Fourteenth weekly sum of daily notes, in the run-up to Silence: 2014, a cross-border artistic witness. See the Soulographie site (soulographie dot org) for the day-to-day. Questions? get to me at shadowtackle[at]sbcglobal[dot]net
Silence: December 2014.
Artists worldwide to practice silence through the month as they will, in different ways, to deepen global contemplative capacity cross-culturally, and demonstrate mass solidarity.
Schechner – Betw. Theater and Anthro
“It’s as hard to write about performance, theory or practice, as it is to put ideas, as such, onstage, for the writing is always indirect, representative, the map not the territory. And the stage always is there, physical first, a gaping territory only vaguely pointing elsewhere. But both writing and performing create negativity. Emily Dickinson: ‘Wonder is not precisely knowing, / And not precisely knowing not, / A beautiful but bleak condition.’ Performance theory, when well done, takes into account both the beauty and the bleak condition—as well as the negativity, full of the Japanese Mu, pregnant pause, full emptiness, that the stage so totally is. As Artaud said, the stage is first a physical space waiting to be filled. But when the stage is full, it is filled with propositional emptiness. All effective performances share this “not—not not” quality (see chapters 2 and 3). Performer training and workshops focus their techniques not on making one person into another but on encouraging the performer to act in-between identities; in this sense, performing is a paradigm of liminality. And what is liminality but literally the ‘threshold,’ the space that both separates and joins spaces: the essence of in-betweenness?”
Silence 2014: an effort towards global mu; turning the world into a Dickenson dash –
Wonder is not precisely Knowing
Wonder—is not precisely Knowing
And not precisely Knowing not—
A beautiful but bleak condition
He has not lived who has not felt—
Suspense—is his maturer Sister—
Whether Adult Delight is Pain
Or of itself a new misgiving—
This is the Gnat that mangles men—
Suspense in writing is addictive… or pestilential. You can try to keep it out but it gets through the holes in the screen. More (mechanically) complex than not-knowing? But a mangler… disorders the sense of the Thing at Seed.
“…listen to the breath,
the unbroken message that creates itself from the silence.”
– Rilke, Elegy 1
– Fragment 29A, Sappho, translated by Anne Carson, in her book If Not, Winter.
The book is all Sappho, and so mostly fragments. But the fragmentary nature makes for a breathlessly energetic ride…
Dear Weather Ghost,
When I held dead July in my arms
you would not even let me do that.
Dear Weather Ghost,
A dune of the outside builds in me.
I am not exiled, I am remote lands.
I’ll order my acre.
– Melissa Ginsberg
Cassian: “Christ summoned Paul and spoke to him. He could have straightaway disclosed the road to perfection. He chooses instead to send him to Ananias and tells him to discover the way of truth from him: ‘Get up. Go into the city, and there you will be told what you must do’ (Acts 9:6).”
I come across this event in Acts again and again… A call to civics, also indirection (gaps/gaping/agape). This is from a chapter on discernment… Truth comes in the sideways route; silence can help makes space that lets the sideways in. To learn what we need to learn (even if it’s to learn how much work lies ahead, how difficult our path will be) – we sometimes need to get up and go – go out the side door, go on a journey we didn’t expect, and listen to a stranger (listen to the strange). Silence can open the side door.