Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Power of Light in Theater:

The creator god, when last we saw him,
Crouched in beggarweeds, grotesque, and fairly repulsive,
Covered in splotches of moonlight, small pox, leprosy, whatever,
In a fever did smelt.

It was sometime later, after being toted
Place to place as an ugly curio, in displays and exhibits,
Left in a barn where sleet beat off the veneer of ash, the rags,
The hidden gilt, that
It was discovered, as we shall see, to be
The perfect crystalline image of
A beautiful man.

Wu Ling had the thing for sometime before
He gradually became aware, through unplanned meditations on it,
That information pertinent to the use of light
(he was a performer then) upon the stage
could be had
just by imitating the way
glimmers in the body came and went; now strong,
now soft, now none at all.

But just as a feel
For the pulse came and went, so at the moment
Wu Ling came close to seeing the creator god as himself,
The illusion, and surely it was one,
Completely dissolved.

Design for a Flag:

Friday, May 29, 2009

Cockfighting; source material for YACB's "Battle" scene



Posted by: billy Location: standford on Apr 17, 2008 at 02:40 PM
there is nothing roug with chincken fighting because they have there own life and thats what they want to do that they can

Posted by: Rudy Location: Tinley Park, Illinois on Apr 6, 2008 at 01:11 PM
I don't know what they meant by animal cruelty. Do they mean killing of animals like Chicken(Fowl), Pig, Cow, Goat, Deer, Cat, Dog, etc. How long is the Law has been in force prohibiting the killing of these animals? Is that law has been implemented fairly. If it is, how come I can still see a lot of pork, beef meat and chicken in the market like Dominicks, Jewel Osco, K-mART, etc. You know, the killing of these animals like the one you see in the market is far more brutal than killing a rooster.The Pig, the Cow and the chiclen were killed in the slaughter house, peeled-off the skin, hang, cut into pieces and then displayed into the public. Guess what is next...they're looking for a good profit. If the profit wasn't good, they say consumer spending in the agricultural products is slowing down and they don't want that. They want to improve consumer spending so that more killing of animals will occur.

Posted by: kevin Location: eastern kentucky on Mar 16, 2008 at 11:55 PM
they complain it's cruel but i would much rather be a game rooster thena cornish cross. the hsus needs to be a little more worried about the colonel sanders than a game rooster who usal lives a long healthy 2 year life with the top care rather confined to tiny pens with thousands of others for only an 8 week period of life before being sent to slaugter for our enjoyment to! but opinions are like butt holes everyones got one!

Posted by: jon Location: ky on Feb 27, 2008 at 01:49 PM
It is amazing how we worry about stupid things.The first place is they always say the usa is for peoples rights.They harp on cockfighting but you can set out poison for mice that takes days of pain before it dies.You can set a trap that cuts the air off untill the mouse dies.You can shoot out a coon untill it falls into a pack of dogs and they rip it into and skin it out and throw away the meat.You can shoot a deer with an arrow which takes several hours to die.You can trap animals with steel traps and this is all okay.When they stop cockfighting they then will turn to something else.You can buy a peice of property and you can only do on it what they will let you.Where is our fredom.Our goverment has let arsenic treated wood to be used for our kids to play on and let toys painted with lead in this country.I think with gas prices and everything else this country is facing they need to worry about more important things.

Posted by: Byron Location: Johnson county on Jan 2, 2008 at 12:55 PM
legalize it!!!! they may as well, ITS GONNA HAPPEN ANYWAYS>......DuHH id like to see a peta worker try and go in a pen and cuddle with a gamecock, lol it would be hilarious, these birds are naturally aggressive and have been bred to fight for over 200 years in kentucky, so does peta want them EXTINCT?????, cuz your not gonna breed the aggression out of them, they should read some history before they judge things!!!

Posted by: jason Location: kentucky on Jul 29, 2007 at 07:15 PM
I live in Kentucky. I raise gamecocks. I think they should make it legal to fight them.

