Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Mimesis and Movement ~

After some thought about certain comments on the movement of bodies in YACB, it occurred to me how universal the assumption of mimesis is, and how hard it will be to alter. Every witness of the performance who has commented on it so far assumed that the movers represented characters in a narrative history. Part of this assumption was aided by titles given to the costumes and visual art, but I think it would have happened anyway.

In actuality, The Movers are intermediaries, or grounds of attention, between the audience (an incorrect term, but I'll take that up later.)- and the fusion of visual and sonic arts. The Movers are "just people" who move in response to the environment and the changes that take place in it. I've given them some tasks, but none of the tasks have more than a symbolic correspondence to the multiple and fragmented layers of the lyrics. From my point of view, the most interesting aspect of this type of kaleidoscopic consciousness is that it shatters narrative and history into fragments, so that the layers of their construction, and the forces at work on them, can be clearly observed. The problem with this is that what is observed can be construed as error or confusion, since this type of work doesn't favor virtuosity. In fact, all forms of virtuosity obscure it. So the problem, if it is a problem, is that the audience are watching but not seeing. They are looking for something that is not there, and ignoring what is, in hopes, perhaps, of the opiate of illustrated fantasy.

It would be better if everyone entered the space and encountered the work directly, with their own bodies, but that's a bit much to expect, considering the extreme inhibition of our society.

It might help to put quotation marks around storytelling too ~ since narrative exists in this work only to call attention to the conventional nature of its form. Rather than functioning like the text of "Jack and Jill," it's a bit more as if a certain edition of Jack and Jill was run over by a lawnmower, the pieces picked up and assembled into a collage - a collage that is as much about the texture of a children's book run over by a lawnmower as it is about fetching a pail of water.

This sort of approach would not be surprising to most viewers of contemporary visual, or even musical art, but our culture is so woefully lacking in sophistication concerning dance or the expressive capabilities of the body that mimesis or athletic display are the default modes of perception for most people who witness it. I'm not sure what to do about this, yet.

1 comment:

Happier said...

Speaking from experience, being in the presence of your art is both confusing and exhilirating, and to me, the polarities meeting, which perhaps, is exactly what it is suppose to do. Your work is done. Only time takes care of the rest.