Tempus Fugit!

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Notus/Auster- Greek myth: god of the south wind. He brought storms of late summer and autumn and was feared as a destroyer of crops.

Not enough is written about wind. Everything is affected by it; rocks, caves, architecture, the planets, oceans, music, dance, art, emotions, navigation, discovery, energy and our very selves contort against its forces. There is nothing that has moved me more (possibly) in my life than the memory of wind. It is so hard to capture and yet when you are dancing you make your own. I remember an Ohio Spring day, the tulip trees blowing in the wind, flowers and trees bent in their failure to resist the weight and impact of it, and that special wind that lifts up from the ground, lifting you clothes and hair. The cool breeze blowing over the ocean, chilling the wet skin, or a soft and balmy breeze the early evening bumping the shades or curtains, and that wind in your convertible, or the wind on a motorcycle slapping your face, in the tops of the trees, or the cold wind that steps up right before a major storm, and a fan-infinite wind.

It’s damage, and the ultra-wind created by a hurricane or that devastation left in the path of a tornado are very hard to believe or quantify. The excitement and fear produced by the tickle of wind, the body’s receptors gauging the strength or severity of it is as rooted in our DNA, as the opening of our eyes each day to inevitable daylight. It is predictable, and a force known to each and every one of us-something we all feel and relate to. Our perception of the experience, like other stimuli, we imagine, is wholly different than someone else’s, and yet sometimes we are all to busy to pay much attention to these little things. Many times when I see a picture of a dancer, I remember that one of the things evoked in dance is the wind. Why else chiffon? Wind seems to be captured in aspects of dance mostly relating to contemporary pieces and modern dance. In the earliest forms of choreography and theater, wind was one of the things that was highlighted and air-lifted on air, lighter than air, noiseless movement, breezes blowing, skirts flying. Perhaps open air theater gave an extra sense of drama if a wind lifted the hair or garment of an actor. This is something that is missing in indoor theater-wind.

Isadora Duncan, and other women, I am sure, wore diaphanous gowns-still do-to feel ass that extra sense of life and movement to clothing, and otherwise still poses. It’s unruly, never minds, and you cannot tame the wind. Wind connotes energy and direction, too. Amazing the bells hanging in a tree ringing in the wind, and if they cease, so does the music. such little things, but ones that should not be forgotten. Moving against the wind, chasse, as in Ashton’s piece Les Patineurs, with the ice skaters. To chase, to hunt, and in pursuit. All the words that you can conjure up indicating movements directed like the wind, do not outnumber the movements defining it. Do pictures or even videos of ballet, really convey, the energy of ballet? How could they, any more than pictures of the wind convey the feeling of it?

The Anemoi, or eight gods of the wind, in Greek culture

Pictures convey, like a dictionary would, an example of something, for reference and recognition, connecting us to traits of identification, which is more or less a scientific process and not the same way in which any art is enjoyed, appreciated, or created. And yet, how many of you can look at the pictures above and can identify these wind deities with each of their attributes? Yet, if we do not visualize these processes, we might not remember them, and we might miss them if we cannot relate them to any past feeling or instance. All of them are relating to things the wind does. Like a vocabulary in ballet, movements can be forgotten, and the same movements, like words, used over and over again. Sweep them away! Use fresh words, find fresh meanings, as in palette in art; it is not the primary, secondary, or even tertiary colors that you can lay on the paper in flat shapes, but the millions of colors possible that occur in nature and art, ballet and music. In fact, even the words of art, tonal, shading, vibrant, are the same as in music. Does dance or ballet today appear on the page, described in words in magazines and reviews lack description? If it does, then this fault lay my not only lay in the writer, but also the dancer, because when we lose or forget words to describe creation, we also fail to create it; what may not be described, may also not be fully appreciated or felt. Just as important as the dancer, is the audience and their reaction to a ballet, for what is inspiring, inspires.