Posted by: Allen Location: Michigan on May 14, 2007 at 08:37 PM
I feel that diversity is an important part of our great Country, I also believe that trying to make criminals out of law abiding citizens because they do different things such as 'cock fighting' is not embracing diversity we can learn many things from people that are different than us we can not learn by trying to make every one like us, if that was the case everyone would be cock fighters

Posted by: sabrina Location: eastern ky on May 6, 2007 at 12:18 AM
tonight may 5 2007, there was several game cock pits raided by federal Marshall's. in one arena there was 52 Marshall's. this is my opinion and view on this...it is a bunch of junk to start out with. the truth is if 2 game roosters where turned loose in the same yard these chickens would fight to the death. regardless to people fighting them. the humane society says that it is cruelty. well isn't it not cruel when a drunk hits a car and kills a kid or mangles it for life. isn't it not cruel to send our kids to a war that is over nonsince just to be killed . of course it is, but what is the political parties trying to do anything to stop it..you ask me nothing.. they could by making any form of alcohol illeagal. i ask all political parties which is more important to stop killing our kids from a war that is over stupidness, or killing our kids from drunk drivers, or stop 2 chickens from killing each other (which doesn't take any human to provoke). to me it is more important to them to stop game fighting then to stop our kids from being killed.. i am not a person that would kill anything, but i would kill a chicken everyday of the week rather than send someones child to war to be killed or let a drunk driver on the road to kill my kid. you ask me the war can be stopped and the drunk drivers can be stopped. for one by stopping a war will end a war. by making acohol illeagal will stop a drunk driver, but there is nothing you can do to stop these chickens from fighting cause it is in their nature.


Posted by: Anonymous on Apr 30, 2007 at 07:23 AM
i was born in kentucky and love this state i have risk my life working in the mines to make a living I think i should have the right to go to a chickin fight if it is what i want. that bunch hsus dont even want you useing live bait to fish with.

Posted by: David Location: Ky on Apr 28, 2007 at 02:24 AM
I live in Ky. I work a 9 to 5 every week,Ipay my taxes and vote.My famley and friends do as well.I will not be gilty of a vote for anyone that supportes the humane society.I also beleave God gave us meat to eat,horses to race,dogs to hunt,and worms to fish with.This is just my thoughts.

Posted by: shirley Location: kentucky on Apr 21, 2007 at 08:28 PM
no i do not fight but i have good roosters. if are men and women can be kill for freedom than we should have the the freedom to fight are roosters

Posted by: james Location: ky on Apr 21, 2007 at 11:27 AM
i live in ky..i am a Breeder of game fowl..my opinion is that the "humane" society & peta should take a look at things thru others eyes..the bible says that god gave man dominion over the animals & fowl for food & recreation..surely that applies here...and also, if the hsus & pets want to outlaw game pits & gamefowl, then why dont they try outlawing the big meat & egg producers ? those fowl only live 2 months & have no chance for survival..at least gamefowl have the chance to fight for whats theirs..they have a 50/50 percent chance to survive...if they think that they will ever stop game shows, then they are fooling no one but themselves..have a good day

Posted by: jason Location: mich on Apr 14, 2007 at 12:50 PM
what do you think the so called humane society would do with all those chickens ? they would kill all of them! I don't think thats humane. Hundreds of people eat chicken every day so if your opposed to a backwoods cockfight and you eat chicken sandwich shut the hell up and worry about something that is a real problem. HSUS needs to worry about saving a dogs life instead of some chickens that we all eat.

Posted by: Allen Location: Michigan on Apr 12, 2007 at 07:15 PM
I feel the goverment and HSUS should leave the rural life style alone. If they want to stop something stop man from killing each other and let the cocks go

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Visitor:

The other day I was startled by an unexpected visitor in the yard. It was a snapping turtle. Sometimes in the spring they crawl forth from their usual haunts, those being the mud at the bottom of ponds and creeks, and travel about by night, in search of who knows what - better hunting grounds perhaps, or mates. It spent the day in the shade of the ancient oak tree by our house, then moved on.

