05 October 2010

4 octobre: La Chaise Libre/dimanche-10 variations

This is what Sunday brings: a set of variations on a theme of a room with two chairs, and a meditation on an empty chair. With La Chaise Libre, I ask: Is a “free” place or chair the same as an empty one? Can a space, a place, a chair, be like a void, a vacuum--waiting, begging, or demanding to be filled? Is it ever merely inanimate or indifferent in our eyes? Am I invisible simply by my absence in the center frame—particularly when I frame it on either side with my presences? Are those two presences mere illusions, and is the empty chair the reality here? I think of Giacometti’s drawings/paintings of sitting figures, (particularly of Genet), as if he has etched them into existence with some blade or sharp object, carving them out of the flat surface to give them relief, dimension, to prevent them from breaking away and disappearing back into the void surrounding them. There is a tension in that etched-in space: a field of energy and engagement, a vibratory hum of presence, a halo or aura around the figure.

I watch this piece and am mesmerized by the center screen, the slow shift of light, the aliveness of what’s “missing”, and, in contrast, the futility and/or poignancy of human endeavor. The outer sentinels try to settle, shake off skins, embody the effort to simply accept, to sit, to be.  Exhausting! Charles Baxter’s line from “The System”: “I can’t tell you how excited and exhausted this all makes me.” Click here for video. 

dimanche/10 variations came out of a spell of absolute not-knowing what to do with myself, standing like an idiot on a Sunday afternoon, stopped dead in my tracks, staring out the window, blinded by the sunless, overcast glow, immobile, entranced by the void that stuck like a bone in my throat.  So I moved the furniture around, set my little stage, and started counting, not knowing how many episodes would come. Perhaps Rzewski’s Nanosonatas were having their effect; Am I my own scientific experiment? Put a rat in a maze and see what he does. Behaviors. When do behaviors take shape, exhibit form, phrasing, a cumulative architecture, some sort of continuity one to the next, or start generating reference points, associations, relationships, and accumulate meaning or the illusion thereof?  What does one learn, if anything? Or does one simply become more oneself?  “More” as accumulating more sets of behaviors, more variations, or more as becoming more sure, more practiced, more true to some unique character portrait or movement signature that marks one as different from any other being? Or more like every other being? Once again, I go to Genet’s quote regarding the art of Giacometti: “.. the precious point where the human being is brought back to what is the most irreducible: his solitude of existence which is equivalent to every other being.”  Or another link to something found while googling Genet on Giacometti. I had to split the variations into two sets. click here for 1-5; for the second set 6-10, click here!