Art may be used to pictorially identify something, or to take a snapshot of it, but even if the picture is very good, it is lacking in certain aspects which the performance itself possesses. It lacks real-life qualities, it is flat or not real, is lacks expression, feelings and life. Color and costumes do not take the place of the other performances on the stage-the action, libretto, movement. Each scene of a ballet should be a little bit like arranging flowers, which come alive. It is visual music. Pure art. Performing arts are live. In radio broadcasts, for instance you have voices and the live aspect of radio, if discernible or known, imagination brings the other senses, and not just “hearing” it. I used to love to get out tapes of old radio performances from the library, like lifeboat with Marlena Deitrich. Comedy records. Foley-Foley (film) is the reproduction of everyday sound effects that are added to film, video, and other recording. Closing ones eyes at the philharmonic and letting the music take you away. It’s on the wind, by the way. Letting the music “take you away” refers to dancing, escape.

Other senses, not in use allow for the total engagement of the listener, and many things may be heard or inferred with sound effects and other techniques, but the added picture to this event of a broadcast, such as television, gives us the opportunity to bring into play the sense of sight and more judgment, also two senses are involved.Television did bring into the living rooms of millions of homes a picture radio, and movies, live television, music, but in a flat one-dimensional range, so that now it is even harder to connect with the environment because of all the static, white noise and activity. One has to shut off these devices and stand a million miles away, on the Parthenon, or some other place in order to feel the power of the universe and to hear the world. It was amazing to see these people and to view these performances, but it does not take the place of live performances, or theater, or dance, or live music, where the physical self is present, and where all the senses are involved, information is increased to such a degree, and feeling, to include that electric and added sense of echoing and vibration, and so much more stimuli is possible.

In all cases, at least I believe, different people bring more or less, or different perceptions and involvement to the theater, but the theater cannot be replaced with writing or pictures, or even video. Unless we are willing to discuss and reduce emotions and perceptions important to experiencing art, even paintings in a personal setting, or live environment, we are missing the whole point by a constant diet of pictures. Pictures are good for education and to create identification, so ballet pictures do this the same as pictures of the portraits of music composers, symbols, math facts, or words will create familiarity, but even though they are fun, they are very limited in the information they can provide, or the senses they can stimulate. They spark the imagination, prepare it for something, but an endless and continuous stream of them can have negative effects, too. They can numb.

In strictly the terms of psychological process of identification, then pictures are not really the best way to communicate the elements of ballet, or at least only one of the ways in which information can be spread. Of course the Greeks had a name or God for every earthly power known to man at that time (sic-above), and this perhaps is why we have so long related to the Greeks-they were the first men, like ourselves, who longed to communicate and record the feelings and associations of man, categorize and classify the many and most important (to them); there is a picture-dictionary of the world in their art, and this is repeated with names and personifications, and visible uses and functions of those things, but this has very little to do with experienced art, and our response to it in museums and other places is not one usually of energy. We constantly allude to classicism in art and writing, ballet, painting, etc, but it is still primitive, like those pictures, and decoration is mainly flat. Even perspective is not involved, and it is usually on some functional item like a case, building, either flat or in bas-relief, and in it’s greatest and most meaningful form, as sculpture and architecture. But its direct involvement or our interaction with it is limited, too, though it reminds us of things and we have associations from it and our imaginations are sparked by it. It leaves far more open to interpretation than a picture does, because it is a representation of art and not a copy of it. It becomes very symbolic and too many symbols in art reduce the originality of that art to something like hieroglyphics and it becomes less artistic. But all too many times, even in Greek culture, a symbol, like a word, or a god, a sign, and today an emoticon, becomes the convention, used to describe a range of feelings, situations, and locales, and this symbolism can find its way into art, but this is not always art for art’s sake, but is in many ways just another kind of representational art like a photograph, a puzzle, or a guide. Almost all art before the renaissance was this kind of art, for various reasons. Personification of these intangibles was also an aspect of their culture, so that these gods were associated with traits and personalities, religious attributes, even histories, like those of men, and throughout history, they took form and flight in other art, music, and dance, and many connotations and mores took root in their existence. They again became a way to communicate certain information, but did not engage all of the imaginative or creative sense of the viewers, and today meany people might find their technique fascinating, but it is more like a craft and scientific, then expressive of feeling, and the many emotions of humanity. They are very limited examples of art and as such do not often engage us in many and diverse ways. Simply put, they are not enough. Technical manuals of ballet, and research books, opinions, essays, and writing about art, in my mind is on a level with these kinds of representations of art. This is where I would pace most of what is on the Internet. Still flat, still lifeless, but beautiful, like poses.

