Four word-images have been sitting with me:
I'd like to make moving pictures, as a living icon, or a medium: "a channeller; a transmitter; an intervening substance; a filtering substance; a substance in which a certain organism lives and thrives; a type of artistic technique or means of expression" (American Heritage Dictionary) -- and do this by expressing: "to press, or push out," like oil out of olives.
The first intent of these Rites was to facilitate how I wanted to be performing -- privately, affordably, consistently, expressively. The filming and posting online allows me to invite an audience, but not need one in order to continue doing it.
I do not think video media and internet communication are preferable over any other, or the media of the future -- in fact, I have no assurance that posting of videos online will continue to be feasible. Perhaps as our "fossil fuel subsidy from Mother Nature" (as Gary Snyder calls it) runs out, powering up computers will be increasingly unaffordable. Or, perhaps we'll only be able to power our computers weekly -- and become more selective about what we want to tap into.
My original fantasy name for this practice was "Oil Crash Dances" -- how I would want to dance, alone, with no audience, if the world changed radically, and dance was still an urgent (or more urgent) necessity.
For now though, I'm wanting to understand why I'm doing dances in front of a camera and showing them on a screen in people's homes. I've been constructing a list --incomplete, I'm sure -- to try to trace some of the reasons.
These are things I want to get closer to. They are objects and frames to put experience into, and get experience out of. They are bags containing play, meditation, secrets, insight.
I like the book idea, the original flat-screen TV, with images leaping off the page. Do people understand that letters are the descendants of images? I looked up every letter in the dictionary. It's true, the letter "M" is Phoenician for "water," the letter "Y" is Phoenician for "hook." But it is reputed that there are even older, more secret meanings; that the shapes of letters came from birds flying in formation, observed through window-frames.
I like the fireplace idea. I imagine my Weekly Rites being close to the entertainment value of looking into a fireplace, but I'm not sure you look into a fireplace for entertainment in the way we construct it in TV, popular film or video. You sit next to a fireplace because you need the warmth of it. You look into a fireplace to look into yourself, maybe, and you see in it, because you look intently, the outrageous transformation of once-living wood violently filled with the life of the fire. The embers are death filled with life. They glow.
These fires came long, long after, and co-opted some of the space from the other lists. The Internet is an astounding taker but also creator of space: an endless field of imagination, a Gorgon Medusa's snaky head, hungry to fill you and be filled. And now it is taking shape in hand-held fetish-objects: cellphones, ipods and further manifestations.
The speed of it makes my heart quake, although I know this is just a scare tactic. The Internet is not good or bad, it just is. But I don't necessarily want to get more sophisticated in my use of the technology, or more efficient. For the time being, I'd like to remain stupid and slow, to reclaim space, perhaps. I'm not speaking from a place of knowing anything, but of currently and consistently experiencing. And I'll admit, I hope to slow down viewers so they can see intently how my moving pictures light their fortunes and fears.
The painting in this week's rite is on loan to me from artist Dan Potter. If you would like to buy this painting or learn more about him, visit Dan's website.