PHYLLIS ODESSEY

Pure Immanence

“A life contains only virtuals.  
It is made up of virtu-alities, events, singularities.  
What we call virtual is not something that lacks reality, 
but something that enters into a process of actualization 
by following the plane that gives it its own reality.”

Pure Immanence
Essays on A Life
Gilles Deleuze


MoMA
Saturday, October 20, 2012
Marron Atrium, Second Floor


JEROME BEL
The Show Must Go On

I sit on the floor.
There are no chairs.
The performance is suppose to begin at 3pm
It’s now 3:15 pm and nothing.
Suddenly
Members of the audience get up, walk to the front of the room,

line up and stare at the me.
Pause
The music starts.  It’s the Beatles.
The “dancers” begin to move.

But are they dancers?
In some cases, it is easy to tell by their body type; 

in other cases I am not sure.  
Again stillness.  
The music begins again; 
This time Private Dancer sung by Tina Turner.  
The dancers begin to move to the music
Each doing their own thing.  
Unchoreographed,
but aware of each other.  
Again silence.  
The DJ plays Ballerina Girl by Lionel Richie.  
The men step out and 
the women perform their individual idea of ballet steps.  
Silence.
The performers leave.
The DJ steps into the performance space.
He dances.
He leaves.
Everyone comes back to the performance space.
The Macarena plays.

All performers dance to it.
The performers leave the space and come back.
Each person has an iPod and headphones.
Silence.
Some performers occasionally sing part of the song they are listening to.
Some move to the music they are listening to on their iPod.

Laughter in the audience.
The performers leave.
Applause.

This was the first week of a three-week program of dance performances by contemporary choreographers at MoMA.  Afterwards,  choreographers, Jerome Bel and Steve Paxton (performance took place on Wed), Sabine Breitwieser, Chief Curator, Dept. of Media and Performance Art and Ralph Lemon, guest curator and choreographer talked about the two dances.

Randomness, improvisation, humor, irony were all part of this performance.  

Jerome Bel “You work on a dance for maybe 5 or 6 years.  And when you perform it in a space like this, the audience can come and go, play with their iphones, tweat, whisper, rock their babies, watch from the sidelines and the floors above.  There are no expectations.  I don’t know how to come to terms with that”.

He went on “Dance is activated by the performer.  Even though a dance like the Macarena is ready-made, each performer does it differently”.  

It didn’t matter.  But nobody left.  Whether it was the music that made it accessible or comfortable or the idea that you didn’t know what would happen and you wanted to find out; the performance was transfixing.  There is something similar in the way meadows develop:  choreographed and yet unchoreographed.  They evolve depending on the conditions.  I only wish a meadow could be as engaging as this performance.

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