Monday, May 23, 2011

Simultanous time and sequential time

The activities in Bruegel’s painting Children’s Games exist in simultaneous time, but the viewer’s eyes pass from one game to another, through the perspectival space. This, of course, takes time, so the painting unfolds for the viewer in an indeterminate sequential time - each viewing can follow a different path. The thoughts and associations that generate the work in progress Children’s Games are also in simultaneous time. Rhizomatically linked, they diverge and converge, finding different connecting points, layering accumulatively or thinning into rivulets and cul-de-sacs. The actual performance of Children’s Games will exist in determined (on a macro-scale) sequential time, but should contain the idea of simultaneity. Cataloguing is one way of doing this, and Bruegel’s work is, in a sense, a catalogue. Another type of time that runs through the painting is cyclical – seasons of the year, ages of life, rituals of marking time, rituals of marking the age of childhood. Childhood activities are “timeless”, passing through time, oral tradition, changing but the same.

The story of the Wild Child of Avignon, on the other hand, is firmly rooted in a sequential structure of progression. The child begins as a savage and ends at civilization (or an approximation thereof). The system of training suggests improvement in a unitemporal direction. A telling of the story through words or images consists of a temporal compression – representing key moments in a series of transformations. Didactic sequential time…?

The horror film exists within screenal time – time out, mediated time. Repeatable time, re-screenable time.

The seance attempts to reach across time, magical time, the time of the written word.

This week in rehearsal we spent the time communicating non-verbally.

Photos by Lydia Rosenberg

Sunday, May 1, 2011


Building Children's Games has also been like generating and maintaining parallel streams. At this point, the streams can meander or form eddies as we try out ideas. Eventually they will all converge.
One stream is the video shoot for section one. I've started rehearsing with Fawn Williams, Devin Lucid, Emily Galash, Gabi Villasenor and Alexandra Ramirez as the feral children/runaways. In the studio, we've been working with the list of games from Bruegel, using it to generate both movement phrases and a spoken vocabulary. We've been playing with the language, breaking it into sounds or applying processes of rapid linguistic drift through repetition and distortion.
We've also been playing some of Augusto Boal's theater games (such as the one pictured above), playing a few of the games from the painting and playing games remembered from our pasts.
Running alongside is the live band stream, music that I've been improvising/composing with Taryn Tomasello and Gabi Villasenor. On April 9, we played our first "real" show. I trigger sounds on the computer, play a cheap drum machine, a broken mic and processing. Gabi sings, plays a lap steel through delay and drums. Taryn sings, plays keyboard and drums. These "songs" are deliciously dark and dramatic.

Here's an excerpt from the show, with video projections by Taryn.

Crippled Athlete April 8 2011 from Seth Nehil on Vimeo.