Friday, October 21, 2005

Kinetics: Merce and Mobiles

An aesthetic of movement has entered the glass towers and staid suburban landscapes of Houston, works by Alexander Calder and Merce Cunningham. Last night the Merce Cunningham Dance Company performed Ground Level Overlay and Split Sides,* a dance piece accompanied by the music of Radiohead and Sigur Ros, in which the order of the choreography, music, back drops, costumes, and lighting are chosen by the roll of a dice – each element of the performance independent, juxtaposed randomly, unsynchronized, dancers moving to ideas not music:

“Mary, pass the potatoes” becomes
division of subject and object.
– Robert Creeley

Reminding me of contemporaries/movement: Pollack:


Movement/Calder – "I paint with shapes."

Metallic shapes organic like Moore but in action – shadows floating on walls… “Shadow is the absence of light and only rises from the opposition of dense bodies (da Vinci)” – bodies in motion – “Motion is created by the disruption of balance (da Vinci)” – kinetic energy: Kinetic energy is energy of motion. The kinetic energy of an object [body] is the energy it possesses because of its motion. …'[T]he continued keeping of the elasticity of the muscles, the continued control of the mind over the body’s actions, the constant hoped-for flow of the spirit into physical movement, both new and renewed, is not a natural way. It is unnatural in its demands on all the sources of energy. But the final synthesis can be a natural one, natural in the sense that the mind, body and spirit function as one.” - Merce Cunningham

Why is poetry so still?

The poem is the record of a movement from perception to vision…Jerome Rothenberg

I’m on a train, watching landscape streaming by, thinking
of the single equation that lets time turn physical,
equivocal, almost equable on a train

where the window is speed, vertile, vertige. It will be

one of those beautiful equations, almost visible, almost green.Cole Swensen

Bodies in motion, mobiles, abstracted motion, convergence of three dimensions: objects/bodies, energy, and light: “the evolutions of celestial bodies, the trembling of leaves on their branches, the memory of caresses (Andre Breton on Calder)…”

In blue light cast from the stage, she turns to him and says, “Art is found in the differences.”


* Side Note: This New Yorker critic seems particularly clueless, especially about Radiohead and Sigur Ros. She seems to think that the ambient music they recorded for Cunnigham’s choreography is out of character for these “rock bands,” obviously she had never heard them before. The music is very much an extension of what both groups have been exploring over the last few year.


At 8:48 PM, Blogger Brian Campbell said...

Thru artful juxtaposition you've created a kind of Cunningham dance yourself... good show!

At 9:13 AM, Blogger £1 A Day! said...

this will be a great reference for my upcoming article on kinetic energy


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