for the past 2 nights, i’ve gone to see this company adapt the first 5 minutes of one of my performances from over 20 years ago–part of an entire production consisting of 9 beginnings of 9 performances by 9 different artists or groups who were connected with this gallery that once, but no longer existed in the city where I still dwell. i have such great admiration for the artists who direct this company and i was immensely thrilled when i heard they were adapting my work. i could never have imagined it happening. ever.
i can’t quite describe the experience of witnessing it. other than as ghostly or otherworldly. or maybe i felt like a ghost. or that some part of me had been excavated and reconstructed by some archeologists/artists at some time after the world has ended. Or maybe I have watched Cave of Forgotten Dreams one time too many, if that is even possible.
After the performance, they invited me to participate in a panel discussion and I felt very bad that I had to decline because I still could not hear from my right ear, and because I had promised the ailing friend who accompanied me that we would leave as soon as the performance ended.
So I returned the next night, hoping that perhaps I could find a way to adapt and participate, but the discussion was that one night only, so I sadly missed out on the opportunity. But at least I met the 2 performers, one who was from Spain, the other, Czech. Both were amazing.
And the audience was so young. I have no idea what any of the works re-created meant to them. if they were artifacts or something vivid and alive. i was standing around at intermission, pretending to be occupied on my iPhone (which is a great prop for shy people)… and this woman approached me to ask if I was The Lost Pedestrian. I am often flattered to be recognized, but not always.
She told me that she was an anthropology student and, with my poor hearing, i had difficulty following her as she described her work and how it might connect to the performance staged that night and to my work of the past. And I thought she told me that she was exploring the body as archive in art, or the body in art as archival object, or the archive as a living body. If only I could have really heard her. But, I think she wants to interview me to discuss my experience of being a spectator instead of a participant in my work. And I know there must be some connection between that and her cultural anthropological research. I just could not wrap my congested head around it.
After the performance, a friendly acquaintance who is also a performer who was also in the audience told me that he thought he saw me on the highway on the way to the performance, driving a Subaru. Didn’t I see him wave to me? And I thought, that’s strange. I can never see the faces of other drivers on highways at night. No, I said, that wasn’t me. I drive a Volkswagen. But then I recalled that the car I drove ages ago, at the time I created the performance, happened to be a Subaru. I apologized that my ghost did not return his wave on the highway.
At what point can one surrender responsibility for the behaviors of one’s ghost?