nicely unreadable

Some mystifying (in a good way, I think) moments in Ane Lan’s Spiriti (reporting in here from the Meteor Festival, Bergen, Norway). You walk into the space and there’s seating for about 50 – a circle, the light’s dim, there are draped figures in the middle, a mandala pattern taped on the floor. The lights go out and – nothing for a long time. The kind of dark where you don’t know if your eyes are open or closed. Then, small sounds from the center – rhythmic shifting. Creepy to the point of frightening. A reminder of how dramatic not-seeing is. Similar effect in Romeo Castelucci’s installation at the old prison. Deafening alarm (really too loud to hear), shadowy environment… First words in Spiriti: a quote from Husserl – how beain = a process – understanding is in constant motion from and to… This seems to be the common ground (is it?) between Heidegger and Hegel – this idea that whether we are or aren’t whatever we mean is moving?


Midway through the show, Ane (I think it was her) begins what feels like an improvised monologue, and a few minutes it, it seems as if she’s attempting clairvoyance – channeling images – possibly from the audience? But nobody in the audience is responding to the pictures she’s evoking (“I see a man with a beard in a boat…”). One settles into the sense that she’s attempting clairvoyance without being the least bit psychic. How beautiful! And so much the model of theater. An exercise for class – Conduct personal images not of your own making… (pictures related to foreign experiences.). Being/meaning is in this space between where we are and where we aren’t  – memorial space – the conduct of the mind in preparation for images – spiritually wonderful when the preparation is free from expectation – and that freedom is perfect (perfectly impoverished/humble) if those images are absolutely unavailable.


There was also a moment in the show where a performer stretched out on the ground, and another performer came forward (slowly, in the dark, with a flashlight) to pull a member of the audience. I was the first person she came up to – and she backed off; she went next to me, and drew the person by the hand into the circle, to sit with the prone figure. Two others were taken up without hesitation. An opportunity for me to consider my increasingly transparent hard-heartedness; I was very, very stiff against exercising my empathy/crossing a line. So about this psychic thing – I believe just about as much as I don’t believe that minds can be read…

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