• The Secret Books
    The Secret Books
    by Jorge Luis Borges, Sean Kernan
  • Among Trees
    Among Trees
Teaching and Lecturing

Taking shape.

A way to go, though. Working on cues and effects. 


Drowned Man at MASS MoCA, day 1

First day of work. Drowned Man is an experimental choreography/multimedia piece that we are working on for presentation as a work-in-progress to a live audience on Saturday. Oh God.

Image gallery from the day online here


Light in Air

Last week I went up to Mass MoCA to scout their facilities in preparation for a residency I'll be doing there later this month. (I’ll be working for a week with the choreographer Alison Chase, several dancers, the videographer Derek Dudek and the composer Paul Sullivan on a multimedia project we’re calling the Drowned Man, a retelling of a story by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.)

I'll post something on how that goes, but for now I want to show one of the things I saw on my visit.

First, Mass MoCA (Massachussets Museum of Contemporary Art) is in a huge old factory building in Western Massachusetts. It is specifically a place for large pieces, and has shown the work of Anselm Keifer, Roy Lichtenstein, Sol Lewitt, Robert Wilson, David Byrne…a great and lively mix, as you can see.

At present there is an installation by artists who were asked to respond to the space in some way, and one in particular struck me into silence by its simplicity, inventiveness and power.

The other thing that struck me about it was how much it looked like the way people in my workshops have responded to the assignment I give to “extend a photograph.” This assignment almost immediately takes people beyond photography and into direct seeing and direct experience for both artists and viewers. It has produced some of the most exciting and provocative work in my workshops. You can read about the assignment and some of the wonderful ways people have responded to it here.

Going back to Mass MoCA, there were several wonderful pieces in the show, but the one that landed on me most directly was by Tobias Putrih. One enters his work by climbing a stair into a huge room, half of which is dark, the other half lit. Several hundred strands of monofilament nylon are strung from the floor at one end of the room to a high wall on the other, about 125 feet away. A single light illuminates half the space. Very simple. What makes the magic is that the light creating either a silhouetted effect on the strings or lights them with bright dancing reflections against the black room beyond. As you move through the piece it keeps changing. It is one of the most magical walks through a room I’ve ever experienced, including the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles.

What I love about this kind of work is that it doesn’t happen at a remove, or on a plane in front of one, but all around, enveloping one in the experience. If you are are anywhere near North Adams MA you should try to se it.

And if you are there on September 25, we will be giving a presentation of whatever we have worked out in our week of residency. The paradox is that we’re supposed to be experimenting freely on the one hand and on the other we have to make some kind of coherent presentation at the end, which brings a kind of pressure into the mix. If we can exploit the tension of the two needs and get them into some kind of balance…I, for one, will be quite relieved.


Horse and storm, Crow reservation, Montana


38 years after Bloody Sunday, extraordinary admission by British Government...

As is so often the case, the coverup and denial made things worse and prolonged the violence. I took this photo of a kid sprinting through tear gas two years after the shootings, during what was known as The Matinee.

Still, better late...

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