Friday, December 7, 2007

Get a CLUE

Last night I attended the final event in a series called "Between the Lines" at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM). First, I'm ashamed to say that was my only visit to BAM since I moved here. But I am trying to get out more.

Anyway, A Public Space, the magazine I interned for over the summer, commissioned some works from writers and partnered to put on the evening of readings and video. One of the pieces was a video called CLUE: Color Location Ultimate Experience, directed by A.L. Steiner and choreographed by a duo called robbinschild. Here's a tiny snippet of the 10-minute or so clip we saw (I hear there's an even longer full-length version):

The clip really doesn't do it justice (it's grainy, small and short compared to the real thing), but I wanted to post it because it sparked a connection in my mind with another piece of art that I recently read: the novel U.S.! by Chris Bachelder.

The connection between them is an appreciation for collage as a meaning maker. The thrilling part of reading U.S.! is the force with which the collage of the first half of the book propels the main character (Upton Sinclair) through the second, more traditionally narrative half of the book. In the first part you find press releases, letters, eBay listings, songs, poems, phone logs, interviews, a whole pastiche lifted and/or twisted from other sources.

Similarly the video CLUE, which was more collage than directed narrative, provoked emotion through the stacking of image upon image and the heightened tension created by video played both forward and backwards. Even more than the choreography of the dance in the video, collage itself made the meaning.

The whole point of the tenuous-seeming connection I'm trying to make in this post is that sometimes it's nice to look outside linear time and narrative in a way that isn't so self-aware.

And here's another clip of CLUE:

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