Image credit: Merce Cunningham Dance Company, Points In Space (1986). Photo by Robert Hill. Courtesy of the Merce Cunningham Trust. All rights reserved.
On Saturday June 6th, 6-8pm. Week 1: Becket Flannery, Unfreedom
You push the brim of your felt hat from your eyes and look: past the flipping tail of your horse, a trail of detritus: whale meat seeping black fat, doggerel tracts; large bones, piles of cold spaghetti, a stain where a possum died. You try to reconstruct the narrative from the parts available to you: the remains, the road, the writer; and you, the rider, the reader. – BF
& a screening of Merce Cunnigham’s Points In Space (1986)
and John Smith’s Associations (1975)
The Girl Chewing Gum(1976)
For this first week of screenings we will present the two works that inspired the exhibition, Points In Space and Associations alongside a few select others.
Merce Cunnigham’s Points In Space, is a dance made for television, commissioned by the BBC in 1986. In 7 parts, which Cunningham called “phrases”, the dancers move around a panoramic set built within the London studios, alternating movement with stillness, playing sculptures, in front of a camera whose frame, motion (and rest) is a part of the score. At different times, by using depth of field, the foreground and background of the stage, bodies become frames for other bodies. Non-narrative but fluid, the dance is titled after a statement by Albert Einstein that “there are no fixed points in space.”
The choreography is layered with a work by John Cage, titled “Voiceless Essay,” an abstract composition whose process is highly conceptual. Cage recorded his voice reading sentences pulled from a Henry David Thoreau poem, sentences selected by a computer program. Cage stretched the playback of his read, turning recognizable language to sound, further abstracting it by cutting anything which is not a consonne. The dance and the score, made simultaneously and independently, were brought together only at the very end. In order to make the two parts work together, both Cage and Cunningham structured their work on the same Time.
Associations is a short film by experimental filmmaker John Smith, from 1975, which puns on semiotics by voicing an essay titled “Word Associations and Linguistic Theory” by Herbert H Clark, over found images culled from magazines and other sources. The work sets images and text against one another, on screen, both forcing and expanding the image/word associations we make, as the pictures illustrate the phonetics of the read, not the meaning of the text.
“The”, by Becket Flannery, Courtesy of the artist.
ps: This is Week 1 of a summer-long exhibition, This Sentence, whose artists and ideas are accumulating. The exhibition will run from June 6th to August 22nd, it is organized by Public Fiction at China Art Objects and will present the work of (in order of appearance): Becket Flannery, Gregory Kalliche, Sascha Braunig, Jibade-Khalil Huffman, Emily Mast, Ryan Gander, Tamara Henderson, Pascual Sisto, and Helen Marten.
As well as a program of screenings including: John Smith, Merce Cunningham, Sophia Al-Maria, Charles Atlas, Ericka Beckman, Derek Boshier, Viola Farber, Joan Jonas, Tzion Abraham Hazan, Sara Magenheimer, A. Michael Noll, Martine Syms, and a few more to be announced soon…
There will be performances staged by Ryan Gander, and Adam Linder. As well as a conversation with writer Alexander Keefe on dancer/choreographer Viola Farber.