Quotations

4 January 2008

P.T. Anderson interviewed about his new movie There Will Be Blood.
A beautiful quote about editing:

You learn that omitting things is the same as writing things.

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A while back I wrote a definition of choreography for Corpus and now the complete issue, with definitions from 52 of the usual and not so usual suspects, is up online. Some great contributions there – lots to explore in English and German. For brevity there’s Jonathan Burrows;  Choreography is about making a choice, including the choice to make no choice.  For more extended playfulness try this (below) from Superamas. The Corpus site won’t let me link to individual entries so I’m quoting in full here, with apologies, since otherwise finding this is hard.

Superamas:

I was reading a novel of Dashiell Hammett, “The Gutting of Couffignal”.

(…)
“Stop!” I ordered.
“I shan’t,” she said, but she did, for the time at least. “I’m going out.”
“You’re going out when I take you.”
I thought: Choreography is the art of giving orders.

She laughed, a pleasant laugh, low and confident.
“I’m going out before that,” she insisted good-naturedly. I shook my head.
“How do you propose stopping me?” she asked.
“I don’t think I’ll have to,” I told her. “You’ve too much sense to try to run while I’m holding a gun on you.”

Choreography is the art of being obeyed: no drama, no psychological matters, only shapes and moves. Like for a military parade, you decide and off they go.

She laughed again, an amused ripple.
“I’ve got too much sense to stay,” she corrected me. “Your crutch is broken and you’re lame. You can’t catch me by running after me then. You pretend you’ll shoot me, but I don’t believe you. You’d shoot me if I attacked you, of course, but I shan’t do that. I shall simply walk out, and you know you won’t shoot me for that. You’ll wish you could, but you won’t. You’ll see.”
Her face turned over her shoulder, her dark eyes twinkling at me, she took a step toward the door.
“Better not count on that!” I threatened.

The point is: how to grasp the reality which always escapes from our will and our understanding. Why this rather than that? Is choreography a means to be more objective? There is always a part of the “indeterminable”, of the “not discernible” in things.

For answer to that she gave me a cooing laugh. And took another step.
“Stop, you idiot!” I bawled at her.
Her face laughed over her shoulder at me. She walked without haste to the door, her short skirt of gray flannel shaping itself to the calf of each gray wool-stockinged leg as its mate stepped foward.

Choreography is a projection. It is based on the gaze of the spectator.
It’s the onlooker who decides if what he sees is not only what he sees but also a piece of art with choreographic qualities.

Sweat greased the gun in my hand.
When her right foot was on the doorsill, a little chuckling sound came from her throat.
“Adieu!” she said softly.
And I put a bullet in the calf of her left leg.
Here we are! One can easily take a part of reality and reframe it, and doing so in a specific context, can create a choreography.
She sat down – plump! Utter suprise stretched her white face. It was too soon for pain.
I had never shot a woman before. I felt queer about it.
“You ought to have known I’d do it!” My voice sounded harsh and savage and like a stranger’s in my ears.
“Didn’t I steal a crutch from a cripple?”

So does Superamas: Choreography is a dirty business.

Forthcoming: Skipping The Page

3 January 2008
Skipping The Page

I have two video pieces in Skipping the Page at The Center for Book Arts in New York, which runs from January 18 – March 29, 2008. You can see Kent Beeson is a Classic & an Absolutely New Thing and 100 People which I wrote about very briefly here. The exhibition, curated by my friend Graham Parker, considers the relationship between the printed page and other forms of media in representing rhythm and tempo. Other artists include Michael Baers, Svetlana Boym, Beth Campbell, Julie Chen, Neil Goldberg, Karen Hanmer, Ryan Holmberg, Vlatka Horvat, Sam Lewitt, Marie Lorenz, Richard McGuire, Trong Nguyen, Leah Oates, Mark Orange, Garret Ricardi, Marco Roso, Seth Price, Lan Tuazon, Uwasa, Chris Ware, and 432a (Nami Matsuo & Lars Niki). Details for finding The Center for Book Arts here.

