The Next Thing

(This is an excerpt of the first part of an interview with the founder of TIMB, about the new direction of TIMB. In this, he is remarkably candid, but always a gentleman, using a discretion and charm that is unusual for someone of his generation, suggesting one of the reasons, perhaps, why he is always involved in new adventures, even though he is old enough to be your father. This particular interview was conducted right after he finished a long ride to Vancouver and back for a double espresso. On the way, he was abducted by a woman who claimed to have Gypsy blood--she did, actually--and introduced him to a talking cow who told his future. It was not a particularly comfortable future, but the hoofmarks indicated that there would be hints of cardemon and sandalwood on the road, along with a jasmine undertone, and that seemed evidence enough that continuing on the road would be a good idea.)

INTERVIEWING SPEAKING SUBJECT: Ok, first, we want to ask about the new direction of TIMB.
CD: That's a good place to start. It's direction is very clear, and in a state of non-direction.
ISS: Meaning?
CD: It's done. We've pretty much wrapped it up, and by the end of the year, it won't be.
ISS: That seems a little drastic, all things considered.
CD: Why?
ISS: Well, as far as these things go, I mean, an experimental performance operation in Phoenix, it's been rather successful, hasn't it?
CD: Oh, well, that's nice of you to say, but really, in the end, not so much. These last couple of years have seen a pretty substantial decrease in funding, grant-wise, and that's been enough to suggest that the city simply can't support it. We're shutting the doors and moving on, and right now we're all looking at what the next project will be.
ISS: So it's not really over.
CD: Art isn't over, no, not what we do, the close circle of collaborators, no, we're going to be doing other things, but under different auspices. Look, this is something that didn't come easy, I mean, it wasn't a simple decision, but it's obviously the end of the cycle of whatever it was, and this is the start of a new cycle, so we're all more excited about the next thing, which is still undefined.
ISS: Can you give us an idea of what it might be?
CD: Well, we've been playing with names, and it has to be something that reflects the trans-disciplinary nature of what we're doing, not so much theater, but still, closer to theater than most other art forms we use. But it's been moving toward a more mediated form, with more recorded media, for a long time. So we want to call it something extremely hip, and perhaps even impenetrable, so that no one will really understand what we're doing, not even us.
ISS: What names are you considering?
CD: The favorites so far are "The xx," and Erikah Badu, but there may be copyright issues. We're also thinking about "El 28," because of that song.
ISS: By Oreja de Van Gogh.
CD: Exactly.
ISS: That's such a sad song, do you know the lyrics off the top of your head?
CD: Of course. They're like this: nerviosa miro el reloj ,
la lluvia conmigo empieza
un día de pleno sol,
a lo lejos aparece el
recuerdo de un amor,
no me ve, camina
ausente, hace mucho que pasó.
Empecé a recordar.
Y paseé
por mi mente y encontré,
aquel rincón que te dejé,
donde guardo los
momentos que no olvidé.
Revivo aquella noche en que
olvidamos lo demás,
el cielo se volvió rojo al sol
vimos bostezar,
se ha perdido entre la gente,
me he perdido yo también,
ya se ha ido el 28 la memoria de
un ayer.
Empecé a recordar
Y paseé
por mi mente y encontré,
aquel rincón que te dejé,
donde guardo los momentos
que no olvidé.
Si quiero saber, si tú también,
recuerdas algo de aquel café,
espero a veces sin entender,
por qué.
Y paseé
por mi mente y encontré,
aquel rincón que te dejé,
donde guardo los momentos que
no olvidé.
ISS: Well, that makes sense, but it seems to me that this might be just another regurgitation of the themes of longing and impossible love, and there's something here about nostalgia that strikes me as a little problematic, especially considering the crimes against humanity from the 20th and 21st centuries, the history of world holocausts, as well as their relationship to Latin America, and particularly its under-representation in the dominant discourses of resistance and memory.
CD: I know, right? But there's also something about the song that's very corny, and that's why we're looking at other names, and that's why lately we're starting to think about something simple, like Angry and Crazy.
ISS: That's particularly interesting, considering the criticisms against you about your being somewhat infatuated, or obsessed, or maybe fixated, on angry and insane women.
CD: Who says that?
ISS: I've heard things.
CD: Ok, listen, I'm very uncomfortable about putting my personal life in all of this, because I firmly believe that the line between art and life is very fixed. I mean, my work has nothing to do with me, not at all, otherwise this would be a huge experiment in narcissism.
ISS: Didn't you once say that all art is narcissism?
CD: That's true, I did, oh, that's very true, yes. Hm. Well. In that case, the line between art and life is very thin, it's thinner than a mirror, the one that separates us from our text messages, and those of course are where life becomes a performance.
ISS: I don't follow.
CD: It doesn't matter, you will some day. For now, it's probably important to unpack some of that. Angry and insane are things that I've always been attracted to, because that's me. That's who I am. Angry, all of our work, all of the collaborators, we're angry, angry because this is a place of enormous potential, where the multiple identities, cultural, sexual, even historical, that are both migratory in this space, and also indigenous, means that there is fertile ground for some extraordinary art, and still, it gets swept under the rugs because it makes the majority uncomfortable. Also, we're angry because we sense that there is a deep connection to the land that, if approached, not necessarily even embraced, but just approached, would mean a revolution in thought and feeling, and that experience is one that is hard to speak about in art, unless the viewer already has some sense of it, but there's so very little sense here, that well.
ISS: It's maddening.
CD: Right. And that's where anger turns to madness. I know people think we're crazy, and I hear it all the time, where I make art that is way over everyone's head, as if I'm trying to be smart on purpose, to make people feel dumb, and we use this madness to confuse people, but the truth is, people are not stupid. Not even here. They're just not stupid. And they deserve art that respects their abilities to comprehend, on deeper and more complex levels than they are usually accustomed to. I suppose that's true here as well as anywhere. So, they don't understand, and then they come up with the label crazy. I'm not crazy, at least on most days, but I can see further than most people. To repeat: I'm not crazy, I can just see very far. And sometimes I can see your soul. So most of the work is speaking to that thing that's far away, or perhaps even deep within, you know?
ISS: No, you lost me.
CD: There are people who are very confused, indecisive, stuck, because they know that deep in the marrow of their bones that this experience of living is more that is apparent, more than what's on the surface, that somewhere else, there are shadows of ourselves living out our lives on a mythic level, one that is entirely corporeal and simultaneously entirely spiritual, but the access to this shadow world seems shut, so there's a kind of, a default, to living in a state of paralysis. At our best, when the work is at its best, we move right into the shadow worlds, from this mundane starting point. So that this particular heartbreak, this particular new infatuation, or this particular new inspiration, is not allowed to live in a place of, "Oh, this is a small thing, it doesn't matter." It does matter, and if one sees it represented, then it can be allowed to catch fire, like it deserves, and move us into another realm, where the soul starts to learn how to turn itself into gold.
ISS: Mm, hm, well, it sounds like what we've seen already, can you really call it a new direction, then?
CD: We can, because now we know what the fuck we're doing, and that hasn't happened before.

(Oh, this is getting entirely more interesting than all of this, but you can't see it here, but the furtive looks and gestures speak volumes, and there is an exciting soundtrack to the conversation that prepares the blood for something very much like ecstasy, but at the same time, there is suddenly a flash of black and red, that could be hair, or it could be a spirit, but who knows, because he has decided to leave the interview and follow the rabbit, who is obviously late, and suddenly, it's almost time for the lunar eclipse, and eclipses always speak of love from 400 years ago, come back to test the water, to see if the land wants to play again for awhile...)

(end of part one)

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