We visit performance artist Meredith Monk in her New York City studio. Meredith Monk is an American composer, performer, film-maker and interdisciplinary artist.. She is primarily known for her vocal innovations. Monk‘s performances have influenced many artists, including Bruce Nauman, whom she met in San Francisco in 1968. She is the subject …youtube.com2 years ago
Those tales about animals taking human form and experiencing the love, freedom and wisdom that is supposedly only available to humans.
An old wood-carver named Geppetto carves a wooden puppet named Pinocchio. The puppet is brought to life by a blue fairy, who informs him that he can become a real boy if he proves himself to be “brave, truthful, and unselfish”.
A.I. Artificial Intelligence
A robotic boy, the first programmed to love, David (Haley Joel Osment) is adopted as a test case by a Cybertronics employee (Sam Robards) and his wife (Frances O’Connor). Though he gradually becomes their child, a series of unexpected circumstances make this life impossible for David. Without final acceptance by humans or machines, David embarks on a journey to discover where he truly belongs, uncovering a world in which the line between robot and machine is both vast and profoundly thin.
There are always so many to learn from doing performance.
The spider piece that I performed before and this beetle piece are from my Self-Portrait series. Insects and arachnids look intimidating to many people, but they are also so vulnerable to human beings. I’m so fascinated by this contrast. When I was performing the spider piece, I collapsed emotionally. It was more than I could handle in the end. I felt that, in that space, I was prominent but also invisible. I was surrounded by an audience but also isolated. As I crawled to viewers, they all stepped back to keep a distance from me. I only got the chance to touch someone’s foot. The floor was cold, and flesh and blood was warm. I wasn’t firmly attached to the sculpture I wore at the beginning of that performance, but, after a while, I realized that it was the only thing I had. It was my closest companion.
The experience with the beetle piece was really different. The horn became an extension of my body. I touched audience members with its sharp end, grazing a cheek, tapping shoulders, and pointing to a heart. I was surprised how people trusted me that I wouldn’t hurt them but only touch them gently. The beauty and tenderness of that power dynamic broke my heart. I attached and lost parts of myself on each spectator.
I touched the audience and also was touched by them at the same time. Through working on the project The Skin of a Human Being, I saw myself as an observer, a director, and an outsider. I was holding a mirror to things in front of me, but I wasn’t aware that the mirror, also the reflection in the mirror, became part of my body. A kid playing with her shadows didn’t know that she was also manipulated by the shadow.
Looking for patterns rather than content. It’s time to look at interactions.
I read The Man Who Laughs when I was a child. I forget the most of the story, but I still remember one scene, duchess Josiana’s confession to a clown named Gwynplaine whose mouth has been mutilated into a perpetual grin. She was telling him that she loved him because he was deformed and love. However, after she was commanded to marry Gwynplaine who is the son of a nobleman, she immediately told him that she hated him. Josiana’s pleasure came from despising herself by this relationship. I couldn’t fully understand that, but it seared into my memory, and I always think about it. What are we really looking at? What are we really obsessing with?
I don’t know, but I think I know this game better now.
“She ceased. He trembled. Then she went on, smiling: “You see, Gwynplaine, to dream is to create; to desire is to summon; to build up the chimera is to provoke the reality. The all-powerful and terrible mystery will not be defied; it produces result ; you are here. Do I dare to lose caste?— Yes. Do I dare to be your mistress, your concubine, your slave, your chattel?— Joyfully. Gwynplaine, I am woman; woman is clay longing to become mire. I want to despise myself; that lends a zest to pride. The alloy of greatness is baseness; they combine in perfection. Despise me, you who are despised; nothing can be better,— degradation on degrada tion. What joy ! I pluck the double blossom of ignominy. Trample me under foot ; you will only love me the more,— I am sure of it. Do you understand why I idolize you ?—Because I despise you. You are so immeasurably below me that I placeyouonanaltar. Bringthehighestandlowest depths together, and you have chaos; and I delight in chaos,— chaos, the beginning and end of every thing. What is chaos?— A huge blot. Out of that blot God made light, and out of that sink the world. You don’t know how perverse I can be. Knead a star in mud, and you will have my likeness.”
Ayako by Osamu Tezuka(for me, this story is a different version of Icarus.):
Two weeks passed, and all at once the weather turned warm. Zhenbao went to work in his shirtsleeves, but before long it started to sprinkle and a chill blew in. He went back during his lunch hreak to get his coat. It had been hanging on the rack in the hall, but now it was gone. He searched and searched for it and eventually he started to worry. He saw that the living-room door had been left ajar. He pushed it open and there was his coat, hooked on the frame of an oil painting: Jiaorui was sitting on the sofa beneath, quietly lighting a cigarette. Sur-prised, Zhenbao quickly retreated, squeezing himself out of sight. But he couldn’t resist taking another peek. Jiaorui, it turned out, wasn’t smoking at all. There was an ashtray on the arm of the sofa, and she struck a match, lit the stub of an old cigarette, and watched it burn all the way down. When at last it singed her fingers, she threw the butt aside, lifted her fingers to her mouth and blew on them lightly, a look of utter content-ment on her face. The cloisonnéashtray, he realized, was from his room.
