Tuesday, October 9, 2012
1. Being, an installation of brightly colored food sellers with fruit and baskets.
2. Being, a tiered theatre of tables, though class and location, caricatured.
3. Being, I never got to 3, was too involved with 2.
Notes for myself.
Monday, November 7, 2011
The lights come up on a man in deep purple and blue robes. His hair is greying yet thick. A light shines on him...his eyes are downcast, head hanging heavily. Behind him great trees swirl in a dark forest. There is a dim yellow light cast from a hut in the wood. The sky is a deep purple. His head hangs heavily still...it is an awkward amount of time that passes. Finally, he begins a slow rise to level his face. His eyes are smudged with charcoal. His eyes are a pale blue. He looks beseechingly. We know not for what. Dancers stream from the trees -- no sound yet arises. The background begins to swirl and shift...the trees sway as the dancers come heavily down and leap up again-- swirling, turning...the trees begin to glow...the man's face raises more and more bringing itself to face the sky. The dancers stomp and parade away. The trees grow still. A single voice is heard- a long held note-- held after the man closes his mouth. Soon it is joined by another voice. A woman, thin, smaller, graying as well but beautiful in sparkling green and purple robes emerges from behind him....their disharmony becomes harmonic and the lights shut off and the stage is dark.
A young man is working steadily in a room full of books. He pours over them-- learning. His robes are white and black, but mostly black. He is searching for answers to questions that are greater than himself. And it is a struggle, but he mostly seems content with it. In a corner a girl is making a make-believe house out of pine needles. She sweeps them into corridors and rooms and uses a pine needle broom to arrange them. Her clothes are black and white but mostly white. The man is speaking. He stretches and walks about the room. The girl is speaking. She twirls about the rooms in her house, singing and dancing. The chorus is speaking. They are telling of a story ancient and great about how the world was created. The voices merge and they are all blending together to weave a story about searching and knowledge, the creation of the world, and the light-hearted song of a child. The scene is a primitive land-- desolate but not depressing. A long string solo with heavy drums begins as the chorus takes over to finish their story about the creation of the land. The books in the room fade away and the girl's pine needle home is brushed away. The man and the girl are gone. The land is being formed in the background. The soloist is reaching a crecendo in her story. The world is almost formed. We are transported into an ancient time when the discovery of fire was happening. When story was being formed and the language was spread out over the sky. The background is becoming lush and colorful and the sky is awake and alive. When the stories began the gods were formed from the words and controlled the skies and the land. They created more storytellers to shape the creation of the world. The rest of the chorus rejoins the soloist to finish the story of the gods.
A new scene:
The young man is dreaming. He is dreaming of a steam-punk technology. The world has large elephantine creatures in it- and lots of metal. There are fires roaring-- forges being used by blacksmiths, and people mill about brightly colored fruit stands. There is a glass contraption in the center of the stage. It is being used to create electricity. The man surveys the contraption. He speaks with a woman who spins out a greatly Mediterranean dance, telling him about the discovery of electricity and the impact it has had on her people. The forges quiet down as she squirms like Salome creating the story as much with her voice as her body. The man is entranced. He dances with her a little. But clouds roll in and everyone rushes out of the market. He is left alone with the contraption in a dark and windy night. He is trying to harness the energy. He is trying to use it to understand the formation of life. Animals come out from the night and walk around the stage-- lurking. The man is not afraid. He is focused on his project. As they encircle him, he expounds on his discovery. A woman emerges from out of the animals. She has harnessed their power and it was her curiosity that bade them come near. They remain in a slow dance around the stage as the woman uses her sense of smell to figure the man. He sees her. She is beautiful. He attempts to follow her and get to know her. She does not have his language. She has an animal language - distorted, strange. They begin a slow chase. They attempt to show each other who they are through dance and body movement. The man is a great scholar and is full of passion. The woman is a wild thing full of life and happiness. Her story becomes greater and she shows him some of her magical powers. He leaves with her. The wind blows through the trees as light rises on scene. It blows for a long time. It is silent but for the wind blowing and the movement of the trees. An experiment is being arranged in a room. The scholar and the woman are putting implements together. They are trying to put together a machine of creation. It is very intricate in its technology. The woman is now looking much less wild. They work to harness the power of electricity. It sizzles at their fingertips. Lightning like flowers burst in the background-- lines of energy are cracking out from the background. It is chaotic, noisy, drowning, deafening; they work feverishly and hard-- wheels are spinning and pistons rise up and down. They both drop to the floor and begin breathing deeply. They let their minds empty. The room is filled with a different sound. It is no longer deafening. It is transformed. They are entering a dream state. The background is full of purple and gold floating clouds. Soon it is a lush green field. Then a golden entity. It moves, it creates itself rippling on the dreams of the lovers. They lay together. It is raining. They have a slow, sexy dance on the floor. They are making their own creation. The animals are present in the background but the focus is on the intimacy of the couple. The rain sounds are more present than any other sound. Their dancing becomes more fevered- the rain lets off. The scene ends.