But you do not read much about the wind in writing, except sea stories, and in a lot of ways, dance reminds us of wind-forces against we co-exist with over which we have no control. The many words in ballet which remind us of wind, every time we leave the ground, and while we are in air. To suspend, and from these feelings and things, men have sailed, and flown, and dancers have seemingly hung on air, as birds do, when they catch, miraculously a current, and to see that bird suspended, at eye level, while we sit in a traffic jam on a bridge, for me, is truly the reason to look around, stop the cacaphony of the radio, or children in a car. this is a moment which still should take our breath away.

We have to be careful in building cornerstones as they can last forever, like words in an essay that in order to change you must throw out, or you just keep starting from the same place, conscious of it or not. These types of bookmarks, like google smart search can prevent you from coming up with original thoughts or ideas, for one always stems from another. Maybe you have to occasionally throw out the book, and start over. Is there anything more odious to today’s youth and impatient grown-ups than having to start over? The mere suggestion of it in my house can cause a storm. But in the cornerstone are still the foundations of good thoughts and ideals, the evidence of great thinkers. Perhaps, their thinking led to this? I somehow do not think so. It seems to have been left for us, to remind us, that we are seeking great heights, to go where the wind goes, to see all that it sees, to touch all that it may touch, and to be great. It seems to some their vision was naive, but to me, there vision for the future was grand and on a scale really unimaginable for us, in the sheer physical work undertaken to produce it, and it reminds me everyday of how great were their visions and compared to us, how profound, in their innocence and faith.

Pazuzu, Sumerian demon of the scorching north wind.

But, I was taught that you must throw out, and be prepared to throw out anything, start over, it is in your head, maybe something better, like an artwork-what is so precious about it, lacking greatness, not a masterpiece, that cannot be redone? Why do we always feel that we do not want to redo that which is important to redo, that which makes us stronger and more disciplined for having redone. What has not been worth throwing out, what has been truly important, we have mostly kept. Not only have we kept it over time, preserved it, we have passed it down, form person to living person, not torn it down, so inside we must all realize the connection to what we have been to who we are. If only we could remember those experiences as they were yesterday, and be willing to start anew every day. Today, as then, some things remain as indefinable as time and the wind. Many things I have learned to take (finally) at face value, as time is wasted in trying to figure them out. Too much time. Time flies! Tempus fugit! Wasting time on writing feelings of the past, leaves us to dwell in the past perhaps too long. Sometimes we need to put away the past and look to a brighter or different future, go back to the drawing board, instead of starting at the same point in the plan or drawing, be unafraid to begin again fresh. Sometimes I have memories which just pop into my head, for no apparent reason, and I will spend many minutes lingering on them, looking at them as a film reel, with my mind’s eye, and savoring them as for perhaps the last time. Neither joy or sadness I take from them, sometimes, just a film, and I view it, looking for reasons or particulars as to why I have suddenly manifested this, or remembered this. Maybe I am looking for ideas. But maybe there is a time to take a new and different step unconnected to the last one. As a child, I remember walking in a path,upon the stone, or sand, or grass, and wondering what it would be like if my steps were not connected, moving to a new place without having tread on the path connecting it to the old place. This was accomplished by leaping, or hopping sideways, or on a car or big rock and jumping to the other side, as a springboard to a new path, and peeking back  at my nonexistent trail and evidence. Who is to say if history does not trick us this way, that the missing parts of it are really an opportunity, if one views it that way, to break with the past, and form a new future. Hasn’t this been done? Several times? Such as the library at Alexandria. Who is to say what was lost was important or not? If one loses all ones belongings, is that not an opportunity to begin anew? Are there not a myriad of fresh starts possible without giving up, quitting or trying to put the connecting pieces back in so that there is a basis on which to begin.

