Unarchiving: Amnesia & Innocence
--from 'Listen to the Image; Look to the Sound' event
-installation became super powerful if audience must see me before or after going to see videos
--If I do again, I could place Leakage in a strategic way in/around a film work"
I recalled seeing an all-night show by Gob Squad called “are you with us?” or “are you still with us?” at Hebbel am ufer in Berlin…back in 2013 or before 2015. It was pretty funny and entertaining and interesting and impressive how quick-witted they were. The score and structure were set and repeated. It maybe took 30-minutes on average per cycle. There was a main screen and perhaps an extra smaller screen or two. The main screen showed the “actors” and each scene had a different background with set costumes and theme music or general genre. Actually, the lighting, background, costumes, etc were packaged together but didn’t necessarily correspond exactly to each other consistently. Behind the screen the audience could see glimpses of the actual actors and the giant green screen behind them. To the side was a director in a director’s chair. One of the smaller cameras showed the director’s face I think. A camera person was there also doing closeups of the actors. Perhaps they mixed and matched scores and themes and costumes as they played out acting roles, scenarios, etc improvisationally. It was absurd, playful and focused.
I rarely saw a live performance that included video projection where I enjoyed the interplay between the live performers and the video. DV8 had a scene where a man was describing something about the earth. He was making pictures and lines with his hands in space, and the things would appear on the screen in front or behind him. A director friend who saw the show with me in San Francisco said that it was impressive how they executed this scene so cleanly, but not worth it. She had experience trying to coordinate a live performer with a video like that, and she said it’s an unbelievable amount of work to get it precise without much reward in the end in terms of the artistic content beyond just sparkling out a spectacle.
I was a replacement performer for a show about when the international forces withdrew from Afghanistan. It was a company that works in the dance field and does “documentary theater”. They had gone to Afghanistan for research and to interview voices from many perspectives on the situation: soldiers, local Afghanis, victims of war, politicians, etc. For my participation, I had to speak the lines of Afghanis who were interviewed…sometimes in german and sometimes in English. Another performer had to speak the lines of a female Afghani musician—the first or most prominent rap artist coming from that country. Her and her partner actually came to the show in Berlin since they were granted refugee status. Meeting them had the same effect as meeting a celebrity or someone who I’ve seen in a series or a movie or a poster. My mind was filled with them already, so to meet them in person, there personhood in presence felt more energized and larger in aura to me.
I hate social media, but it’s completely woven into the fabric of my daily life. I have a psychic connection to a larger network than I would otherwise. I get to see what people are up to in their lives. It has value for me as I get to keep up with my family in the USA. It’s also toxic in how people commodify and advertise themselves…seeking value from external appreciation and coercing me into this economy of envy, praise, attention, lust, etc. I tend not to follow people who smell like a self-made celebrity-in-the-making or self-made-pornstar or only fans star in the making. …If they actually were doing only fans then I would somehow understand and respect their profiles more…more than just using Instagram as an extension of a hookup app.
I looked at old videos of myself in my work and in other people’s work. I wanted to get glimpses of this “Jorge” from the outside. I also looked at my social media profiles. Who is this person, or who is this person saying they are? Do I like this person? Is this person conscious of how they come across? Or not?
Funded by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and Media within the framework of the initiative NEUSTART KULTUR, aid programm DIS-TANZEN by the Dachverband Tanz Deutschland