This one is fairly big, but I've seen much larger ones. I remember one such, dredged up when we enlarged our pond, bigger than a washtub, that splintered a broomstick handle in half with a single snap. Gladiator Gladys got that one, and, presumably, ate him. I thought they all were marvelously monstrous, and made terrariums to keep the baby ones in.

The story is that if one gets ahold of your toe, it won't let loose until it thunders, which, luckily, is quite frequent this time of year.

I wouldn't advise testing for myth. Considering what I've seen it would be the toe that comes loose first. But the image did keep its grip on my imagination, and now I consider these turtles symbols of persistence, and because of that reminder, just when I needed it, welcome.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Restore:

Harmony is restored.
It requires work, as bees are working continually
To maintain the hive – comb must be built
And nectar gathered – so the sacred life
Incorporates a perpetual gathering and storing
Of beauty, and fierce protection
Even to the sting.

Last night the flood
Burst through a wall. Bodies were
Flung, swept, in a turmoil of sounds
suddenly into the unknown,
I found one sister among the survivors
In a boat, another at the edge of
What was once a town.
Of my mother, old and weak,
There’s little hope,
But I’m wading back, into the dark woods,
To save or know.

I can almost understand
The Inquisition now. But of course, it’s
Usually the Inquisitor’s wife who sours milk
And nurses a toad, while some poor soul
Endures the rack and tongs. So it doesn’t work,
Foul envy isn’t routed out, and fear –
Never think it isn’t there, my dear.
But nothing is hidden absolute
In dark arts - a trail was left
And it has led me to the truth. I’ve retraced
The arc of the flung dart back
And know the moment
Of my soul’s displacement,
Almost at the beginning of time,
When all was black.

You must make ebo to reverse
The thing spoiled by a witch’s curse.
With heart-felt prayers implore your head
To restore beauty here before we both are dead.
Now precious reservoirs you’ve hidden
In your secret bread, must be poured out
In God’s bed, and you must plant a seed
Of Love, and tend it well, or live on, tied to a wraith
In living hell. Know this and the dance begins; upon
good will all play depends.

God has gotten scary-looking lately.
Crouched down against a dirty wall,
In a ball of rags, he fixes you with the beggar’s
Stare a block away, and however much
You mutter counter-spell, the out-stretched palm
Is present as a snake – you must pass by,
And he must take. How do you suppose
Things got this way?

Here, at the beginning, restore the light
And shadow to their place. Upon the Eastern
Veil, streak the rosy fingers of the dawn - gently
cross my face. Compass, with your lovely arms,
The extremities of this sacred grove, pied with the fragrant
Rainbow of flowers, sweet laughter, and the wild ox moan.
Turn the black and brown
To rich fertility with the artful plow,
Forge in phoenix fire the shackle-cutting blade -
pierce the breast that hides a dragon’s bitter tear.
I stand before you naked.
Sink it here.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The body in death and dance:

While searching for something to be a logo image for "Deathslab Records", to use on a soon-to-be opened website where you, gentle readers, will be able to listen to the soon to be released (hee!) Oft the Loner recording, I found a very interesting speech, titled "the sacredness of things", concerning how concepts of the body differ with culture:

"It was 58 years ago to the day that Japan and Great Britain were thrown together as enemies in the Pacific War. It is all the more significant, therefore, that we should be gathered here today at this inaugural conference to discuss issues of death in contemporary Japan.

On November 12th this year, I was prompted to put pen to paper for my presentation by an extraordinary item on the evening news. The news reported that a man had been taken into custody by the police after it was discovered she and her son had been living in a hotel room, not far from Narita airport, for the past four months, with the mummified corpse of her husband. The woman and her son belonged to a 'cult' - they actually refer to themselves as a 'self-enlightenment seminar' - called ironically enough 'Life Space'. My purpose here is not an analysis of religious cults in contemporary Japan, so I shall make no further reference to this particular incident, but I mention it at the outset because the family's attachment to the mummified corpse of the deceased offers some valuable pointers to the Japanese attitude towards the corpse.

