Following are program notes for quarter, a work by Larry Arrington in collaboration with Oscar Tidd commissioned for HMD's 2016 Bridge Project, Ten Artists Respond to Locus. Produced in association with Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.
A great deal of the work I did on this project was thinking. This is an imperfect map (as if there were any other kind) of some of that thinking. I entered this project hoping to fold it into my own consuming project/work/thought/feelings of looking at western history (and in this context Eurocentric art lineages) as folk/cultural forms. In this work, I wanted to look at Trisha Brown, contemporary western dance, and classical western dance as a series of interconnected folk dances situated within very specific cultural and material contexts and supported by intersecting and overlapping ideologies. I do this not solely as critique, but as a general and personally necessary set of questions that force my own relationship to history into the same cultural/anthropological questions that western thinking often imposes on other forms. This took me on a myriad of experiments, but I kept being drawn back to:
1. The very simple formal constraint of Locus: the bordering of space/ the map. This being drawn back to the map was also greatly informed by the crisis of border/map/territory that is an ongoing social and economic cataclysm on the surface of this planet. We gather at YBCA, in a rapidly gentrifying city, in a space built on sacred Ohlone land. We gather in a nation founded through theft/exploitation. Also…. water.
2. The dancer/laborer Diane Madden has danced in Trisha Brown’s work longer than I have been alive. I was so inspired by her beautiful leadership and her spirit as a dancer. Having Diane introduce Trisha Brown’s work put a welcome spin and complication on a western approach to expertise. It has been my experience that much has been made of Judson in letters. The mediation of academia in performance can have a certain coldness of work removed from the worker. My exposure to the monolith of the Judson canon has been frustratingly void of body, heart, context, time, and relationship. Having the dancer, Diane, centered as the expert made my heart full. So in this way I was finally able to situate Judson in the very situatedness that I love about dance: how it is something that is passed from body to body.
3. The horse.
4. The circle and the square
The geometries of music.
Shape note singing Idumea, Ivey Memorial Singing
The reproducing structure In The Upper Room Dance IX, Philip Glass
Lastly, thank you for your attention. It is sincerely appreciated and respected.