The chorus is out. They are jubilant. Great things are happening. They tell a story of the birth of a specific god, an energistic being of light and happiness. He is not frightening though he is very powerful. They are reverent of him. Colorful electric beams fill the sky. The chorus is dancing. They tell of the god Iktrius. Lots of colorful scarves are danced with. Animals come out to join. It is a celebration. The birth of the new god heralds a new world forming. It is one of magnificent power. Technology is burning with rainbow electricity. There is a great chanting for him. The world is about to be reborn.
The woman and the man are dancing together. Their colors are shifting on their garments, each stealing a bit of colored cloth from the other. He is created in her image, she is created in his. She is not pregnant. They are dancing and talking of ideas, great ideas, and swapping colored clothes. Another being is born of their dance-- it is in the background-- it is the being of their togetherness. A powerful Genie like being. He is shade of gray and glittering. He is serious and large and as they lovingly dance he stands larger than life in the background tempering. Several other people are out on the scene as well. They are wearing complimentary colors and they too are changing clothing at a slower rate. The man and the woman have become a single identity-- as they strip their clothing and exchange it they become knotted together. So too do the other couples on the stage. Everyone is soon knotted together and must move, hampered. The Genie grows more powerful and begins to glow red. He soon fades and the couples roll off stage.
A child is born. There is a soft high voice signalling his presence. The background is lush and green and is growing over with golden filaments and elephants tramp in the background. The baby sings of his world and what it contains. It is full of light and happiness. He was formed out of a binding, out of a creation of melding of two worlds, of two people, of two view points. As we come to know more about him, he grows older...his voice becomes deeper...and it splits....and it continues splitting as people emerge from the stage-- different entities of himself-- different personalities-- they create a cacophony of sounds as yet more rise from the depths of the stage to join the young man.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Light arose over the field of desert sand yellowing in the whiteness of the light. The bird had the loudest song and could be heard singing in the open market place far off in the direction of the city, could be heard by the nomads swathed in cloth and their animals that stood drinking with ears perked in the shallow desert waters. Through the fronds of the Arabian tree the bird could be seen, shimmering colors in the intensity of light, throat open to herald the rising sun and continuing long after it was arisen. Her song was changed from the owl, who screeched and scowled over the city night, the foul stench of retched mice heavy in the breath of his flight, carrying the signs of death on his wingtips. In this land, for these people, birds were carriers, the eagle, the feathered king, ruled over all and so many messengers were burdened with the lamentations of coming funerals. The priests, the diviners, wrapped in white or black cloth would listen for the bird calls to determine the fortunes of great men or lesser. In the palace, swans would signal the coming of their own degeneration with a song unheard by any until this grand and eloquent moment. The crows, who mock the wind's life-giving breath, with their own commit the power to overtake it. They perched everywhere, covering the rawhide stall ceilings and the castle ramparts both, mimicking the mourners in their dark robes and heavy lids.
They sing an anthem:
That the love song of the Phoenix to the Turtle Dove, a cursed thing from start, shall in flame be and with the unnatural lovers, consumed. With every song against them they loved each other unspoken, the Phoenix every morning sang to the morning but changed the song lodged in her breast towards the Turtle Dove who in turn sang back to her in secret. The songs, though markedly different, in essence were the same lamentation of a love not consummated. Each distinctly different, the Phoenix had a lilting song, the Turtle Dove's was urgent and violently passionate. Yet together, all songs faded, they became one song sung together, a sound unlike any could be made by any living thing. Both the Phoenix and the Turtle Dove lived apart, until one day, the Turtle Dove peered into the branches of the tree and saw the Phoenix burning brightly between the palm fronds. From the sight of her the Turtle Dove became inextricable, they merged into one, defying all nature, the self of each dissolved into the self of the other; natures own chimeric conflagration. No longer the Phoenix and the Turtle Dove, though none could say exactly what it then became. Reason, logic, the laws of nature were thwarted as all turned out to hear the song so separate merge into one, as these beings so separate merged into one. Reason, logic, law, threw up their mighty hands and departed from the foot of the tree.
However, when these laws are breached, consequences spring up and the birds hunched around the ramparts, the merchants stalls, began to greedily shriek:
As the Turtle Dove and Phoenix came to consummate their love, as two merged into one, all shot up in flame. Their hearts were asunder, their beings caught up in a firefight. From the city, from the palace walls one could see the flaming pillar. All activity ceased. The animals raised up their heads from the drinking pond, the nomads grew fearful and watched the tall black column of smoke rise into the sky, blotting out the sun. They had defied all natural things, broken the call of reason and when the flames quieted all was left in ashes. Truth and beauty extract reason. They lay buried beneath the Arabian tree, ashed in a form that looks like the etching of a Phoenix and Turtle Dove, entwined, combined, and whatever is true, or fair, is left unknown. For these dead birds cried no lamentation. The owls quieted their voice, the crows flew over the fire site as the mourners pay their dues. The eagle presided. The priests only whispered a prayer.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
They stand on the edge of a forest raining with trees, trees that stand like dominoes against the pale background of the morning only they are without the black spots the white trunks of dominoes, they are taller and more crooked darker and leafier than any domino but the forest stretched out away from the horizon coming toward them growing taller and taller as they stood there at the base of the red bark the ground soft and loamy around their feet, this boy and this girl stood holding hands wondering up at the length of the sky and the shadows cast by the growing structures wondering at the safety of their crossing and the possible dangers that lurked in the depth and the darkness of the wood. The animals were silent in their perches, merely rustling in their dens. Any snakes that were in the forest lay in wait. They hid under logs, under bush, in the darkest places. There were so many snakes and such little food, they trained themselves to move together, as one solid mass pulling together from different directions, they slid out from their rocks to join in a circular sweep, like an amoeba, fanning out for the kill. It had been long since they loosed their venom and now their mouths were tight and their bellies empty.
Girl and boy made ready with a pack on each of their shoulders, this old red spotted handkerchief tied to a stick full of biscuits and cheese and the boy carried a skein of water upon his belt. They moved quickly into the beginning shadows and were suddenly swallowed by the excess of dark. As they walked the boy sang a song.
The owl, dark as peat, sat on a branch with his head cocked toward the music. Apart from a deer now and then, these were the largest creatures to enter the forest. He catapulted off his seating and flew above a clearing, circling the thin rays of light that penetrated where a tree had fallen off some time ago. The boy and girl continued their walk, the song in its lilts picked up the rustle from squirrels and the movement of wind almost still by the ground. The song was small and thin like the boy and girl, it seemed blond too almost, a pale wavering that hovered in the air before the boy wordless but full of melody. As they walked he sang and the animals listened.
This dark owl hardly moved but tightened his circle that had been so small to begin with. Like to being charmed the snakes slowly unfurled their ruffleless skin and smoothed closer to the feeble rays of light pouring in. No birds but this owl and in the dim intensity of the light the snakes formed a gathering at the clearing, the light pouring down and giving depth like the inverse of a well-bottom and the boy and the girl walked on hand in hand their biscuits and cheese flapping along their shoulders as they traversed the forest.
