Reference links 11/10/2009 
I just finished reading Timothy Egan's The Worst Hard Time, a beautifully-written account of those who live in North TX before and during the Great American Dust Bowl.

I think the major take-home lesson from the book is the fact that the fallow wheat fields in 1932 were the key cause of the dark, billowing clouds of earth that swept across country. The fields were abandoned because the dry soil could not produce a crop, and because the market crash made the selling of whatever wheat was produced nearly impossible.

I never was entirely certain about the specific relationship between the Dust Bowl and the Depression, but there ya have it.
I met a couple at the Santa Fe Art Institute opening last week who said they were reading about the Great American Dust Bowl. I told them about Childress, and they gave me two pieces of media they said I should refer to in preparation for this piece.

1. The Worst Hard Time (Book) by Timothy Egan - I'm just starting this. My first discovery is that Childress may not have technically been inside the boundary of the Dust Bowl (although I'm certain they were affected).

2. The Plow that Broke the Plains by Pare Lorentz

press - act upon, squeeze, hold closely, flatten, extract, urge

impress - to affect deeply or strongly in mind or feelings; influence in opinion; to fix deeply or firmly on the mind or memory, as ideas or facts; to impose a particular characteristic or quality upon 

impression - a strong effect produced on the intellect, feelings, conscience, etc.; the first and immediate effect of an experience or perception upon the mind; sensation.; an imitation of the voice, mannerisms, and other traits of a person, esp. a famous person, as by an entertainer

Impressionism 07/22/2009

In our last rehearsal, Deborah mentioned her interest in exploring the methods used by the impressionists, and translating them into movement practices. The Wikipedia entry for Impressionism alone has stirred my excitement in this research direction:

Characteristics of Impressionist paintings include visible brush strokes, open composition, emphasis on light in its changing qualities (often accentuating the effects of the passage of time), ordinary subject matter, the inclusion of movement as a crucial element of human perception and experience, and unusual visual angles.


I want to explore an hour-long performance ritual structure, that accumulates history over time.

We start with nothing but empty space.

We bring in some images, some sounds, some facts, and some questions (which we can define).
We can explore those or just exist.
We exist in the structure of that framework.
We have rules that we create for our interactions as we go along. We honor and break those rules.

Basically, we construct/reconstruct our piece (the physical stage environment) from our memory of the last time we performed it PLUS the material we are interested in today.

It is a meditation on this town and what it has experienced.

For me it tackles the town, the memory the people hold of it (us in this case), and the ritual/the performative rite of reconstruction (after a town has been wiped out by a tornado, or as each generation recreates culture -love, sorrow, etc.)

We show up after the aftermath and recreate the town. Perhaps this happens everyday.


We spend a great deal of energy at Dry Earth questioning and exploring how spaces can be experienced, remembered, and communicated. As we prepare this new work, I am interested in becoming intimately familiar with the temporal landscape of this hour-long performance ritual. "Showing up" and living within the hour-long structure on a daily basis is a start.


Our structural definition can extend from our definition of the relationship between these two people

In this way, we can continue to explore the porosity between us - how affected are we by each other's actions.

We talked about the spectrum between a performer's personal awareness of their actions on stage, and the "lost in the moment" nature of transcendance (the magic of performance).

We've talked a lot about how the differences between our sourcing spaces and our performance spaces, and today we expanded this to a conversation about the differences in research vs. performance time.

I'd like to look into dance rituals from indigenous people who lived in North Texas (perhaps someone in the native arts department at NEFA can help with that).

We talked about the different ways we can transport ourselves to another time.
Wearing their clothing.
Visiting the place and looking at relics.
Performing their dances and actions.
Speaking their language.

I am starting to read a Joseph Campbell's a The Hero With a Thousand Faces, and will report back. I'd like to then read Proust's Remembrance of Things Past (any translation recommendations?)