Thinking about relationship between page and perfrmance here’s the start of the text I wrote for Kent Beeson and below it a chunk of transcript from Kent’s actual performance as he loops around the script, commenting on his performance, starting lines over and getting distracted. In some ways this is an absurd case of it I know, but I really love the very particular extra layer of glitches and noise that performance (and speech rather than print) can bring to a text.

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I am going to have a great big house and a basement romperoom with a big high definition colour tv and all the latest gaming consoles and a games room and games and a pool room and a big fridge always full up of beer and coke and I will be like Elvis Presley always larking about with the guys and like Tom Hanks in Big – a big kid in a rich guys apartment and able to do anything. And I will have all the girls I want around all the time just hanging around by swimming pool and they will wear those bikinis that are more or less just a piece of string and too small and they will always be dancing or playfighting or sunning themselves and maybe some other girls who will have beepers and I will have an arrangement with them where I just beep them and they come over and spend the night with me.

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I’m going to have a great big house and a big um naagh fuck, Im sorry these conditions are hard. I’m going to have a great big house and a…..  basement romper room. I’m going to have a great big house and a basement romper room and a big high definition colour TV and all the latest game consoles and a games room and games and a pool room and a big fridge all full up of coke and beer and I will be like Elvis Presley, always larking about with the guys and I’ll be like Tom Hanks in Big er uugh…shit…[punches arm].. ow that actually hurt. I’m going to have a great big house and a basement romper room and….I’m going to have a great big house and a basement romper room…I’m going to have a great big house and a un.. ..not underground Kent, fuck you Kent, you piece of shit. I’m going to have a great big house and a basement romper room and a big high definition colour TV, and all the latest game consoles and a games room and games and a big…. pool room and a big fridge full up of coke and beer and I will be like Elvis Presley, always larking about with the guys and I will be like Tom Hanks in Big, a big kid in a rich guy’s apartment and able to do anything and I’ll have all the girls I want around all the time, just hanging around by the swimming pool and they’ll be wearing those little bikinis that are just made out of string, more or less and.. er too small….naagh. And I will have all the girls I want around all the time, just hanging around by the swimming pool and they’ll wear those bikinis, that are more or less just a piece of string and too small and they’ll always be dancing or play fighting or sunning themselves and some of the girls will have beepers and I’ll have an arrangement with them where I just beep them and they come over and spend the night with me.

In Progress

2 January 2008

Working on a whole lot of this:

Water is the same thing as ice. In America things are bigger. America is a country. Some men have sex appeal. Blind people cannot see anything. Burglars are men that go into houses and take things which do not belong to them. Mist is like smoke but it comes without  fire. The telephone is an amazing invention. A mouse that is dead is sometimes called a specimen. Love is difficult to describe. Fire is what happens when things get too hot. A waterfall is an example of nature at its most beautiful. Marilyn Monroe was a movie star. Frank Sinatra was a singer. French is a language. A language is a set of words and phrases or signs that you can put together to create different meanings. People have names, sometimes they have the same name but two people with the same name are not the same person. The same person can only have one body. Two people cannot live in the same body. Sometimes more than two people share  a house. Tadpoles are the children of frogs. One deception leads to another. An escalator is a staircase that moves all on its own. An elevator is also known as a lift. A refrigerator is more commonly called a fridge. Masturbating is not bad for you. Hills are made of land that slopes upwards. A dress is a piece of clothing commonly worn by women. Eyes are organs designed for seeing. A table has four legs. A window is an opening in a room built by people so that they can look out of it. A hostage is a prisoner used to bargain with. A bargain is a deal or an arrangement where one person has one thing and the other wants it and the first person has something that the other one wants and they made an exchange so that each party is more happy. Silence is golden which means it is valuable or important. A fart is gas that escapes from a body. Torture is a way of hurting people, mostly so that they will tell you things you need to know. Some bridges fall down under specific circumstances. Lions can make interesting subjects for statues.

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