, music, and dance. Those who excelled at storytelling became entertainers, educators, cultural advisors, and historians for the community. Through storytellers, the history of a culture was handed down from generation to generation.
Storytelling around the fire is an ancient and intimate tradition between the storyteller and their audience. In ancient tradition the storyteller and the listeners were physically close and today we are often alone with our devices and listening or watching different ‘stories’ on internet. Through the telling of the story people were psychically close and today we are separate/alienate trough the ‘technological development’ and most of the time we are spending on social net connection. In my opinion we stopped in some way to develop a connection to one another through the community experience.In the past community storytelling offered the security of explanation about how life and its many forms began and why things happen, as well as entertainment and enchantment. Communities were strengthened and maintained through stories that connected the present, the past and the future. It is likely that oral storytelling has been around as long as human language. Storytelling fulfils the need for human beings to cast their experiences in narrative form. Our ancestors probably gathered around the evening fires and expressed their fears, their beliefs and their heroism through oral narratives. This long tradition of storytelling I would like to continue in NET form.Telling stories is a nurturing act for the listener, who is connected to the storyteller through the story, as well as for the storyteller who is connected to the listeners through the story.
The intimacy and connection is deepened by the flexibility of oral storytelling which allows the tale to be moulded according to the needs of the audience and the location or environment of the telling. Storytelling creates a personal bond with the teller and the audience.
The flexibility of oral storytelling extends to the teller. Each teller will incorporate their own personality and may choose to add characters into the story. As a result, there will be numerous variations of a single story. Some tellers consider anything outside the narrative as extraneous while other storytellers choose to enhance their telling of the tale with the addition of visual and audio tools.
In 1971 Alan Watts recorded a pilot for a new show titled: ‘A Conversation with Myself for NET’ and in 1972 he recorded the shows (with his son Mark and his audio archivist Henry Jacobs) and developed an extensive audio library of nearly 400 talks. Alan Watts died in November 1973, after returning from an intensive international lecture tour.