Monday, July 27, 2009

"this probably isn't possible but..."

"You have to love dancing to stick to it. It gives you nothing back, no manuscripts to store away, no paintings to show on walls and maybe hang in museums, no poems to be printed and sold, nothing but that single fleeting moment when you feel alive. It is not for unsteady souls."

merce cunningham is dead at 90.

he outlived cage & feldman & rauschenberg. jasper johns is the only one left from this remarkable group of great american artists. i wrote a little earlier on dance, what it means to me. i'm no expert. one thing i do know is that merce was very much determined to give you "that single fleeting moment" of aliveness, which is very different from the romantic paterian " hard gem-like flame" of ecstasy because it embraced transience & eschewed permanence. the only thing hard & gem-like about merce was the actual execution of the movements but they all flowed from one to another & were never fixed or determined by technique. "I prefer adventure to something that's fixed," he said.

one thing i see in his work is that he's taken the modernist impulse of breaking down the art form in question to its essentials, to that which will define it as a specific art form but he shreds that modernist straitjacket of reductio ad absurdum by introducing chance into the equation. there can be no final definition when there's always another move to make, another point to consider. merce & cage worked off the idea that complexity is three simple things combined. simple & ordinary things.

"Merce saw beauty in the ordinary, which is what made him extraordinary." trevor carlson spokesman for the merce cunningham dance company

"Usually, we think that the buddha mind, the state of enlightenment,is something very
fantastic, something completely different. that is incorrect. the buddha mind is said to be the nature of things as they are. the word 'ordinary' means something which is not modified, altered or changed in any way.
" chokyi nyima rinpoche

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