Sondheim, Foofwa – <em>Blanking</em>

Blanking (2011, 30MB, 1:07 min)

for Carol Novack

‘I was working on this, shot with Foofwa d’Imobilite at Eyebeam,
when I heard the news that Carol Novack had died. for many of us,
this was unexpected and awful, as if the year couldn’t end
without just one more tragedy.

Foofwa and I had talked about our
work together, earlier, about issues of pain, wounding, death;
I think this piece, made at the time, is all I could do, I speak
through image and sound, these words already lost, resting in
thank you Foofwa and Jamie and Jackson at Eyebeam’

Alan Sondheim

Sondheim – Prisoners

prisoners (2008, 25.4MB, 2:36 min)

Nearest thing to a Picasso we yet have, in my view.
Whatever history decides, there’s no denying one point
of Sondheim/Picasso commonality – an almost compulsive
I’d push it further -they both constantly transform lead into
gold. Picasso & his seat & handlebars, Sondheim, for example,
these bits of video.
The music, a kind of hallucinogenic, shredded-up
slow funk/blues, is also particularly noteworthy.
Here, for good measure, is Alan’s accompanying rubric:

prisoners of motion capture, prisoners of west virginia

prisoners of caloric, froid, prisoners of gravitation
prisoners of art, mayhem, vandal, prisoners of desecration

o to be a prisoner of life again (above the clouds
o to be a prisoner of love again (within the waters
o to be a prisoner of truth again (beyond the earths
o to be a prisoner of dance again (before the fires

prisoners of fires, froid, prisoners of aerostat and transport
transport of prisoners, clouds, waters, earths, fluids

yes, prisoners of fluids, prisoners of fluids and places
prisoners of west virginia, of fluids, places, life, love,
truth and dance again

Sondheim – Unmissable , Unmatchable

Native Dancer (2011, 92MB, 2:08 min)

Genbush (2006, 17MB, 6:03 min)

Two pieces from Alan Sondheim -one we originally posted in 2006
and one very recent. The new piece –Native Dancer
is a particularly affecting example of recent motion capture/avatar work.
It properly forms part of a triptych but I think it is the outstanding of the
three and I’m going to exercise curatorial perogative & post it singly.
It enchants me -I don’t know exactly why, I think the reasons could be
quite banal -there’s something of the children’s TV sci-fi epic about it perhaps…
Don’t know, just love it.
And here’s what we originally said about the other piece, which I see no reason to change:

Humor is perhaps not a quality that springs immediately
to mind when discussing the work of Alan Sondheim.
Wrong! His work is saturated in it, often a species of
graveyard or gallows wit.
Here, though, he just lets loose, plays.
But the man is incapable of doing anything that doesn’t
resonate with layer upon layer of meaning too!

Cutting Edge Cinema

A Tough Dance (1902, 7.1MB, 47 sec.)

Bicycle Trick Riding (1899, 5.5MB, 37 sec.)

Three Acrobats (1899, 5.4MB, 36 sec.)

Three exhilarating chunks of early movie making from the
Library of Congress online collection of variety stage motion pictures.
I particularly love the deeply strange A ‘Tough’ Dance.
There’s also a great early animation collection on the LOC site.

Carlos Gavito & Maria Plazaola

Carlos Gavito & Maria Plazaola
Gavito & Plazaola (n/k, 13.5MB, 3:44 min.)

‘The secret of tango is in this moment of improvisation that
happens between step and step. It is to make the impossible thing
possible: to dance silence. This is essential to learn in tangodance,
the real dance, that of the silence, of following the melody.’
– Carlos Gavito

Watch the late Carlos Gavito & his partner Maria Plazaola
play havoc with the space time continuum in this extraordinary
piece in which time slows down, speeds up & actually comes to a
halt at least once.

[ Found on this very strange tango site with lots more videos]

Trisha Brown Interviewed

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Interview with Trisha Brown (2007, 11 MB, 3:06)

Anyone in or near London should absolutely get to see the
“Laurie Anderson, Trisha Brown & Gordon Matta-Clark –
Pioneers of the Downtown Scene, New York 1970s”
currently at the Barbican. It’s fantastic!
I was particularly lucky to be there when a performance of the
Trisha Brown ‘walking on walls’ piece happened (worth
ringing in advance to see what performances are on and when)
I knew it would be interesting but, somewhat to my surprise,
I was immediately & intensely emotionally engaged by it too, finding
it lump-in-the-throat-&-tear-in-the-eye moving…
Although we’re concentrating here on Trisha Brown with an interview
conducted in 2007 at the Documenta 12 event (and after you’ve
watched that, the Guardian has a nice audio slideshow about the
walking on walls piece), all three artists shine in this show.
It’s all great but particularly interesting are the rooms of drawings
related to their various performance practices.

KMA – ‘Flock’ in Liverpool

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‘Flock’ in Liverpool (2008, 152MB, 2:44 min)

How many times do you read artists’ descriptions of their own work
and think ‘naaaaa…’ totally failing to recognise their stated ambitions
in what appears to you to be, at best, somewhat pedestrian and at
worst, a total disconnect from what they write.
This is the complete opposite of that, utterly living up to the makers’
stated intentions, and an absolute spine tingler to watch even through
the distance of video documentation.
Check out the KMA site for a complete description of the piece,
an ‘interactive light installation’ based around Swan Lake,
but not until you’ve watched this beautiful bit of documentary.
Particularly touching is the genuine joy in participation it evokes.

Very hard to pull off and very moving to see.