Archive for September, 2014

Seeing, Articulating, and Borges again.

Friday, September 26th, 2014

Of the four modes that Sally Banes writes about in her “On Your Fingertips” article about dance criticism, I feel most easily aligned with the descriptive and interpretive modes. I see within the absence of those preferences my struggle with evaluative and contextual modes.

Lately I’ve been trying to release my death grip on value binaries. It happens so fast when I see art. Almost immediately my brain either goes “Love it” or “Hate it” and moves on. I am trying to spend more time with those feelings; trying to find an understanding inside of those reactions and maybe see beyond them.

As for contextualization, I think maybe I like to fixate exclusively on what’s happening right now. Automatically, I think art shouldn’t require contextualization to be engaging. I know that isn’t always the case (Felix Gonzales-Torres “Untitled: Portrait of Ross in LA” for example), but my initial desire is for art to successfully stand independent of context.

OK! Below is a little response to a viewing of the first section of Anne Teresa de Keersmaker’s FASE and a quote from Borges (again) that reminded me of the feelings that came up while watching this piece.


FASE (1982), Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker
Director of FASE film: Thierry de Mey

Two diagonal lights cast four shadows of two, near identical women onto a blank white wall. Two of their four shadows over lap, blending/emphasizing the similarities between the two, near identical women. The women perform a near synchronous walking and turning pattern, back and forth in front of the white wall. Their movements ebb in and out of unison. Their shadows peel apart and fuse back together. The two remain within an approximate ten by three foot space. The music echoes this repetition of content and ebbing synchronicity. The video cuts between about four different shots. The duet (as in “a dance for two corporeal human bodies”) lasts for about eight minutes, but feels endless. It could have started hours ago, it may end days from now. Time folds in on the near synchronous movements and forms. It becomes a breathing, changing labyrinth of endings, beginnings, and near perfect similarities.

“Among the Immortals, on the other hand, every act (and every thought) is the echo of others that preceded it in the past, with no visible beginning, or the faithful presage of others that in the future will repeat it to a vertiginous degree. There is nothing that is not as if lost in a maze of indefatigable mirrors. Nothing can happen only once, nothing is preciously precarious.”

-J.L. Borges from “The Immortal” (1962)

A link to the video that I viewed:

And another film by the director of Fase, Thierry de Mey, called La Valse (choreography by Thomas Hauert):

Borges, Gibson, Me, and Myself.

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

There’s this great, miniature story by Jorge Luis Borges called “Borges and I”.  His story suggests that the artist has a dual existence, as an ephemeral, present body and also as a finite, disembodied collection of their work and opinions/writing about their work.  It’s scary, but relevant.  The self extends beyond our fleshy confines, and far beyond our control over it.  It is there in our Facebook profiles, and in our selfies, and in our purchases and browser histories (and even in our wordpress blogs).  So that theme feel relevant for me.

(thanks to a friend for this recommendation)

The self indulgent artist in me imagines lots of ways of visualizing that concept.  I actually made a video/installation that was “about” a different idea, but resembles “existence of self outside of body” very much.  Oh, that also reminds of this great short story by William Gibson called “Fragments of a Hologram Rose”.  Beautiful story.

 “Parker lies in darkness, recalling the thousand fragments of the hologram rose. A hologram has this quality: Recovered and illuminated, each fragment will reveal the whole image of the rose. Falling toward delta, he sees himself the rose, each of his scattered fragments revealing a whole he’ll never know – stolen credit cards – a burned out suburb – planetary conjunctions of a stranger – a tank burning on a highway – a flat packet of drugs – a switchblade honed on concrete, thin as pain. Thinking: We’re each other’s fragments, and was it always this way? That instant of a European trip, deserted in the gray sea of wiped tape – is she closer now, or more real, for his having been there?”

– William Gibson, “Fragments of a Hologram Rose” (1977)

I like the idea of separating body and self.  Digital amputation.  Maybe I could ask people to speak their names into a microphone and have their words manifest as a drifting, digital image of that name that floats and lands on someone else’s body.  Or maybe the name transforms the further away it gets from the speaker.  Turns into a bat or a monster or a unicorn or something random that they have no control over.

Anyway, here’s that video I made that I mentioned earlier: