Monday, July 07, 2008

when walls with words become scores...

lawrence weiner retrospective at moca

this coming friday, to coincide with the last weekend of moca's lawrence weiner retrospective, i've been invited to do a short performance inspired by weiner's text pieces. the event will take place at beyond baroque, and will include a humbling roster of art folks including morgan fisher, judith hoffburg, kathryn andrews, lisa mark, tamara sussman, brian kennon, dagny corcoran, norm laich, ann goldstein, stephanie taylor, john baldessari, ed ruscha, and more.

my relationship to weiner's work is quite small, even though i've always been a fan (and i always like an artist who also makes records.) the one piece of his that really had an effect on me, was a piece i saw painted on a WW2 bunker in vienna many years ago, that says 'smashed to bits in the still of the night'. it was visible from my small dark hotel room, and weiner's haunting text gave this giant ominous concrete beast an enormously oppressive presence.

saturday, i walked through weiner's retrospective, looking for pieces i might be able to use as scores. the interesting thing about weiner's work, for me, is that a lot of them read as actions. many suggest documentary text of a performance that has already happened, with no evidence left behind of its happening. on the other hand, things are generally implied or suggested, so that they really only happen inside of you. for instance, when i read 'a cup of sea water poured on the floor', i instinctively look at the floor for a small water pool, i see the pouring action in my head, i can kind of smell the sea water, know its wetness, even picture a milky white measuring cup filled to the brim, etc. the texts work on all of your senses.

because of the nature of his texts, my performance of them will be a kind of reversal. with the words gone, the action will be the only thing present; but in the context, people will be looking back to the words. i like the idea that weiner's words are always pointing me towards action, and now my own action might point people back to his words.

i found a number of things in the show that could be used to generate poetic and sound actions, such as:

many colored objects placed side by side to form a row of many colored objects

just another thing
taken and changed
(a wood) (a stone)

a cup of sea water poured on the floor

dropped stones

pebbles and straw strewn on a level with the surface of the ocean

i also found the following texts quite beautiful, and although i can't quite figure out how to actually 'do them' in the context of such an evening, seemed worth posting... they also sound quite nice spoken...

stars don't stand still in the sky

a line drawn from the first star at dusk to the last star at dawn

every time we say goodbye
we die a little
every time we say goodbye
we wonder why a little

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2 Comments:

Anonymous billy g said...

ah this sounds exciting (and perplexing). i look forward to an after-action report....

8:09 AM  
Blogger sroden said...

yes, i'll have to do a post next week, if i ever figure out what i'm going to do... it's nervous time....

6:32 PM  

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