All of us who inhabit this contemporary world, whether we like it or not, learn through the media daily of all manner of incidents that produce corpses in their thousands: wars, terrorist incidents, accidents, natural disasters, and so on. There are, of course, many other occasions, too, when we encounter death in a more 'traditional' sense; I refer to the deaths of friends or family from sickness or old age. Moreover, the striking progress of genetic engineering and medical technology means that we also come face to face with death issues in a third, 'man-made' sense: I refer to the issues of cloning, brain death and organ transplant. All of this is of great interest and relevance, but here I should like to direct my focus particularly toward Japanese views of the corpse.

Over the past few months, the earthquakes in Turkey and Taiwan have between them produced well over ten thousand victims. Something disturbed me about the media reports I saw on television about the rescue endeavors and the restoration work that followed in its wake. It is natural that, for the first few score hours, rescue squads raced to the scene from around the world and got stuck into their rescue activities, searching for possible survivors beneath the ruins: after all who would dispute that saving human lives is the top priority? All countries in the world would wish that the saving of lives comes before all else. From this point on, however, it strikes me that patterns of behavior begin to diverge on cultural grounds. What is different is the nature of the restoration work that generally begins two weeks after the earthquake or disaster has hit, and when it is clear there is no longer any possibility of uncovering survivors.

Let us assume an earthquake where 5000 people are reported missing, and where subsequently 4000 bodies are retrieved. This should mean, in simple mathematical terms, that 1000 bodies are still buried in the ruins. However, once the 'flow' is redirected from rescue work to restoration work, the authorities order in the power shovels and other heavy-weight machinery, and start to clear away the collapsed buildings. Surely, I ask myself as I watch the TV screen, there must be many abandoned corpses lying under those heavy machines. I have no doubt that the many Japanese who watched those scenes of restoration work after the Turkish earthquake were glued to their TV screens with exactly the same emotions as mine.


2) In search of 'crash corpses'

Let me give you an example that for me typifies the Japanese attitude towards the corpse. The event took place after the crash of the Japan Airlines jumbo jet in August 1985. There were 520 victims in this crash, the worst air disaster involving a single aircraft in aviation history. Among the victims was Sakamoto Kyu (坂本九) who sang a very famous song called 'Let us walk with our heads in the air (the Sukiyaki song)'; this was an additional reason why the crash was given such coverage throughout Europe and the US and why some of you here might remember the disaster today. Flight JL123 was packed with people returning home for the O-Bon (お盆) holidays encountered the unthinkable as it headed for Osaka from Tokyo. In flight, the pressure wall at the rear end of the plane and the vertical tail simply blew off. Owing to the superhuman efforts of the crew to control the doomed craft, it flew for a further 30 minutes around the skies of the Kanto region (that is, the passengers on JL123 were subjected to thirty minutes of unimaginable terror) and then it plunged in to Mt. Osutaka (御巣鷹山) in Gunma Prefecture. 520 out of the 524 passengers and crew on board perished in this tragic incident. It was reported that some of those on board calmly amid the terror scribbled notes to their loved ones. 22 of the victims were foreigners.

This JL 123 incident was no exception to the rule that the scene of any plane crash is gruesome. Fragments of the jumbo jet and bodies were scattered across the side of the mountain in a radius of several kilometers. There were bodies so badly burned that it was impossible to identify them; somebody's left arm was found caught in the branches of a tree; the lower halves of peoples torsos were to be found in the valley below. Naturally, the police authorities quickly embarked upon the task of identifying the corpses. There were some corpses easily identified by their families, but there were many more whose identity was only confirmed after dental records were checked or after families assumed a corpse was that of a loved one because of the clothing, or jewelry worn. Some extreme cases were reported where all that remained was a victim's finger, an ear. Iizuka Satoru (飯塚訓) who was the doctor in charge of identifying corpses at the scene of the disaster wrote in his book, Tsuiraku Itai (墜落遺体), that it took 127 days to confirm the identity of all the dismembered corpses. It is clear that the authorities were more intent on the pursuit of corpses than they were in their pursuit of the technical causes of the crash.

