Walker Art Center


February 13, 2003

Reaction to a comment of Pod on my reaction to Pod

Robert Wilson is a man whose theatre is almost only form. In that way his language could be used for my 2D/3D stories, but… that’s probably only because his way of theatre making somehow denies meaning, presents us with images and lets us – spectators in the name of beauty – play with his forms to find a meaning of our own within the given context. Things without meaning can be combined any way you want them, they might give a nice spectacle, but it still doesn’t mean a thing. I’ve seen parts of several pieces he made, I know the music he uses (forgot the composers name), I’ve seen Heiner Muellers Hamlet Maschine by Wilson and I like the hardcore version way better (Wilson said in interview that he did not know what the piece was supposed to mean, which I think is a bit cruel when one is confronted with Ophelia’s suicide scene knowing that Mueller’s wife couldn’t stand the regime in the DDR anymore and killed herself using one of the methods mentioned in the play). But that’s not exactly the point I want to make. There is no emotion there, and therefore it is theater made for super beings. That’s not what I want.

The thing I would want is in fact a text that can be read forwards and backwards at the same time. Using a language of images probably helps a lot there. And I think using a language of emotion and memories could help a lot there. Think Margarite Duras, Think Allende.

But then there is another danger: it could end up looking like one of the many associative interactive stories written in the Eastgate style. (More nice links) One somehow gets the feeling there should be meaning to it, but one can not find it because of the Spaghetti in ones head. Form can help there. That’s why introduced the concept of the information and transition points: They are the starting point of a story, of parts of a story, of the branches in the story (yes one can use branches there but one needs but a few to get the impression of interactivity). Information/transition points are supposed to be tiny introductions to the material one is going to be confronted with. It is a tool one can use, a text explaining what it is all about, a moment of contemplation, maybe a time for the reinvention of the chorus telling us the whereabouts of our hero in the land of the Trojans and why Poseidon hates him and send a storm to wreck his ship, but he got rescued and now he is on this island with Circe, and who is this woman anyway? Let the story begin.

Well, maybe I am reinventing something that is already there. But in my opinion it has potential.

Posted by Jeroen Goulooze at February 13, 2003 06:25 AM

hi jeroen
i enjoyed the entry... have you read gibson´s theory about nodal points - it´s in idoru, i believe-. There´s this guy called Laney, who can study seas os info and identify meaningful strands, and also nodal points where these strands meet, and this nodal points show potential moments of intense change... sounds a bit like what your are talking about, but within a rhizomatic environment...

looking forward for more... osfa

Posted by: osfa on February 13, 2003 10:31 AM

hi jeroen,

i like where you are taking this w/out a doubt ! ... and actually i DO think that Wilson reached a dead end , which is why he then moved into terrritory of directly deconstructing pre-existing plays and works which were LOADED with meaning ... and emotions ... and surely wrankled many audiences the wrong way because he walks a tightrope of spectacle
vs. deconstruction ... and walks in such
a stylized manner as to appear and/or BE devoid of human emotions ...


on another note: i wish we had spaghetti tools and potentials here in the blogs and forums , because sometimes in these linear threads / forums , i.e. the thing.net ... a person will say something and it will trigger a series off of that theme...no problem there , the information streams are rich , but sometimes you'd like to see from the original course of conversation it take off in the opposite direction and well, it is sometimes upstream to go back to the original point and try that Other direction.

so yes , spaghetti is ripe !


and it makes me think of a p.k. dick story , and i have a vague memory of this , but i think he was talking about the "living information system ", VALIS , but this may have been before that book, and he describes something like a religious sacred text ... like a bible , as a multi-faceted prism / book ... and from whichever side you entered into it would correspond to the nature of your entry point. something like that... i can't as eloquenty describe at the moment.


a strange coincidence just occurred ... that miraculous prism of internet ... i wanted to look up some reviews of wilson and came across this website from a teacher who used to be here in SF teaching multi-media studies:

randall packer , and surprise , william gibson writes the intro !




... if i have time i'd like to come back and share my personal experience of wilson's Death, Destruction , and Detroit part 2 as the ultimate tv generation scrambler ... a jarring dadaist language to the rescue.

and somehow this all relates to the recent provocations of "activating the medium " festival , which had that same kind of "missing the hamlet machine effect " !
i think.

Posted by: teapod on February 13, 2003 01:17 PM

And osfa , sorry i forgot to include above...

idoru was my initiation to gibson and yeah i loved the laney character ... if i remember correctly his dysfunctional quality of short attention spans ... his freak defect quality or something like that ...was his talent ... only rather than it being like idiot savants... it was . ..or maybe this was my interprtation ... Normal savant ..in that everyone who has a "post-modern environment" would likely develop those talents... we are all scanning seas of info.

ok , i might be stretching a very thin thread to this material...

anyway also curious what you might make of randall packer's overview of multi-media. see above.


Posted by: teapod on February 13, 2003 02:40 PM
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