pringle: It seems to me that the action of creating / the process // something that is "contentless" and "indivisible" is a huge challenge... and by challenge i mean exciting & manic-work inducing joy... it will be interesting to bring this up again after the show on Friday and see how you feel about it.
my question is, it seems to me that you would have to create something that resisted time & place and stood as pure experience for this to be accomplished....
i'm not even sure that's true... it is just my intuitive response... but it seems like with this project and yr music and yr poetry there is an attempt at a concerted and continuous PRESENCE.
how does that strike you? do you think that's true? and, also, what role does the audience play in this...?
rumble: Yeah, it's a huge challenge -- one that's probably impossible really; part of the way I address the challenge is to make the work really time and place specific -- it will really only exist for 2.5 hours from 7:30 to 10 on Friday, September 18, at 715 Washington St. in Durham. After that, it's gone.
So I don't know that I'd say the piece needs to resist time and space so much as embrace it -- to try to make something (or be open to receiving and relaying something) that is an inextricable part of its world while also creating its own world.
Cliffs (Empty) is really based on and is possible because of the architecture and existence and availability of this enormous empty space. So what I'm creating in that space is kind of contrary to the space (in that I'm going to fill it almost completely) and complementary to the space (because I couldn't fill a small room with so much stuff).
And then beyond that, I've tried to curate (I suppose) as much of the experience of the piece as possible -- so instead of like hanging a piece in a gallery and then stepping away; the piece that I'm making includes some physical construction, musical construction, the way people are first received into the piece, what they see approaching the piece, etc. I've tried and am trying to shape as much of the experience as possible.
And that desire to shape isn't (oddly?) tied to an "idea" other than that I think the experience of an artwork (or experience maybe generally) is something that starts long before you see a piece and maybe doesn't stop till long after.
I started experiencing the Mona Lisa for example as a very small child and experienced it (representations of it) for many years before I finally saw the actual piece. So part of creating that big, indivisible, contentless piece is in making sure (as sure as one can) that conscious decisions have been made about as many aspects of the experience as one has control (however relative) over.
That said though -- there's going to be a lot of chance and randomness in the piece as well -- there will be musical performance occurring which will be largely improvised. The non-musical performers have some vague instructions, but not a script exactly.
So for me, it's about creating, curating, arranging as much as you can and then letting life happen within/around/through the piece.
Yeah, I am interested in presence, in being there and awareness. Sort of like what I was writing about in reference to David's thoughts about meaningless language. The problem (for me, what I see as a problem) is that language allows us to move through the world and actually not pay attention -- words are like a substitute for attention.
And so we (I) pass over and ignore and don't see amazing, amazing things happening all around us, so creating unusual spaces, images, phrases I think roughs up that smooth track we've worn while at the end of our chains.
It makes us (I hope) pay attention and learn how to pay attention and what things it might be possible to pay attention to that we had to that point not even considered as things to possibly pay attention to. And so be open and present and aware of ourselves and worlds.
So the audience here is .... hmmm.... I guess I think the audience makes choices to pay attention or not pay attention -- I think some will and some won't. In this particular piece the audience is going to become a part of each other audience member's experience in perhaps a really dramatic way actually. I think I'm laying out a plate of food and maybe they're hungry and maybe they're not. It's not really my place to decide what an audience needs, so much as it's my place to give the best of what I have to offer.
As someone who reads a lot and enjoys many varieties of artworks, I'm really grateful to the people who have given what they had to offer to the world. I don't know how what I have to offer ranks in the scale of greatness or whatever, but I want to do my part and I enjoy doing my part to offer something to the world, to people that they might enjoy, learn something useful from.
I don't mean to be dismissive of audiences -- I love people and care about them, which is part of why I make my work public, but I think that there's a place at which my ability to influence an audience and "give them" something ends and their autonomy begins, and I value and enjoy other people's autonomy. It's what gives my work that experimental feel -- like "what if I build this crazy space and play some music and invite a bunch of people? what will they think? how will they negotiate this experience?" Those are questions I find really fun to get answers to and to wonder about. So on some level the work doesn't exist without an audience.
rumble:One more thing about audience and the public nature of art is that I find it hugely important that art/experience be a place around which people can come together and interact over a shared experience. That aspect of artworks for me is equally important to whatever kind of more internal experience someone might have.
(And honestly, that's part of the pull, for me, towards physical work that is manifested as a specific time and place (and why I ran a reading series) -- as opposed to a book or digital art that can be reproduced and spread. Of course people still come together around books and digital art, but I prefer the face-to-face thing.)