“Discovering traces in the land of small things that linger around her body….a cartoonesque body, a shamanist chanting ritual…” Meg Stuart, Damaged Goods Website
“Stretched onto different surfaces and ricocheting across media, interior states refract and resonate in a shared world…” Meg Stuart, Damaged Goods Website
Cette masse de souvenirs, elle la lance en vrac sur le plateau, les retaillant ensuite un par un. Elle souffle : « Ces actions m’ont donné le sentiment d’influencer à la source même de ces blessures ». DFDANSE
“Staged within an exquisite installation created with video, scenography and light, choreographer Meg Stuart’s acclaimed solo Hunter explores her own body as an archive populated with personal and cultural memories, ancestors and artistic heroes, fantasies and invisible forces”. Red Cat catalogue
“How can I digest the many influences and traces that shaped me as a person and artist? How can my body unfold quantum genealogies and unrealized histories?“ Meg Stuart
The answer to Meg Stuart’s query above on digesting many influences may be “in the pudding”, so to speak. And further as they say, “the proof is in the pudding”. The proof’s, one might be speaking about, in Stuart’s dance piece Hunter, might be that of an amalgam, might that of a cut-up, might that of a splice, that of folding, unfolding, and then finally letting it all resound in a whole resplendent display. The pudding being the entire assemblage these roofs stir within, an entire assemblage of bits of stories of a life whose ultimate goal might be to ultimately gather, not simply disperse, to name , not simply recount.
Now, even further into the vision, deeper in the recesses of the liquid strands “of the pudding” are ante procrustean layers of memory. Memory re-called , memory ordered, memory unordered, memory displayed*, memory encumbered, memory let loose to create a larger image that escapes the usual regimes and orders that “show us” “how to remember”. Fragmented memory, piecemeal memory, aphasia, apnea, (musician who had memory loss), all bordering on hallucination or at least visceral verves of how to remember, how to tell, how to show what we remember. Again to reiterate, Stuart asks, How can I digest the many influences and traces that shaped me as a person and artist? How can my body unfold quantum genealogies and unrealized histories?” One might further ask of the acquisition, assumption and then of the peeling away, what and how that “could look like”.
Past the peripheral quadrants of our “past”* (replaced by the precariat) labor intensive world, beyond the assembly-line, beyond the long empty stretches of the warehouse aisle in the physical archive- “post-labour”- and in the realms of “cognitive capitalism”, those “many influences”* and their archive has a certain invisibility (“the pdf”, for instance). This “post” assembly line/ post factory archive of information has a certain seamlessness (Mr Robot) with a certain beauty in its smooth finished clean surfaces. The procrusteans* surely loved these clinical assemblages, these blind stone white on white rooms filled with nothing, and yet filled with everything, but just not seen. For behind the smooth panels, are the data, data- sets filled with the scramble, data- sets filled with the torrid over/t population of information society. And thus in essence, this kind of way of “digesting influences” and even unfurling with its data track of grids next to grids next to grids. Knowledge and knowledge subsets, still in many ways racks, lines, juxtaposed panels of information, – of which we hardly ever actually see this inner design. One might think to the art historian Aby Warburg and his fierce Atlas project, or Gerhard Richter and his own similarly titled Atlas series of photographs. All of these, in some way or another, still set into grids, panels, and quadrants of larger displays.
What then would it look like to not just operate through the side by side and the grids, but instead just start piling them one onto the other – the prospect of what art historians refer to as a palimpsest. Think of taking Jorge Luis Borges story, On the Exactitude of Science and his idea of a map of the world that is the size of the world, and instead taking every variant of regular sized maps form time immemorial and piling one on top of the other, on top of the other until the whole pile of maps from the most the first maps to the most recent maps laid one onto the other, fill in the past and present of all the details of what had been and what had not been.
Meg Stuart, again asks, “How can I digest the many influences and traces that shaped me as a person and artist? How can my body unfold quantum genealogies and unrealized histories?” Now, what i suspect we will see in Hunter is a layering, and relayering it- keeping it on our bodies, incorporate ourselves (the past map into/ onto the next map) in the memory- not just spreading the memories to Other “safe” separate spaces, but rather encumbering ourselves in the memory- bathing in them, no matter the pain or joy, lying and rolling with them.
Is there such a thing as vertical memory, as opposed to memory that weighs on us, surrounds us, and entraps us. To be vertical in our memories might thus be a Babelic tower we can go to again and again, not a complex of memories that surround us as a simple weighed down fortres. To be able to climb up the layerings and layerings and layerings. To know they are there inside, enmeshed, not around, not simply a person stuck in the middle of the web, vertical memory, would make us the web and and the web spinner. Inner vertical memory is not languoring but layering…
And will we see in Hunter -a layering one on top of another rather than the other erstwhile manner of handling memories- through spatial arranging in space into large grids where important resources might lose the impact they might have if instead we could more easily access the resource of our memories- the layering being optimal manner of storing and accessing?
DAMAGED GOODS from Oct. 13- to15 at 8pm, at Usine C. More info.
James Oscar studied closely under the Martiniquan poet Edouard Glissant. He has published as a poet Perch at Black Night, Pegasus Press 2009, Notes for the White Arboreal, 5X8 Press 2014, The Horns of Moses, Magenta Press 2014 recently performed and presented at MOMAPS1 in October 2014. His work surrounds poetics, anthropology, and issues of “post” nation. His present projects are in cinema (commercial and independent), theatre and cultural criticism.