In the village when the summer came pea pods dried up like the corn on their stalks. The roosters went sterile and cried dawn in the evening, the sweet milk from cows curdled, turned to clabber on their lips and the grasses in the valley sickened and died. Behind the barn where the cows and chicks were kept the girl had lain in the grass the blue above her and the grass already yellowing below. Her skirts were blue and white, mimicry of the clouds, and perhaps that was why the heavens opened up on her, rained down their cunning rebellion against this poor shadow of themselves. For her hair was blond as the sun, her eyes and mouth too bright and her hands still soft for all her chores. She lay behind the barn in the grass and it itched her ankles and her calves, made its way to her thighs and the backs of her arms and they were red and blotchy but her face was radiant. The boy was kneeling in front of her, the fabric of his pants collapsed around his ankles. Perhaps that is why the blight of fields, perhaps that is why babies wept all night in their cradles and the milk turned to clabber in their mouths.
His song faded out as they approached the circle of light. What they saw struck them and they remained motionless in the shadows. Snakes moved so slow as if dancing, the floor was alive with them, light shifting off their backs, refracting into the trees and disappearing at the end of the circle. They didn't leave it. Boy and girl walked the edge, marveling, their hands sweaty and entwined but the girls mouth worked in a spasmodic smile gasping all the while at their glittering backs and the boy kept his song quiet in wonder. Snake bodies pushed against each other, unwet but with some friction they glided smoothly in a tussle untagled and as the boy and girl tried to full circle they ran into the fallen log of the tree no longer standing.
It pushed them off to one side of clearing and they clambered on top of it, first the girl then the boy who had held her kerchief and who then handed it back to her. They sat watching the snakes entranced until she looked up and saw the single owl circling the daylight. His color was almost bleached out by the pale rays floating in. He screamed and plummeted. The boy pulled back and the girl cried out as he rose fistfull of snakes in to the sky. They hurried off the fallen log, back into the deep shadows ran without thinking through the forest, droplets following them from the tops of the trees, a spattering of fresh blood almost purple in this streaming dimming light. They ran together until they came to the cover of a cave freshly matted with dew and they stopped in to rest and to think and to hide for a while from the owl.
The cave was dark and cold, strange for all the heat emanating from the forest. The mushrooms growing on the soft loam outside halted their journey as the cave drew closer. It was bare outside. Inside was it was so still and so quiet the boy and the girl found themselves mute, unable to speak and they rationed out biscuits and cheese there in the darkness of the cave and they ate in the bleak silence. They knew they had to keep walking to get out of the forest before their food ran out. She was tired from running, not showing it but holding on to the boys hand with a tightness she could not conceal. They lay down to rest, his hand on her hair and her head crooked into his shoulder.
In her sleep the owl haunted her. He screeched and wheeled and flashed behind closed lids and startled the girl awake. Fistfull of snakes. The boy had turned away and was asleep on the rock floor. The girl was bathed in a light mattering from silk worms that swirled the cave. She gasped but she welcomed it-- it was warm and comforting and the white so brilliant in the dark she was grateful for it. This twisting silk, the silvery confection danced over the entrance, and she sitting in it, and he sleeping in it and the entrance covered up, a thick white mucus hanging like starwax from the dark mouth. She watched it grow and grew warm and in her belly the stirring began and she sang a soft song to it and the boy woke and put his hand to it and they sat in the cave growing warm and grateful and the silk worms spread themselves against the mouth of the cave and when it was time to go they pushed and tore at the silk, the worms that fell to the ground withered like ash, and they stamped on some as they made their way out, trailing stardust on the bottoms of their feet.
They had been run out of the village. The boy held her hand as they made their way to the edge of the wood. Everything will be fine, he said and she had shielded her face in her hands and he could not look away. When her cheeks were flushed they were beautiful; when she sat still as stone as the villagers, her mother and her father threw sticks, as the children ran up to her and pulled her hair and the townsmen cried out at her, her skin was silent, it was muted by the lack of red, a dim tide of pale that washed her out. At night they fled. He put his hand in hers and she made kerchiefs and they ran out of the barn where she was kept and made it to the edge of the forest in the daytime.
