This May the AthenShibari team hosts in Athens the leading rope artist and choreographer, Felix Rückert, from Berlin. Undoubtedly, Felix is one of the most influential and leading figures in the world of Shibari and not only. He has been active for many years, both as a rope artist and a choreographer. Moreover, he has been an organizer of very successful events in the kink field, such as EURIX and X-plore festival.
Who have been your biggest influences in your creative style as far as shibari is concerned? When I started with rope in the nineties, there were no classes here, so I just copied from pictures found in Japanese bondage magazines. I had to be creative from the beginning, just to figure out how the knots were done on the non-visible side of the model. An early influence was also Arisue Go, who strongly encouraged creativity with rope and showed me that also Japanese riggers sometimes do messy and unconventional stuff, as long as it has an overall esthetics. Too much symmetry, order and pretty-ness is often the opposite of „beautiful”.
What do you want to express with your work with ropes?
I am interested in the process of tying, less in the performing and less the pictures. It is the dialogue, the specific resonance that such a power relation can create between two people, the specific situations, sensations and feelings that are triggered, that is interesting for me.
So it less about what I want to express, but what needs to be expressed in a specific encounter, the story that is already there between two people and that wants to be revealed. To find out, to discover, is always challenging and exciting. And when that alchemy happens the result is often beautiful, moving and surprising.
How do you seek out opportunities to learn and grow in the Shibari scene?
I organize rope events myself, such as EURIX in Berlin, so I have the luxury that I can choose the people that I admire and that I want to learn from. http://felixruckert.de/2015/10/01/eurix/But I get lots of inspiration for Shibari also from other art practices. And I just tie lots of different people when ever I have the chance. And I learn from my students as well, every time I teach.
Do you see sexuality and BDSM techniques as a form of art, a way to communicate or something else?
Yes, absolutely, I think BDSM and sexuality can be an art form. Over the last 20 years I designed a toolbox containing seven major qualities, that I believe are essential qualities for artistic creation as well as for successful BDSM scenes: Presence, Attitude, Determination, Resonance, Devotion, Humor and Grace. The lecture explains these qualities in detail and will hopefully be organized in Athens, while I am there in May. Last winter I toured Europe with this lecture, you find it online, if you wish to get an idea: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2uxoN7mY5KI
Shibari is becoming more and more popular not only as a BDSM practice, but also for its artistic aspect. Is it possible to be a good shibari rigger or model and not have an erotic passion for it?
In my view an „erotic passion“ can be expressed in many different ways. Something looking very technically might be actually very hot for the people involved. So I would be careful to judge what is „erotic” and what is not. I am all for diversity. For me personally it depends strongly on my rope partner and the situation. Sometimes the creative excitement is more important than the sexual excitement, sometimes it is the opposite. I would say: Of course you can be a great rigger or model without any erotic passion or arousal, but – what a pity!
You will be giving your well-known speech “Sexpositive spaces: The living room tour” in Athens. Does this speech address a specific audience, like kink-oriented people? No, the lecture is conceived for all, any curious adult is welcome. I talk mostly of really simple things, that every one can relate to. It is indeed a very good theoretical introduction to the universe of creative sexuality and BDSM practices, but to artistic creation as well… It will be in English, but I hope some one might be able to translate simultaneously to greek..
What should people expect to learn from your speech?
Well, basically I say that there is no normative sexuality, but as many divers sexualities as there are people: everyone has the right to discover, develop and practice what turns them on, as long as it’s done consensually. Then I advocate the creation of sex positive spaces where creative sex can be practiced publicly, as a way to combat shame and guilt about sexuality and in order to learn and practice consense, empathy, communication and creativity. And to have pleasure and find ecstasy!
Felix in his visit will do a 2-days workshop in creative shibari, but also a performance with a very special character: Felix will appear on stage with two girls and will do a live demonstration of negotiation between the model and the rigger on the spot. Apart from his activities regarding Shibari, will also do his famous speech “Creating Sex Positive Spaces – Felix Ruckert’s Living Room Tour”, with the support of AthenShibari, AMOQA and other queer/lgbtqi+/kink positive groups. More about these events can be found at Athens Shibari