Facebook, like Solitaire is addictive, but it is in no way useful. Not for anything really. We do not meet the people we know, but we learn that we all have in common some things continually, and we dredge them up over and over again, and look at more cute little animal pictures, and some of it is really cute, and in between there is propaganda of one sort or another. But it does little to make it a forum or platonic method of learning. There are short sentences, attention spans and repeated words and ideas, but it all leads to nothing for people as individuals. I think it is wonderful way to connect to people from your past, if you want to, but my mother always said, “Why would you want to? They are in the past” It leads me to believe that we are trying to change history, that we find people like us or do not like us exactly the same as they do or did long ago, but we are not the same, though they see us as the same as they want to see us. Does this move us forward, or propel us? If we had ideas and we left to find new wings for those ideas, and to find our own wings, are we not dropping to the earth, losing our momentum, going backwards. Ever forward!

We personify FB-it is in fact an ultimate personification, for many lonely people looking for reassurance and new things in the same old place. But we do see the same traits of the Greeks within it, from ancient times, history repeating itself, in minutes, like a video game or some man made device to keep us as rats in a tunnel, not setting us free, and not doing other great things we could be doing, and that need seems to be to communicate who we are, what we stand for, possibly to reassure us that people are thinking about us every minute of the day, usually for commercial purposes (though I do not know what) and to leave some small measure of ourselves out there publicly for other people to rate and to judge and to remember, like a time capsule, and those are just silly, too, and quickly forgotten as they are found. But what we are is as indefinable in terms of Facebook, as that representation of wind (above). What we leave behind that is important is often a book, an artwork, a building, a tool, or some bit of clothing, for we are eventually ashes and dust. Electronics will not last, and what have they served while here, for nothing in them can be construed as having been great or monumental, as standing forever. Because we have been convinced by industry that it is a digital age, we all move toward some great creation within it, and that is as futile as the wind. Impermanent. Pointless. What is real will always be what is around us actually, and those solid, not virtual worlds which we create will be what is ultimately important. One can really gain anything from a picture on the Internet, it is fleeting, not real, and imaginary. It is a waste of time.

It is an unspoken part of culture today for everyone to have the same thought, or feeling about some things, agree or Like all the same things that others like, or agree upon, and how many Likes or votes someone gets or gives somehow gives the idea that people concur with certain established precepts and values, that they are popular beliefs (usually mis-held beliefs, as in “it was once popular belief that…”), or that they are successful, or represent something others should want or do strive for. But what is important is what has always been important, and a world without real things and art in it does not describe who we are, or leave, with any permanence, a record behind for future generations. But can we imagine a future without the Internet or digital media? Have we really become so self-centered that we need telephones, and computers, and do we feel so self-important that we feel others would take their time to read the little things we have to say? No. Books and monuments, dances and art will still be passed down if recorded in a permanent way. But like farming, we can lose the ability to sustain ourselves, and to create physically something with great importance and meaning, or entertainment.

Even the ancient Egyptian used the wind energy to propel their sailboats. Frieze of the temple of Edfu, river nile, Egypt.

Even funnier is the fact that no one, or very few people can be popular on all social media, at once, so you have a lot of unknown, untried, not even talented or important people, representing a faction of equally (possibly) similar people, not leaders, but a nation of “followers.” Conflicts actually arise in this environment, like, “I do not like the weird people following me on Twitter, it is enough to be famous on Facebook” and silly things like this, that make one think of Lewis Carroll and his representations of the similar self-important and even ridiculous viewpoints characters in his books personified, or the characters of Shakespeare, and his fabled human beings with major flaws, murderous traits, power-driven individuals who would do anything for a little bit of glory and wealth. Somehow the vacuousness of this phenomenon in the history of humans has continued, in one form or another in perpetuity, and Socrates will always drink the hemlock. History always repeats itself.