It went unnoticed for months but the seedlings died early that summer and the roosters were struck with an impotence, the cows gave no milk and the corn roasted black on their stalks. If she were not the only thing flowering in the village the attribution would not go unnamed. She was guilty. She had sucked up the warmth of the sun, the life in the grass rubbed itself into her body and the boy was not exempt. So they ran and they hoped to cross the forest before too long. But they could not say how long was too. So they ran in the cover of night and woke up and ran again, shielded by dark and the glowing traces of silk rubbed off them as they fled.
A dark owl slept in the moorings of an old ship. Some of the snakes in his fists remained alive, dripping but flashing and their venom it coiled and was ready to spring. The owl did not sleep lightly. Boy and girl were traversing the forest, what they saw as a clearing was the end of the clearings and the beginning of the sea.
That night there was no moon and the water was dark. It shifted black and shapeless beyond the tree line. They ship stood stranded halfway up the shore. Its masts were ruddied brown, leaning in the direction of the wind, the way of the trees. Cracks drew up its sides and every time the wind pushed through it it breathed a heaving sigh. The whipcrack of the sails was peaceful.
Girl looked at boy and he smiled. They had made it out of the forest. What lay beyond was the ocean, and in the distance they could see hillsides and the dim sparkles of fire-- perhaps another village lay in the dark. The crossing would be difficult, but together with this old ship the boy felt certain they could manage a shanty raft that would carry them to the other side. Owl held snakes tight in his fist. The footsteps on the boards below did not rustle him, he remained suspended in the lookout his head slowly melting in with his shoulders as he dozed. The boy and girl laughed and sang as she danced on the deck imagining themselves pushing off and floating along this battered wood to the hills beyond the sea. But it was night, so they buried into a cabin and there they settled till morning.
In the daylight, the owl awoke. He looked like a broken stump against the light. His yellow eyes shot open and the black of them could be seen dilating. The snakes had died sometime in the night, their venom, once coiled and ready to spring now leaked out of their bodies bathing the deck below. With no more than an upheaval of his body the owl dropped off the perch and into the lap of the girl. Fistfull of dead snakes.
She screamed and the boy came running. He pushed the owl, shouted, beat it with his fists but the owl clung to her skirts and she couldn't get up. She cried and screamed and they boy was red with fury but they could not unplant the owl. His talons scratched her thighs as he clung, the snakes whipped about and her legs began to gleam with poison. Slowly the girl and the boy realized that they needed to remain still. Like coming into the barn in the morning and finding a nest of scorpions, they had to quiet, still themselves until they could safely back out. The owl, once they had fully quieted, ruffled his feathers. He let the snakes loosely uncurl from his talons, settled them on her lap.
Terrified the boy reached for them and whipped them up into the air. They fell to the deck and shattered, splinters broke off and stuck into the skin of the boy, the girl and the owl. With the sun blinding above them the three sat on the deck unmoving, the owl so dark his figure looked carved out of basalt. Them so light they looked to be made of silk spun effigies. Venom had been loosed. Inside her stomach began a movement. The movement in her stomach grew louder as she sat there, unable to move and the boy could only hear the scratching helplessly. The scratching grew louder, her face was unable to contort, the floor of the ship was damp and loamy and the thing grew out of her, pushed its way through the glistening white silk and emerged, matted, and ruffling its feather took off into full rising light of morning.
Out of the forest, at the edge of the wood, there is a ship fast to the shore with the statue of a boy, a girl, and an owl so black as to be lost in the shadows.
On the other side of the ocean there is a village full of lights at night and dancing. The grass is green and plentiful and the cows are among the fattest ever known. They crop up out of the grass, black and white like dominoes and the villagers are red faced and happy and never go hungry.
There is a forest so thick with trees it is easy to lose place. There is a circular clearing, full round and lit up made from a tree that fell long ago.
As the boy and girl walked through the forest, they came upon the clearing. It was full of snakes. As they tried to circle they were entranced, the log stopped them and they were frightened by a dark owl. They ran. They ran to the edge of the forest and looked back on their village, the lights off in the distance; imagined that they built a ship to float on the dark water.