Zhenbao was bewildered, and he slipped away like a thief. It seemed incomprehensible at first, and even after thinking it through, he was mystified: Jiaorui, smitten, sitting near his coat and letting the cigarette scent from his clothes waft down over her. As if that weren’t enough, she’d lit his used cigarette butts … she really was a child, spoiled rotten, someone who’d always gotten whatever she wanted, and now that she’d run into some-one with an ounce of resistance, she dreamed only of him. The mind of a child and the beauty of a grown woman: the most tempting of combinations. Zhenbao could no longer resist.
Are gifts visualizations of people’s relationships?
“The Gift is alone: It is touched neither by generosity nor by gratitude, the soul does not contaminate it.”
What can I hold you with?
I offer you lean streets, desperate sunsets, the moon of the ragged
I offer you the bitterness of a man who has looked long and long
at the lonely moon.
I offer you my ancestors, my dead men, the ghosts that living
men have honoured in marble: my father's father killed in
the frontier of Buenos Aires, two bullets through his lungs,
bearded and dead, wrapped by his soldiers in the hide of a
cow; my mother's grandfather —just twentyfour— heading
a charge of three hundred men in Peru, now ghosts on vanished
I offer you whatever insight my books may hold, whatever manliness
or humour my life.
I offer you the loyalty of a man who has never been loyal.
I offer you that kernel of myself that I have saved, somehow
—the central heart that deals not in words, traffics not with
dreams and is untouched by time, by joy, by adversities.
I offer you explanations of yourself, theories about yourself, authentic
and surprising news of yourself.
I can give you my loneliness, my darkness, the hunger of my
heart; I am trying to bribe you with uncertainty, with danger,
- Jorge Luis Borges (1934)
Do not speak of the north and its sadness...
Do not speak of the north and its sadness
And a dread and malevolent fate.
Surely this is a festive occasion:
You and I, we are parting today.
Never mind that the moon will not haunt us,
And the dawn you and I will not meet.
I will shower you with gifts, my beloved,
Of a kind that have never been seen.
Take my wavering, dancing reflection
In the shimmery glass of a stream;
Take my gaze that the great, swooning stars
As they fall from the heavens arrests;
Take my voice, take its spent, broken echo,
Once so summery, youthful and fresh....
Take my gifts: they will help you to listen
Without pain to the gossiping birds
In the wet of a Moscow October,
And will turn autumn's gloom to the languor
And the sweetness of May.... O, my angel,
Think of me, think of me till the first
Flakes of snow start to waltz in the air....
- Anna Akhmatova
When I was a child, I moved a lot. I transfer to different primary schools three times because I was moving to different cities. Things around me was always changing. Yeah, even now, as a international student studying in America I’m always a tenant and I don’t know what would travel with me forever.(maybe my own body? but one day I’ll need to say goodbye to my flesh body too.) It feels like my hands are always open, and things just flow through them. Maybe this experience made me not believe in permanency, but deep inside I still desire something certain, unchanged, and firm. Yeah, such a paradox.
I still remember when I was four or five, my grandpa took me to the riverbed. We carried some wet mud from there to home, and made “猪八戒”（a character in Journey to the West）and mushrooms out of mud. We put our works on the balcony. Only after an afternoon, they were all dried and cracked.
Before my dad passed away, my family was living in an apartment which looks relatively fine and modern in that small and undeveloped city. In my memory, that apartment is huge with wood floor, marble table and fresh flowers, which looks like those rooms in ads. We left there when I was five and never came back till I was thirteen. When I was standing in that apartment again, I found it is so small, pale, dry and dusty, and then I saw that marble dinning table. My dad was fleeced. It is not marble at all. What I saw was those plastic coating with marble pattern peeling of from a wooden table top. Also, the wood of the flower expanded probably because of leak. That apartment was falling apart, and something in my mind was falling apart too. “This is the way the world ends, not with a bang, but a whimper.”
One day even the fake one would betray you and peel off to show the dry reality underneath.
露の世は露の世ながらさりながら Tsuyu no yo wa tsuyu no yo nagara sari nagara This dewdrop world — Is a dewdrop world, And yet, and yet . . .
Something constantly existing in my work is uncertainty, the pursuit of the sense of security, and intensity. Someone used to told me that my art practice is like treading a tightrope. I’m so obsessed with seeing those fragile moments when people are dancing on the cliff, tears welling up in eyes, and bow at full draw.
Some moments of fragility and vulnerability:
I’ve loved watching small flames closely since I was a child. To let the flame of a candle stay stills, I would hold my breath, but sometimes I would also blow it tenderly to make it dance on the edge of going out.
Nothing is still. We are all moving. Still-life? We always have wind. Breath is the tenderest breeze.
Mirror-breathing-moist (sometimes, in movies, people will put a small mirror under one’s nose to check if he’s dead or not.)
The Butterfly Effect——————the Internet world(Is the internet world a combination of the momentary and the forever?)
Wind instruments emphasis the sound of breathing.
Sleeping is a very intense and interesting state for me.
“我宁愿看着你，睡得如此沉静，胜过你醒时决裂般无情。” “I would rather look at you when you’re sleeping serenely rather than your cold stare when you’re awake.”
Have you ever walked into a bedroom when there is someone sleeping? It is beautiful and exciting. People who are sleeping are small flames.
When the skin is a bow at full draw.
Things have the similar intensity:
drumhead chord lantern surface of a clear calm lake bubble membrane