Tuesday, June 7, 2011

New Beginnings: The Birth of a Dance


“Art is like beginning a sentence before you know its ending." ~ Bayles & Orland from Art & Fear

I love sitting on the precipice of a new project, that moment so pregnant with possibility and full of promise. Inevitably, with each decision, each step forward, each new development, the work begins to define itself and I have to give up that wonderful place of pure potential.
“What's so hard about that first sentence is that you're stuck with it. Everything else is going to flow out of that sentence. And by the time you've laid down the first two sentences, your options are all gone.” ~ Joan Didion
That loss, however, is countered with the sense of wonder I feel as the new work unfolds itself. And that excites me.

In rehearsal for Missa Pro Dogmata
So, I am beginning to work on a new piece, which for now I will dub the Singularity Project. This is the second part of my seven-part 7 Veils Series that draws its inspiration from author Tom Robbins’ book Skinny Legs and All. The first part of the series was Missa Pro Dogmata, which I created in 2010 as part of my graduate thesis work for my master of fine arts degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

As originally intended, the story of the Dance of the 7 Veils is a discovery of intuitive wisdom through a deep inner quest. The commonly recited versions of the story as a primarily sexual one are bastardizations of the original intent that were created by patriarchal societies hell-bent (pun intended) on demonizing both the female as evil temptress (Salomé, Eve, etc) and the forms of knowledge stereotyped as feminine (e.g. intuition).

In Singularity Project, the veil that I am exploring is that of man’s domain over nature and the world. Rather than the biblical supposition that Man was placed here to have dominion over the world, I am taking the perspective that man is simply a natural part of the world. 
"Look, here is a tree in the garden and every summer it produces apples, and we call it an apple tree because the tree "apples." That's what it does. Alright, now here is a solar system inside a galaxy, and one of the peculiarities of this solar system is that at least on the planet earth, the thing peoples! In just the same way that an apple tree apples!"
“We do not ‘come into’ this world; we come out of it, as leaves from a tree. As the ocean ‘waves,’ the universe ‘peoples.’” ~ Alan Watts

Anyway, back to this new project. This idea has spawned some specific principles for this new inquiry: 
  1. The development of humankind as a natural extension of the planet.
  2. The idea that technology, rather than being separate from nature, is a natural extension of man, which is a natural extension of the planet.
  3. From reading Ray Kurzweil’s The Singularity is Near I am curious about the merging of the organic and the technological.
  4. The use of Isadora software and multimedia in performance.

I guess I could even include blogging openly about the process as one of the principles at work in this inquiry. To that end (and this is where you come in), any feedback, thoughts, ideas, or wild suggestions would be appreciated. Please don’t be afraid to comment, as I truly believe there are no ‘bad’ ideas and I could use your help.

So, the principles above are my stepping-off points for exploration and movement research. Whether the end result will bear any resemblance to the initial inspiration, I don’t know (and I don’t care). For now, I am beginning a sentence before I know its ending. And that excites me.