The word “employee” has been used to replace human beings in work communities. In fact, a “work community” is a new development proposed and advertized by employers in the work space to recapture some essence of what it means to be human in the work environment. In policy, “employee” has been effective in separating “employee” from “person” a being that is physically present, tangible, and that is a form that can develop relationships and can connect to other “persons” in the work space. By cutting out the personal and condemning a person to employee status, all signs of life are therefore crushed. It now becomes easy to sever the “employee” because all personality has been drained out of the concept. The employee is a commodity, it can be shifted to a new department, its status can be raised or demoted, and the employee can be faxed around or emailed about, because while on paper, they are just an “employee” an eight letter word that is usually black on a white background. When a policy becomes effective, it has the potential to affect the employee. When the employee is not a real, tangible being, the policy is much more easily carried out. There are no sticky questions of whether or not the employee has been a good employee if the policy will have a negative effect, there is no feelings of remorse upon employee termination because who gets attached to black letters on a page? No one has to worry about human things like, “family and kids” or has to think that maybe the employee needs the money, or needs the job, or likes the job, or values the job. It becomes even easier to lump the employee into a category thus policies become rules that are generic and if the employee fits into a category their role becomes clear. Once the employee is categorized, the policy makes it clear what must be done with the employee. As an example, imagine that you are presented with an employee. They have black hair and a lopsided smile. This is an undesirable trait in your company because in the past one of the “higher ups” (not an employee this time but a manager or Chancellor, a title with just as little humanity but more power) had problems with dark haired individuals who showed too much tooth on the right side. When you now find yourself presented with an employee who retains these primitive and detrimental characteristics, the formula is spelled out for you in black and white, taking decision making out of the mind of “human resources” (an appropriate title when the shift from human to worker commodity has been implemented) and putting it into their hands, little things that can employ action but do not need to get caught up in any moral argument with themselves. This little black lump has shown to be effective in businesses all around the world. Racial discrimination, gender discrimination, discrimination against the disabled or elderly have had a hard time finding their way back into the workplace now the policies promoting discrimination have been smoothed over with white out or a paper shredder. However, the one standing policy: that members of the same family or close relation shall not work as employees together stands strong. This is good because it is known that people in families or in close personal relationships are more volatile than employees who only know each other on an employee to employee basis and not on a human level. Cementing the incontrovertible fact that policies are in place because they are good and right and are therefore able to be carried out blindly is this aforementioned example. Because case by case scenarios mean nothing in the workplace, it is good that a generalization remains that has been proven and proven again to be true. When one is a little too human, too real, something outside of “employee” the office becomes a dangerous place. Work is affected, moral plummets to an all time low and coffee is spilled at a much higher rate. In order to guard against the non-employee status uprising, all forms of its antithesis, the human, must be squashed. Protect yourself and remember: it’s not angry or volatile people with bad attitudes that make the work place uncomfortable, its people working together that know one another outside of the “employee.” And please, don’t question the black marks on this page. They are good and right and true.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
The part of the self that wants crushing. Whatever could be added to could not be taken away from. But that's all wrong. Begin the beginning:
See a girl with fists in her eyes, a yellow bawling out in the school yard. Pleated grass and bushes forming tunnels, the blacktop, the white lines of a kickball field, monkey bars, jungle gym, swings, the metal bars for flipping that she lay under, bawling, crushing out her eyes, the pain in her forehead searing and the sun hanging light in the sky. Her age was unknown, guessed to be eight and probably right. The teachers stood around the field in strategic places, pillars of watchfulness but were really just regular. It is the children who are strange and out of place, unthinkable and different, not yet molded into imperfection and the realized fallacy of idolatry.
"Pick a hero and write a paper. We will share them in class tomorrow."
She chose the ants in her bedroom. She wrote about their courage, their indefatigable journey towards nowhere. How when she crushed her finger upon one the rest would rise him above and carry him safely homeward. The ants that for all their smallness were really larger than her, they crossed vast distances from her bedpost to the dresser the windowsill the crack beneath the door, and they formed a part of a whole, that there even was a whole and they moved together and unquestioningly obeyed the queen.
The Ant Moll
Sunday, November 2, 2008
By Darin Cox