Look for the dirt behind the shine— Naomi Klein’s grandfather (in the acknowledgements to No Logo)
I was reading something recently (but can’t for the life of me track down the original source) about politics and policy and read of The Overton Window. Since then, the Baader-Meinhof effect has kicked in big time and I’m seeing it everywhere.
First line from the Overton Window Wikipedia entry:
The Overton window is a term for the range of ideas tolerated in public discourse, also known as the window of discourse.
Later in the entry it says this:
In his “West India Emancipation” speech at Canandaigua, New York, in 1857, abolitionist leader Frederick Douglass described how public opinion limits the ability of those in power to act with impunity:
“Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”
I’m curious about the Overton Window in relation to what people are ready to see and watch in performance or on screen. What is tolerable? How is tolerance changed? How might the choreography or construction of performance or film consider the ways in which the work itself might slide through different tones of being popular, sensible, radical, unthinkable, and back to sensible …?
As Jamie Zawinski has remarked, when it comes to losing your data “The universe tends toward maximum irony. Don’t push it.”— Kieran Healy, The Plain Person’s Guide to Plain Text Social Science, 2018. kieranhealy.org/files/papers/plain-person-text.pdf, p.12
Sara Ahmed is a remarkable writer. She writes in loops and tangles of words in which the words start to behave (or mean things) differently. It’s dizzying, simply, beautiful and challenging.
Here she is on systems:
You come against a system when you point out a system. When there is a system those who benefit from the system do not want to recognise that system.
In late 2006 early 2007 I had a chunk of Australia Council funding to research and develop a new performance installation called Crevice. The project was with Cormac Lally (video), David Corbet (sound), Shannon Bott (dramaturgy) and Kristin Green (architect). It was ambitious for sure, and I was never able to get the money together to do any more development beyond stage 1 (or perhaps I never tried).
The design looked like this (and we built and tested this design):
And here’s a little snippet of video (that I don’t think was ever used) that Cormac Lally shot and edited, and that I stumbled across the other day as I went through some old files. The filename was crevice16_viola sunrise_25%.mov.
Last year I had the pleasure of spending time at the University of Alabama for a short residency with choreographer and filmmaker Rebecca Salzer. We made a short film called Full Responsibility:
Tara Brach is a psychotherapist and meditation teacher based in Washington DC. I was listening to a podcast episode of hers last night called The Sacred Art of Listening. In it she quoted Mark Nepo’s understanding of the nature of listening:
To lean in softly with a willingness to be changed by what we hear.
That willingness to be changed bit is remarkably beautiful and, speaking personally,(!) probably quite rare. I wonder what it would be like to work in an environment in which willingness to change was valorised at the expense of staking claims, protecting territory, and competitive ambition.