16 March 2009

CityDance presents "CARBON!"


Upon return from Kenya, I received an email from one Christopher Morgan, representing himself as the choreographer for CityDance in Washington, DC. In his note, Christopher said that he had seen my work at Mass MoCA, and asked if would I be interested in a collaboration of sorts with CityDance.

Remember, Dear Reader, that I come from the music world. For a long time I have considered the possibilities and advantages of collaborative projects with other art forms. The premise of Industrial Scars is that beautiful images of the detritus of our consumption will inspire viewers to consider their involvement in this process that is desecrating our home. My idea is that art will move people in ways that words and statements do not. Of course, this pertains primarily to those with an inclination to visual art, and leaves others uninfluenced. So, for a while I have been exploring the idea of interaction with other artists to produce a sort of hybrid that would push the envelope and have the ability to reach different audiences. We are currently in discussion with the Bamberg Symphony about a multi-media piece using Gustav Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde (The Song of the Earth). More later as that develops. Suddenly, unbidden, came a new possibility, to which I, of course, said what any good artist in America might say: do you have a budget? (I would have participated either way, but Industrial Scars is an expensive project to support.) The debut was 10 days hence, so we started to discuss which images would work for them and the technical aspects we would need to consider.

Flash to debut day. I had proposed that we do a pre-performance symposium/discussion with the audience, a suggestion CityDance “jumped at.” Of course, the Amtrak train from NYC to DC was an hour late (amazing that stuff still works at all after 20 years of neglect). Time for a rant: why the f*$%& did we let those gangsters get in to power and rob the country blind? For years we will be paying for what Bush and his cronies stole from us. And, I just love it that Halliburton sucked the host dry and moved to Dubai. We deserve this “downturn,” and more. I digress…

Finally, I arrived in DC, and proceeded straight to the hall, where the crew was frantically finishing the setup. Having been involved in more productions than I can count, the last minute disarray did not worry me in the least. It is a good group- very dedicated and serious about the craft, and it was a pleasure to watch them work. The discussion before was a little casual, starting with the inspiration and conception of the project, Christopher’s “persistence of memory” in the recollection of the images he had seen in the previous year’s costume design, projection design- productions require a lot of input.

Of course, the thing about dance (you’ll see why I’m not a dancer) is how do you translate these complex concepts into expressive movement? I have a confession: I don’t really like poetry either. Feel free to disconnect and write me off. The audience loved it! And as a mission man, it therefore does not matter if I am a dance aficionado, as long as we reach another subset of the population. The important thing is that we all change our behavior, and whatever motivates that alteration is fine with me. It is quite possible that the attention garnered from this weekend’s SOLD OUT, limited run of “CARBON!” will translate into something more down the road. A tour, perhaps?

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