There is much of interest in Iizuka's book. Iizuka reports, for example, how different the attitude of the bereaved Japanese families was to the corpses they had come to collect when compared to the attitude of the bereaved from, say, Britain, the US, Australia and Korea. As the foreign families stood before the gruesome scene of the accident - so gruesome it was impossible to think of survivors; locating a corpse in one piece was nigh on impossible - a Japanese policeman explained how diligently they were conducting their searching for the remains. To which the puzzled response was 'Why do you go so far as to identify every hand and foot?' As reported by Iizuka, the foreign bereaved went on to protest that their loved ones were dead; their sprits has left them; hands and feet were mere objects. 'Why don't you simply gather the remains and cremate them? We want to turn to discussions of compensation.' The identity of the dismembered corpse of a 20-year-old foreign woman was confirmed by birth marks on her two legs and the finger prints on her left hand. The bereaved family said that these were without doubt the remains of their daughter, and they thanked the police. When asked what they would like to do with the girl's remains, the said 'Our daughter is happy because she is with God. Please bury her remains alongside those who died with her.'

The attitude of the Japanese bereaved was quite strikingly different. They were obsessed with the idea of a body with all limbs present. In cases where the identity of the victim was easily confirmed by the face, but there was, say, a leg missing, the family would insist that the authorities carried out a thorough search for that missing limb. Where the body had not been recovered, or where identity was impossible, they would request at least some object that the deceased had been carrying with them: a watch or a pair of shoes. To this day, in August, 14 years after the disaster, TV transmits pictures of hundreds of the bereaved climbing Mt. Osutaka. The families can be seen carrying out rites to comfort the souls of the deceased, gathering soil form the mountain-side to bring home with them and sprinkling on the mountain side wine or some other food or drink that the deceased was especially fond of. How many men have been president of Japan Airlines in the last 14 years I do not know, but none has failed to climb Mt. Osutaka on the 12th day of August and make offerings to the spirits of the deceased.


3) The i (遺) in itai (遺体)

In writing what I have so far written, I have become aware of terminological issues.  I have had no choice but to use, in the Japanese version of this paper, the word itai (遺体) for a corpse.  I have used many other words too which, in Japanese, employ the same i or yui (遺)character that features in itai.  Idenshi Kogaku (遺伝子工学) is the Japanese for genetic engineering; yuigon (遺言) for a final message; iki (遺棄) for abandoned (corpse); iryuhin (遺留品) for articles belonging to the deceased, izoku (遺族) for the bereaved.  There is I think here a clue as to the Japanese view of the corpse. Check the meaning of the i character in the Kojien dictionary and you will find the following:
1) to forget; to leave behind;
2) to remain behind; to leave behind one after death;
3) to fail to complete;

The entry for itai, the Japanese word for a corpse, gives:
1) one's own body;
2) the corpse of another;

It is easy enough to see how the critical i character in the word for 'a last statement' might be the same as the i in itai meaning a corpse, but odd perhaps that it should also be found in the word for genetic engineering. How might this be? Who was responsible for attaching the idenshi to the English gene I do not know, but it was quite some achievement. The Book of Filial Piety (孝経 in Chinese), is a record by a disciple of Songtzu of his master's dialogue with Confucius, and in that well known book, there is this passage: A man receives his body, his hair and his skin from his mother and father. That a man does not presume to harm these gifts is the beginning of filial piety.

Westerners baptized in the enlightened tradition of the modern world regard their bodies, as long as they live, as their own, theirs to do with as they please. But an interpretation more typical of East Asian animism holds that even the living body is a gift left to one (itai) by one's parents; the fact of death does not mean that one is freed to do with the body what one wishes. Indeed, the body is something entrusted to descendants by the ancestors. If I may be permitted to borrow a phrase from Richard Dawkins, 'The body (one's character) is a vehicle for genes.' The body in this sense is not a corpse, a cadaver.

