To see what is behind
And not see what is in the heart.
We performed a piece later in Dallas using a tape of part of the narrative, a roughly edited video of the Novena, an artist's book of slightly altered photographs (mostly of installations) sandwiched between pieces of hand-made paper, and nine "wands" which Nancy made for each day of the Novena.
The piece was performed at the McKinney Art Contemporary. Nancy and I decided to improvise with the idea that we were once urban artists who awkwardly interacted with nature through their art. In Dallas, we would be nature beings who had to endure the awkwardness of interacting with an urban environment. Nancy and I used facial mud of different colors for make-up and made costumes from tea-stained cheese cloth. We built a house out of cheese cloth and lace. We also constructed a set out of "found" objects from back stage. I also brought out a pinned striped suit. I had once been notorious for often wearing a pin-stiped suit especially during my performances with BL Lacerta.
I had a talk with the audience telling them about the piece and inviting them to participate. I mentioned that it would be possible for me to end the piece in my suit after I have changed back into an urban artist. I did wear it but only by its hanger tied around my neck with my tie.
Sharpness in ugliness:
Holding in the mouth five cartloads.
The audience had also been invited to bring found objects that would help us make an installation together. That didn't really happen. My fellow "Lacertid," Kim Corbet, did bring a lot of musical equipment and was very active during the performance. Ric Speed, who was married to Wanda in the narrative) arrived late and was made into part of the installations that were continually being made and remade during the piece.
One audience member (who also happened to be a friend) was tied up by the parts of my suit. He came to the performance wearing a tie. The rest of the passive audience was subtly activated by the use of one of Nancy's magic wands. I touched each person with the wand where I found them the most interesting (i.e their tie, cheekbone, elbow, etc.).
Overall, the long improvisation was rather dense aurally, visually, and in ideas. We had expected it to be more minimal, but it was not meant to be so.
Ten thousand goblets:
An auspicious omen.
The feedback, after we had acknowledged an official ending to the piece, was very positive. Greg Metz, the founder of the sponsoring organization called Dallas Artists' Research and Exhibition, said that it had been a long time since he had been to some "real" performance. Greg and I come out of the same artistic community and both understand what is packed into the word "real." It has something to do with "real-time;" totally happening in the moment and the genuineness and/or honesty that comes with being that "present." Our preconceived intentions took a back seat to what "needed" to happen in the moment.
The other "real" performances that Greg may have been referring to could have been the many musical performances by BL Lacerta, but more likely could have been referring to the performances of Jerry Hunt. Jerry Hunt improvises using very complex scores which are concerned with perceptual processes. Sometimes improvisers may fall into patterns that become habitual. This can happen more especially to someone who performs alone. Performers will often use what Cage called "chance operations" to randomize the performers habitual patterns and bring him/her back into the present. Cage had criticized BL Lacerta for musically sticking to close together while not allowing his score to add new complexities to the music. He had composed two pieces just for his performances with BL Lacerta at the Dallas Museum of Art. We actually needed to listen less and be less sensitive to each other and pay more attention to the score.