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'C’est Pas La, C’est Par La' connects the Rochester Fringe community 

click to enlarge "C'est Pas La, C'est Par La" at the 2022 Rochester Fringe Festival. - PHOTO BY MATT BURKHARTT
  • PHOTO BY MATT BURKHARTT
  • "C'est Pas La, C'est Par La" at the 2022 Rochester Fringe Festival.
A crowd of nearly one hundred Rochester Fringe Festival attendees bundled up and gathered around a massive, four-mile-long entanglement of twine for “C’est Pas La, C’est Par La (It’s not here, it's over here)" Friday night.

Produced by the arts collective Compagnie Galmae and brilliantly devised by South Korean street artist Juhyung Lee, the “C’est Pas La, C’est Par La” experience connected and empowered its participants, and invited the resulting community to analyze the meaning of “we,” the way they move in a crowd, and the role that they play as an individual in a group setting. The immersive show was inspired by a pro-democracy demonstration Lee attended in Seoul, South Korea.

“C’est Pas La, C’est Par La” began with a bright white light illuminating the twine entanglement. As the light glided through the installation of frayed twine, participants watched as shadows moved and transformed. What began as a subtle buzzing soon amplified into a bustling soundscape of chatter, whistles, and car horns that effectively transported participants into the demonstration that inspired Lee.

One-by-one, Lee picked up the twine-attached bricks and invited spectators to participate. After a few minutes of hesitancy, more people joined in to unravel. As participants maneuvered under and over strands, the venue transformed into a playful atmosphere filled with conversation, collaboration and laughter. And while tangled in the seemingly endless web, some attendees encountered unexpected reunions with friends.
click to enlarge A Rochester Fringe Festival attendee participates in "C'est Pas La, C'est Par La." - PHOTO BY MATT BURKHARTT
  • PHOTO BY MATT BURKHARTT
  • A Rochester Fringe Festival attendee participates in "C'est Pas La, C'est Par La."
As they finished untangling their spool of twine from the web, participants rolled the twine to the far end of the installation, where Lee gathered each spool into a circular pile surrounded by rocks.

Juggling a handful of loose twine, a little boy in a blue hoodie carefully rolled up the final spool. “You can do it,” an audience member in the crowd shouted. With a wide smile, the little boy handed the final spool to Lee. He lit the pile on fire, and the crowd basked in the warmth of the bonfire.

In just 40 minutes, Lee’s demonstration gathered an audience and transformed them into a community. “C’est Pas La, C’est Par La” is truly magical and a moment all Fringe enthusiasts should experience.

There’s another opportunity to catch “C’est Pas La, C’est Par La” for free at 8:30 p.m. Saturday at City Blue Imaging.

This story is part of CITY's partnership with the students of S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications' Goldring Arts Journalism program at Syracuse University.
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