The Japanese do not adhere to a Western a Christian perspective on human life which thinks in terms of a spirit-flesh dualism, according to which the spirit is 'noble, imparted to the living by God' while the flesh is 'of little consequence, being simply one variety of created matter'. Rather, the Japanese find themselves in a world where the animistic sense prevails and where distinguishing clearly between the spirit and the flesh is not possible. In Japanese the word shitai (死体) denotes not simply a 'dead body' but a body left one by one's parents over generations from ancestor to descendant. This is not a position that legitimates the distinguishing of humans from other living forms as something 'uniquely noble'; rather it is a world which finds spirit in all things, or rather it believes that it is above all in 'things' that spirit resides. This is the world in which, literally, 'mountains, rivers, grass, trees, may all achieve Buddhahood'."

Yoshinobu Miyake

Working, as I am in You'll Always Come Back, with material concerning the ancestors, involves some examination this sort, and that is one reason that I'm also studying (so far only from documents) the kind of Japanese dance called Butoh. Butoh is a form of dance which has reference to what precedes us, in the sense of physical memories which go so far back, in our imagining, that they fuse (seamlessly - or is there always some sort of rupture lurking somewhere in the line? - perhaps, even, everywhere....?) - into what we might describe as primordial time. Consider this:

"We shake hands with the dead, who send us encouragement from beyond our body; this is the unlimited power of Butoh... Something is hiding in our subconscious, collected in our unconscious body, which will appear in each detail of our expression. Here, we can rediscover time with an elasticity, sent by the dead. We can find Butoh in the same way we can touch our hidden reality. Something can be born, can appear, living and dying in a moment.

This cast-off skin is our land and home, which our body has forcibly ripped away. This cast-off skin is totally different from that other skin that our body has lost. They are divided in two. One skin is that of the body approved by society. The other skin is that which has lost its identity. So, they need to be sewn together, but this sewing together only forms a shadow.

I admire our ancestors who took good care of the feelings in the soles of their feet."

Tatsumi Hijikata

Those of you who may have heard me bewailing the potential problems of sewing couture for You'll Always Come Back now have real reasons to pity the one who must sew shadows. Such will be my tribute to the ancestors who took good care of the feelings in the soles of their feet.

(Note to any readers who may have arrived at this blog from the smiley face conspiracy website - as alas, some have - consider well what you devote yourselves to. If you exploit the body of the dead for your entertainment, where, indeed, will your own spirit find rest?)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Chair:

Spring thunderstorms come back
- the bolt, so they say, that leaps
from earth to sky, is hotter than the sun,
hurled from the clash of dark frustration
in a swirling cloud, to crack the air
with a nerve whip of light
and strike the ground numb
with sudden spite, such is the god
of fright.

In our little home, a hunkering
Hut crouched down to last the fury
Of the wind, my mother seeks the refuge
Of her corner seat – the days are past when
Any place could be secure – there’s just
This final chair to help her keep
Eternity at bay. With each boom above
I see her hands, grown bony small
Clutch the fabric of
The known – at any moment suffering may
take the comfort
Of this room away.

And with it every memory of when
She was red-flamed and tall
As any flower fed by rains of spring, full
Of fierce temper sudden
As the violent wind, a wit to match
Whatever nature might present,
And fertile as the bolt struck sod,
Laughing at the absurdity
Of man-made gods who talk a lot
But never cook or clean, partnered to
A man as sweet and wise as
Men can be – all this dissolves
As life recedes.

And as for me, her child, who
Has become the one who keeps, who
Do I have to teach me how to care,
And guide her spirit to release,
Besides the chair?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Oaks:

We incline slightly to the east, seeking dawn,
Every upward vector pressed by the west wind.
Shadow chilled fissures sustain our
Beards of lichen and moss – a thousand beings
Crawl up and down bark channels
From earth to sky. The spring-legged back kick
Of a katydid’s leap sways a leafed twig
For a moment, then it stills.

Inside the acorn’s dome, even then,
When it was a single force, the unstoppable
Root moved like a finger, like a nose
Scenting a spot to cleave, split the hull
And slowly dove into the darkness of the earth,
Pulling the seed wings up, half-globe hands of a nut
Releasing the dust green scallops
Eager for the sun.

