I wonder how the others felt. I wonder what boundaries other people set for scope of the experience, whether they let it blink with the finality of a light bulb, or let it bleed into all other moments, past and present, re-contextualizing all other experiences. As I ask this question I come to startling realization that for Jay Crocker and Joe Kelly’s Manjello, I did both.
I have been thinking about this performance for a week now, and narrating it there are some aspects that I can speak to easily. There were two sources, one apparatus with knobs and keys that produced sound, and another with a looped measure of transparent film that produced images. The sound was immersive, soaking the space, steadying us. Pure light was treated in the projector to reveal previously hidden frequencies of colour, throwing them through the portal called a lens to dance on the white wall. We were all oriented to the tapered base of that triangle of light, some sitting and some standing. I vaguely remember spending the first half kneeling and the second half cross-legged, the posture of my upper body and the focus it represented anchored to the ascetic ache of both poses. The sound and the images layered steadily, building in intensity, and every so often one of us would crane our necks back to make sure Jay and Joe still existed. It finished, and after the applause I noted that everyone seemed as genuinely edified as I was. So much is clear to me.
But all the things that I can express for myself only point sublimely to something ineffable; something hiding in the vanishing point that I will never reach. In one sense the performance is an aesthetic experience complete in itself; there is nothing more I could ask of it. In another sense, as my senses were being inundated with greater and greater intensity, my sense of self began to fall away from me. A week later I think of Bodhidharma staring at a wall for nine years. I was hearing but not hearing, seeing but not seeing, and travelling without moving.
I think I will spend my whole life trying to go there again, and in that sense this performance will never be finished for me. If you were there did you feel something similar? Did we share something? Because this is all that I can say.
And the tiger dances away from me…