The art of living it seems, is in creating that third eye blind, world in which we can live in, which accommodates all our foibles, individual eccentricities, and allows some richness in, and to seek beauty, which seems connected to man’s possible relative happiness in life, for man always seeks this, though not necessarily other beautiful qualities, or moments, and this idea of beauty always changes. Maybe his vocabulary is less wide, and when the vocabulary narrows, so does the possible explanation of the characteristics of something; potential is limited. In English courses in college, they are teaching students to write a message in 15 words or less, and to use words readily understood by an eighth grader, and to avoid big words and bigger thoughts, as they are misleading and manipulative (especially if one is going to be successful!).  Not only the ability to tell a story, but to embellish it, so that it is prettier than the real thing, when the real thing has come to mean nothing to many people, but other creative attributes are lost. And yet, on the Internet, apparent, are many seemingly great minds still going at it, or are they less in number, burning out, dying off. I only write at the level of an 12th grader (in Microsoft terms) and rarely delve into the milieu of a 1st or 2nd year college level writer, yet I have been to college (repeatedly).

Is it now like the place in the ocean between here and Hawaii where the ocean is still, as it was when the Hawaiians left their homeland and traveled across the ocean to Hawaii, that place in the doldrums, where there is no wind, where the ship or the canoe stops, and there is no movement forward, no wind. When you look down in your travels, and there are fishes, and the bottom is seemingly infinite, but you are just stuck? Again, maybe 1,000 years later, the missionaries also stopped here, no wind in their sails, and waited for the wind. For if there are times when there is wind, there are also times when there is no wind. And those must be the same times, when society repeats mistakes or experiences the same situations, due to the nature of life and the world. But then, there is that moment when the wind rallies, and the sails billow, and it electrifies your skin and your senses, and the ship or boat moves, and surges forward to perceived new heights. In conversation there is a lot of chatter and then there is a time when something is being said that merits being heard. The receptors are waiting, and the words are needing to be said. But in all the hullabaloo, with everyone talking, will these important words be heard?

Without Wave or Wind – from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner – by Gustave Dore

It is in the ways that history is represented interestingly, such as those, that make the mundane bearable, even laughable. For if we cannot laugh at ourselves then the problem is very serious indeed. But there are those who have been able to laugh at themselves and to make us laugh, and those who have always taken themselves way too seriously. It is not always the history itself, or the story, that is entertaining, it is the way it is told. If ballet were attended to as a good movie or script is, which involves many people, as did all of the good old choreography, and was not just the idea of one man, then perhaps more ballets and dances would be performed and recorded which were important and monumental. But, nowadays, the world and companies are not teams, and schools and companies do not always exist side-by-side, the scientific with the academic and the art, and not often are there many good or fine minds working together toward one goal, one monumental phenomenon which will put ballet on the map, make it an entertainment no second to anything, because all of the parts of the narrative, music and choreography, sets and scenery are there, are unique and are art, and the dancing becomes like the bird at eye level, a miraculous moment to see! This, I do not see in independent, differing points of view and arguing-I see lots of selves, but no great movement forward. It is not necessarily in the training of the dancers, for the dancers are only integral to the story in their own minds, but it  is all of the other parts which make a chariot in which the dancers can fly to new heights and great achievement. If all of the real things which constitute a great performance are taken out, then it merely becomes a boring (eventual) technical feat, and nothing else, and back and forth we go.

There has to be a combination of factors working on my psyche at the moment, and this includes the story, the music, the creation of the event from start to finish, and the dancers themselves, costumes and sets. It is possible ballet will find a demise soon (not last another 400 years, because the focus seems to be on the people, like Facebook, instead of on the rest of the entertainment value. Frankly, I do not often care what a dancer’s feet look like, that they can and do make the effort to point them is enough, and I expect to see legs lifted to their ears, so many crotch shots, and contortions, that htis no longer is even interesting, and I expect to see the same jumps, batteries and turns, and not often does this stimulate me, like customary fireworks each year. How does one equate their “money’s worth?”

Detail of ancient wooden gear wheel in old greek wind mill.
Made on Earth: Sing With the Wind By Gregory Hayes, makezine.com The Aeolus acoustic wind pavilion, named for the ancient Greek ruler of the winds.
Boreas, god of the North wind

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