After some hundreds of orbits
We’ve penetrated the obstacles of clouds
And stones, reached the limit imposed
By gravity and the shear of storms. A million
Rootlets search the deep crevices to drink
A fountain surge that’s shooting up to feed
The counter million surfaces of leaves
With mineral soup. The deaths of all we nurture
Spread to form a face that only heaven
Sees - beyond the ken of
Anything but trees.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Return of the Sun:

The sun and deep blue sky returned today, for the first time in a week. Dandyland is gloriously green and moist, if alarmingly weedy... There's so much work being done, and to be done, on You'll Always Come Back, garden and house, that I'm afraid there's no time to blog. But here's a little photo walk round the garden.







Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Things in Dance Space:

















































































Yesterday's dance session was a bit of a train wreck. For now, until I can work out the basics of how movement works in YACB, we're simply dancing The Faun. But yesterday I expanded the space and arranged some objects inside it in a new configuration. As a result, The Faun was all over the place, spatially and experientially. (Don't they amount to the same thing?)
And because I was not only dancing but observing how the change effected the dance, it was hardly an integrated experience.
And to make matters more complicated it seemed I had a camera in my head, snapping images of things that looked right for YACB. I followed up on that by taking these pix immediately after the dance session, so the light was still somewhat the same.

The presence of Chisato Ejiri and Jim Christy is strong - the faun bench, and the hanging bag (made for Marc's exit in The Road) are Jim's work. The tatami mats, bamboo floor, and tea bowl come from Chisato. How I wish she were here to help me with the clothing for YACB!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Projection:

It occurred to me the other day that I seldom simply blog what's on my mind. In part that's because art is what's on my mind most of the time, and I generally prefer that to have a shape before sharing. I suppose it's true that art and tidying up have something in common.

And then, there's the reality that there are, at present, so many decisions concerning You'll Always Come Back, that there's little time left over to share much of anything, formed or otherwise.

That said, one thing that has been in my mind is how projection plays a part in the sort of work I do. And this came about not because I'm contemplating projections of video, film-making, photography & light (which I am), or because the performers must adjust their own projections about the work, and about their own experience, with some sort of aesthetic accuracy in correspondence to the material of the work. This has been known, as a quotient, from the beginning of the process.

Nope, the meditations about projection are an effort to understand how others find in my work what they are looking for, or to put it another way, the tendency that work has to encourage imagination - sometimes in ways that seem to me very contrary to what I might prefer. My theory is that mythic imagery has the quality of focusing attention. It seems strange to write of an audience, when what I prefer is sharing what I do with my friends, but to refer to everyone who experiences my work (including all of you who read this blog, but who have not introduced yourselves...((which is fine...)) - as friends - would lose enough specifics to render the moniker meaningless, so audience it is.

And I, in my own constant state of projection, imagine all those witnesses as friendly, or at least as having an interest in common. But that, alas, is not necessarily so.

I discovered recently that someone in NY was visiting my website repeatedly, and although at one level I'm a simpleton to effects, enjoying scoring higher in statistics being observed, something about the pattern of visits seemed odd, and the referring addresses were certainly not familiar - so I followed the link back to find out that my work is the subject of a conspiracy website. Someone watching The Keeper video, my blog posts, ballad paintings, etc etc. - interpreted my personal symbols as evidence of a criminal mind, as though any idea they had in response to what I had made could be connected to events or motivations in my private life. I would say that wouldn't be so bad if what they imagined was pleasant, but in fact that sort of projection for any reason is disappointing - because it misses the boat of what the work is really about, at least what it is really about to me. For some odd reason my opinion about that was not taken into consideration - the persons posting my work online did not bother to ask me about it - it suited their purposes, so they exploited it for selfish reasons.
See what I mean about disappointing. We throw up our hands and say, "That's the internet." User beware - or as an art collector commented when I told this story; "That's the price of fame." One person looks in the magic mirror and thinks they see the confirmation of love, another looks and thinks they see the confirmation of hate. What I'm trying to say is look at the mirror.