Renowned British shibari expert Bruce Argue, aka Esinem, and Resistance Gallery’s Garry Vanderhorne have teamed up to present the first London Festival of the Art of Japanese Bondage at the end of June.
Taking place Thursday–Sunday June 25–28 at Resistance Gallery in Bethnal Green, it promises “an illuminating, educating and fun weekend of events featuring all aspects of kinbaku/shibari — the traditional and modern art of Japanese rope bondage”.
“The London Festival of the Art of Japanese Bondage is a totally unique experience,” reckons Vanderhorne. “We are presenting and promoting kinbaku as an artistic inspiration, a performance art in its own right and as a means of erotic communication, while sharing knowledge about its history and its cultural context.”
This packed four-day event is the first of its kind in the UK and is expected to become an annual high-brow sensual-sensational highlight of the summer calendar.
Whether you’re advanced, competent or just curious about bondage, the festival promises culture, knowledge, entertainment and hands-on fun “for everyone who has ever played with rope or even just had ideas about it”.
Festivities begin on Thursday June 25 with the Salon of Kinbaku, 8pm-12am.
The respected British artist and performer known as Nawashi Murakawa hosts a journey through traditional Japanese rope bondage (kinbaku) in the form of an instructional life-drawing salon.
This master class offers participants the opportunity to capture, in the medium of their choice, a variety of traditional kinbaku positions demonstrated by Murakawa’s M-jo or model. All ability levels should benefit from Murakawa’s years of practical illustration and rope bondage experience.
Meanwhile on the upper floor, Esinem and his M-jo will provide photographers with the chance of continuously shooting a variety of unusual bondage positions.
Friday 26 is devoted to the Art of Japanese Rope Bondage exhibition between 8pm and midnight.
Mixing paintings, drawings, sculpture, ceramics, philosophy, print, fashion and music, this event will feature special kinbaku shows and butoh performance.
Friday’s free exhibition will mix paintings, drawings, sculpture, ceramics, philosophy, print, fashion and music with kinbaku and butoh
A perfect chance to meet and greet the weekend’s performers, artists and practitioners, this event will feature all aspects of the art of Japanese rope bondage, including the UK’s first ever showing of Yoshitoshi’s woodblock print, Lonely House On Adachi Moor, from 1885.
Contributors include Esinem, Nawashi Murakawa, Mark Varley, Manuel Vason, Jamie McCartney, Patalab, Mark Boyce, Rod MacDonald, Ben Newman, Armando De’Ath, Perou, Shadow, Lee Harrington, Bobette and more.
Saturday 27 is the festival’s Day of Shibari. From noon to 6pm, a series of workshops and classes promises to enhance bondage-related skills for everyone from the novice to the advanced.
Talks and demonstrations from some of the world’s leading authorities on the art will include Speed Bondage by Zamil (former student of Osada Steve); Bondage Photography by Rod MacDonald; Pegology by peg-bondage specialist Ellie The Nomad; and Tying People, Not Parcels by Esinem.
Last but not least, there’ll be a ‘rope-for-all’ in the dojo, with its cushioned floor and multiple suspension points, where you can tie or be tied, with expert advice on hand.
Later on Saturday 27, the Night Of The Rope party (10pm-4am) is billed as “the big rope party with an international cast of top bondage performers throughout the night”.
The evening promises a blend of rope, butoh, zentai, and “suspension meets Jackson Pollock”(!) with a list of artists and performers that includes Esinem, Nawashi Murakawa, Shadow, Empress Victoria, Amrita, Master Cosmic, Marc and Jess of BeShibari, Mamzelle Maz, Miss Miranda, Syban V Manticore and more to be announced.
If you still have any energy left at the end of all that, then Sunday 28’s Day of Chishiki and Tanoshii (Knowledge and Fun) could be just the thing for you.
Starting at 2pm, there’ll be presentations on tying skills, history of kinbaku, a Q&A panel session on “What do you get from bondage?” and other topics, plus Japanese market, food, shiatsu massages, acupuncture and more.
From 7pm to 11pm there’ll be screenings of Japanese art bondage movies, showing the likes of Osada Steve and grand-master Akechi Denki at work, and including Bakushi: The Incredible Lives of The Rope-Masters.
STOP PRESS: Eagle-eyed London event-watchers will have noticed that Friday 26’s bondage fun at Resistance coincides with Club AntiChrist’s fifth birthday party at Club Colosseum.
Happily, rather than expecting us to choose between one event and the other, the two promoters have teamed up to offer incentives to attend both events — something perfectly feasible given that the bondage fest finishes at midnight and AntiChrist goes on until well past dawn!
Check the info panel on the right for details of tickets and weekend passes for the individual Bondage Festival events and the AntiChrist “afterparty’ offer.