July 8

Started the day by covering this 18 x 22 inch piece of paper with taupe chalk pastel. The lines are created by pieces of tape stuck to the board behind, as well as by smaller pieces of paper that I put in behind the paper while I’m scribbling pastel onto the paper. I’ll let this settle for the day, and then return to it in the evening. One thing I can always rely on is that something I’ve done earlier changes when I go back to it. Sometimes in surprising (good or bad) ways.

In the CVAG studio, I started by getting chorister #2 ready for applying the modelling clay. I’m using the Premier clay now, and will move on to La Doll when that runs out.

Today’s music provided by Anna von Hausswolff.

The Chorus (why?) lots of words below that are mostly “notes to self”. Just skip the words and look at the pictures if you prefer.

Because I’m working on the chorus members, its probably timely that I provide some information about why I’m including a chorus as part of this piece.

Five chorus members at various stages of completion

Some background, first. The piece comprises what I refer to as the twelve major aspects, and an as yet undetermined number of minor aspects, all of which are representative of events, states of mind, or states of emotion drawn from my life.

Five of the major aspects are currently on the stage, and one of the major aspects, the Two-Headed Heron, is above the stage to the left, looking down on the players on the stage.

Six Major Aspects (The Cassandra Players)

The minor aspects at this point are on tables to the left of the stage. I’m not sure of their full extent upon completion, but I have a vague notion that there will be twelve of them, although I won’t worry if I only develop seven, or 15. The exact number doesn’t matter; what matters is that I continue to build until I get that feeling that tells me to stop.

Six Minor Aspects

While I was working on the piece a few weeks ago, I thought that because I am combining some aspects of Greek mythology with a reification of my personal mythology, it might be interesting to include a Greek chorus. The problem, I thought, will be to convey to the person looking at the installation, what it all means, and how it fits together, but also without providing too much interpretation.

So I thought the chorus could provide some information, or at the very least, some guidance. According to Wikipedia, a Greek chorus is as follows: “A Greek chorus, or simply chorus (Greek: χορός, translit. chorós), in the context of ancient Greek tragedy, comedy, satyr plays, and modern works inspired by them, is a homogeneous, non-individualised group of performers, who comment with a collective voice on the dramatic action.”

So, the chorus pieces I am making MAY be somewhat homogeneous in terms of their basic structure, but various in terms of posture and gesture. Their voice can be collective, although I’m not sure of that yet, either. But the chorus will comment on the “dramatic action” as seen in the Major Aspects on the stage, the Major Aspects in the actual Procession, and the Minor Aspects that will accompany the main stage and the Procession. Maybe. Although yesterday Linda pointed out that many players that form part of a procession have no voice. Think of a graduation procession, for example, where many players show up in their regalia (which itself is a form of voice, so the regalia needs to be able to be interpreted), but only a small few have a voice in the ceremony itself.

Procession

And this begs the question: how will the voices of the chorus be heard? The answer to this question daunts me. Do I have to write a script to accompany this piece? In Greek plays, the chorus often comprised 15 to 50 members (and I’m limiting my chorus to five at this point), moved from the right of the stage to the left of the stage as they sang the “strophe”, from left to right as they sang the “antistrophe”, and stood in the middle front as they sang the “epode”, the final explanation of the play, intending in each of the three strophe, antistrophe, and epode, to illuminate to the audience what was happening in the play and suggesting how to interpret the play, and how to react.

I don’t think a 21st century audience is interested in being told what they are looking at, and how to react to it, so if I write a script for the chorus, that script needs to provide minimum explanations/interpretations.

And the chorus cannot be homogeneous.

At this point, I am not clear myself how the elements of my personal mythology tie together, what all the parts of the piece “mean” to me, why I am even doing this. So it is too early to write the script for the chorus. But as I make each chorus member, and when I return to working on the Major Aspects next week, I will “think” about each piece and the meaning of each piece.

I’ll try to write those meanings here…in an attempt to learn, as I am doing, what it is exactly I AM doing.

This afternoon’s music is from Kit Downes, ‘Dreamlife of Debris’.

Here is a taster from YouTube.

And more afternoon music from Olafur Arnalds.

I finished repairing Anger, Frustration, Restlessness. I had problems with the mid-section and the arms, and it’s still fragile, but this figure is one of my favourite Minor Aspects. I still need to remove or cover huge gobs of glue, but I think this is largely finished.

As for the Chorus, I’ve decided on postures for each figure, and it looks to me like a rock band rather than a homogeneous group who sing as one, one message. That’s what I wanted. two of the figures are attached to one board; I realized afterwards that that will make it awkward to add the clay and to move the figures into different configurations. I may cut it in two.

When someone comes to visit, everything looks different…

Photo by Quinn
Photo by Quinn
Photo by Quinn
Photo by Quinn
Photo by Quinn
Quinn (photo by Anne)
It’s a three sunset kind of day…

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