Last night I went to see Barbara Browning, Kate Zambreno and Matthias Viegener read and converse at McNally Jackson. Barbara read the part from I’m Trying To Reach You where the narrator describes John Cage and Merce Cunningham’s relationship and Cage’s death, and also Merce Cunningham’s relationship with one of his longtime dancers and his compassion towards her when it was time for her to stop dancing. The passage ends with the words “People often know when they don’t say enough.” Barbara cried a little bit and it was very moving.
After everyone read they had a conversation that began with a suggestion that they start out by talking about “form and formlessness” in their work. Uh oh. But the conversation, though super duper formless, wasn’t boring. I did have just one moment of writhing in my seat, though, and this was when they talked briefly about “bloggy writing.” This started to be an interesting conversation but was curtailed somehow. The panelists talked about the affectations of bloggy writing they find irritating: faux-chattiness, “Hey guys,” phony intimacy. Barbara and Kate said they liked “bloggish” writing but Kate said she hated the words bloggy, blog. All the panelists praised the merits of compression, which Matthias funnily misheard at one point as “confession.” (I’m sorry if I’m misstating any of this or compressing it too much, btw, but I have ten minutes to write this before I leave for work.)
ISN’T BLOGGING A FORM OF PERFORMANCE? I wanted to shout, but it wasn’t Q&A time yet. CAN BLOGGING BE A FORM OF DURATIONAL PERFORMANCE ART? ISN’T ONE OF THE WEIRDEST AND COOLEST THINGS ABOUT BEING ALIVE RIGHT NOW HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE USING WORDS AND IMAGES TO PERFORM AN IDENTITY ONLINE? ISN’T THERE A REAL INTIMACY TRAPPED IN FAKE INTIMACY THAT IS SOMETIMES MORE INTERESTING THAN OVERT INTIMACY?
But even I know that it is rude to ask yes/no questions/non-questions during a q&a so I didn’t do this. I’d like this panel to reconvene and discuss only my pet themes, please.