Thoughts on Aphasia

June 21, 2009

 

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(photos by Oriol Cara)

So Aphasia was a reworking of my MFA thesis, Circuitous Route.  After 8 months away from it (way away), I came back to it with an intent to take the basic spine of the piece, and just make it better.  I performed it in June at the Fury Factory festival at Noh Space in San Francisco.  The crazy thing that happened, is that while my intent was to break the piece open a bit and put it back together more formally, it got stuck in the broken apart phase.  The piece is poetic and winding, and I’d hoped to make it a little less winding.  Looking back on it, I wanted the satisfaction of a somewhat linear end.  Rather than the piece breaking off, like an unfinished sentence, I realize now that I wanted a climax, a denouement, even though the rest of the piece has no relationship to that linearity.  

While somethings improved and got deeper, I learned a lot of hard lessons about festival performing.  Very limited hours in a theater means that incredibly careful attention to space that I had the first time around just wasn’t possible.  Theater also meant theatrical lighting.  Different.   I no longer had those amazing omnidirectional speakers from the UC Davis technocultural studies department that made audience feel that they were inside the sound.  And while I had hoped to bring Sean Johannessen, my sound collaborator, inside the performance space, I think the changes we made actually distances us further, made our relationship on stage more antagonistic and formal.

I’m not ready to throw in the towel with festival performing (Fury Factory was great to me).  Of course it’s one of the major ways to get new work up and running.  I just need to figure out how to merge my attention to space with the impromptu quality of working in an unknown theater.

face down

 

Is it time to entirely put this piece on the backburner, or is there something left to milk of it?  Not sure.  But I think next time I might want to go back to a space that offers some of the low-budget surprises of site-specific spaces.  Circuitous Route had that outside noise, those windows, the light at dusk…and all those carefully selected chairs…


SARA-by Oriol Cara-670

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There is much to catch up on in the archive of my performance work in the last years.  My attempts to document live performance of the past and present will hopefully slowly take shape on these posts.

Right now, I am gearing up for my newest creation, Aphasia, at the Fury Factory Festival in San Francisco.  Come check it out at Noh Space in San Francisco on June 9 and 10.  

A collaboration with sound artist Sean Johannessen Aphasia is a hybrid of movement, sound, and words that investigates the politics of speech and the world of the unspoken.