The search continues

So it’s been a while since I’ve written here. That doesn’t mean though that a hectic semester has gotten in the way of me continuing to pursue theatre – from being involved in helping senior students with their thesis productions (we call them ‘Capstones’), to watching more shows, and reading more plays and literature. The summer took me to different parts of the world to engage in film, theatre, and everything in between and outside of.

I flew to Bangalore in India where I had the incredible experience of participating in Theater Mitu‘s South Indian Artist Intensive. By far the most exhausting but incredible experience I’ve ever been a part of, taking classes with great Masters in Kalaripayattu, Mohiyattam, Kathakali, and also chenda drumming, carnatic singing, lectures with Theater Mitu’s director Ruben Polendo and masterclasses with members of the theater company. Aside from all of this was also the opportunity to visit Hindu temples in the center of Bangalore and Jain temples in the town of Shravanabelagola in order to shape our understanding of the dramaturgy of space. While in Bangalore we also got to see Baahubali 2 in the cinema (which was an absolutely spectacular film), and director Abhishek Majumdar’s new show #Supernova with the Indian Ensemble, which explores the issue of child sex trafficking through the use of technology.

Afterwards I returned to New York City where I got to see new shows on Broadway (The Comet) and off-Broadway, inclduing long-standing immersive theatre experiences (Sleep No More). I flew off to Sao Paulo in Brazil to attend the FILE Festival, which is the International Festival of Electronic Language, showcasing works at the intersection of art and technology. In between each segment of travel I’ve been stopping in Lima, Peru which is bustling with events, including the Festival de Cine de Lima. I’ve had the chance to see the Spanish version of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, and a version of Shakespeare’s Othello done by Viajeinmovil, a Chilean theatre company, using mannequin heads (which was probably the most amazing show I’ve seen this year).

This summer was also about expanding my knowledge in art and technology, as I begin to pursue researching and creating my own Capstone for my senior year.

Which leads me onto what this space will include for the next few months. This site will serve – and I’m really going to make this a goal for myself – as a space for me to document my Capstone process. From taking notes, to being confused about what I’m reading, to synthesizing texts, sharing works of inspiration, and so forth. My Capstone will involve looking at the intersection of film and theatre through projections, looking at early phantasmagoria shows with magic lanterns and contemporary VJing as live video performance. On a metaphysical level I’ll be trying to gain an understanding of what the afterlife means in different contexts and cultures. All of this is in an attempt to accept or reject the notion of light as a means of disembodiment.

That’s the gist of my Captone, but of course it can change a little bit and part of the act of writing on this space will serve as an archive for that evolution in my topic, themes, thoughts, etc., as well.

Let senior year begin.

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I’ll never forget this moment. One of the images that really sticks in my mind from Fuerza Bruta: Wayra. Somehow, I felt identified with this particular moment. I felt like this moment perfectly described how I was feeling in my first week in New York; like an outsider looking in, in a world of fantasy, trying to escape and feeling like I was alone yet with so much happening around me.

Also, the main actor was really cute.

Quotes and Contemplations on Wilde’s “The Decay of Lying”

Thoughts on Oscar Wilde’s “The Decay of Lying: An Observation” (1889). All pages according to the book, Theatre in Theory 1900 – 2000: An Anthology, edited by David Krasner (2008).

 

People tell me that  art makes us love Nature more than we loved her before; that it reveals her secrets to us…. My own experience is that the more we study Art, the less we care for Nature. What Art really reveals to us is Nature’s lack of design, her curious crudities, her extraordinary monotony, her absolutely unfinished condition…. It is fortunate for us that Nature is so imperfect, as otherwise we should have had no art at all.” (47)

Art begins with abstract decoration…. then Life becomes fascinated by this new wonder, and asks to be admitted into the charmed circle. Art takes life as part of her rough material, recreates it, and refashions it in fresh forms, is absolutely indifferent to fact, invents, imagines, dreams….” (48)

Art finds its own perfection within, and not outside of, herself. She is not to be judged by any external standard of resemblance. She is a veil, rather than a mirror. She has flowers that no forests know of, birds no woodland possesses. She makes and unmakes many worlds, can draw the moon from heaven with a scarlet thread. Hers are the forms more real than living man, and hers the great archetypes of which things that have the existence are but unfinished copies. Nature has, no laws, no uniformity.” (49)

Lying, the telling of beautiful untrue things, is the proper aim of Art.” (50)

 

At first I found Wilde’s writing so beautifully engaging. Then the more I thought about it, the more some phrases did not make sense to me: “What Art really reveals to us is Nature’s lack of design” and that “Nature has, no laws, no uniformity”. I find these words quite puzzling as to me, Nature is so wonderfully crafted. And who is to deny the reappearance of the fibonacci sequence in many of Nature’s form, ergo showing a sense of pattern, design and uniformity in some respects? ‘Nature’ in itself is a broad term, almost all encompassing as the physical world is made of the living animals, plants and beings as well.

I believe Wilde is trying to redefine our notion of reality. What if ‘reality’ was in fact our imagined world, as opposed to our perceived one? What if true perfection was all that we could imagine, and nothing that really exists? Art is not solely about finding a perfection Art can exist within, but rather by confronting the very idea of perfection. I find that when the world does offer a sense of uniformity, Art is our chance at escape. Art offers a means of rebellion. Perhaps the perfection to Art that Wilde contemplates, is the idea that Art exists both within and outside of Nature; for Art is perfect in its own right because at its core, it serves only as a means of representation. Can there ever be such a thing as a perfect representation? No, but neither does Nature for it presents us a representation of perfection. Both Nature and Art admit to their flaws, and neither exist without each other as there would be no Art without Nature, and no Nature to be fed by Art.

 

We merely exist

in a world

of lies

Lies that try

and try

to keep us

sane.

 

And through this sanity

This insanity of conformity

of rules

we follow

like fools

not knowing what

lies

lie

behind.

 

But I beg you,

to tell me a story.

A story so that I

may finally

shut

my eyes

and peacefully,

oblige

to all these

lies

that lie

around

me.

 

Maybe Wilde is right about Art when he says its aim is to tell beautiful untrue things. But not all Art has to be beautiful, and sometimes there is beauty that can be found in the Lie.