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):