Day 13: No fear of Friday the 13th (or French intellectuals) (4/13/12)

Posted: April 14, 2012 in Production Process
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We’ve already had an April Fool’s Day and a Friday the 13th as part of our process for Crescent City, and despite a serious rainstorm, everything keeps moving along excitingly. There was a lot of activity in the space, with new streets being laid out, a second trap door getting installed in the Hospital, Marie Laveau’s tomb receiving finishing touches, the roofing paper on the shack getting organized, more photograms sheathing the Junk Heap, and the Swamp surface nearing its completion. The interplay of the sculptures change the feeling in the space every day in really beautiful ways. One of my favorite moments of today was discussing the voodoo gods in the trees and the boat that carries Marie Laveau with Alice and Eric:

And from the other side of the warehouse:

I also worked on putting together the program text with our graphic designer, Roman Jaster.  I went through my file of foundational texts and stumbled upon the great writing of Jaques Ranciere, whose book The Emancipated Spectator was fundamental in thinking about spectatorship and interdisciplinary work. It was refreshing to remind myself of some of the philosophical underpinnings of this enormous spectacle, and some of the text will find their way into the program notes. This quote in particular really resonated again, and because I may not have room in the program, I’ll put it here:

“In a theatre, in front of a performance, just as in a museum, school or street, there are only ever individuals plotting their own paths in the forest of things, acts and signs that confront or surround them. The collective power shared by spectators does not stem from the fact that they are members of a collective body or from some specific form of interactivity. It is the power each of them has to translate what she perceives in her own way, to link it to the unique intellectual adventure that makes her similar to all the rest in as much as this adventure is not like any other. …

What our performances — be they teaching or playing, speaking, writing, making art or looking at it — verify is not our participation in a power embodied in the community. It is the capacity of anonymous people, the capacity that makes everyone equal to everyone else. …

Being a spectator is not some passive condition that we should transform into activity. It is our normal situation.”

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