leibniz, monadologie, choreographing and thinking too much

I’ve taken to walking back through Faulkner Park, between the Domain and, I guess you could say, Prahran, though the suburbs are not so important as the linking of sections of a city, scraps of topology. The meandering backwater paths off the automotive and overheated parallel striations of main roads is where a city becomes, if it is fortunate, human. Melbourne I think is one of the less successful cities for this, constantly dissected by blaring highways that delineate the end of walking.

Back to the park though. Ballet this morning, and after yesterday’s over-excitement of discovering the impending tour of Sunn 0))) and Boris, all I have been listening to is Boris. OK, and Sunn 0))). It was Emile who introduced me to much of what constitutes my current listening repertoire, and plenty of that has turned up in my performances since 2005. As much as going to DanceWEB in 2003 changed what I was doing and resulted in extermination, 4.7 gig of mp3s from Emile had much the same effect on hell.

After temperance last year (of which I have just heard a rumour that it might be getting cut some time soon … ish), I’ve had a work fermenting primarily based on Gottfried Willhelm Leibniz, inventor of, among other things, calculus and binary numeral system (those of you who’ve seen me count to 1024 in binary using my fingers will appreciate the high geeky adoration I feel for Leibniz). So I’m currently ploughing through his 1714 text Monadologie, and after half a page comparing the English and German translations, decided to go with the original French version, though I really wish he’d written it in whatever dialect of German is spoken in Vienna instead of being clever and writing it in French, my French sucks at this level.

So while the third part of the extermination-hell-pestilence-?-?? cycle is coming along nicely, I have been thinking about Leibniz … and Boris … and dancing, and I suppose in this context Michel Serres, who made the analogy between a calculator and a dancer in Genèse, that I would really like to quote here, but …

Perhaps what intrigues me here is also what I find fascinating in this era when a new system, that of rationalism and science swallowed whole the previous one which to our eyes looked rife with the abysses of the Dark Ages. Though to remember Isaac Newton was as concerned with alchemy as he was with physics, I think is fertile ground for attempting an understanding the eruptions of religious and spiritual insanity in our culture which is supposed to the the heir of that age.

Insofar as this is so, it underlies both the cycle of five works (that I really need a name for) and this current, other, piece. Perhaps though it can be seen as the opposite, or counterpoint to the cycle. If the five works constitute (in part, and being severely reductionist here) a meditation on the eruption of the supernatural into understanding bodies in the world, then this new piece on Leibniz would be, and I’m struggling to find the right words here … in which the capacity for the mind and human imagination allows for the creation of new worlds, and so sets us free from what we have been, what we already are.

Back to Boris then. I have some fairly defined ideas on how this piece should proceed, and I think one of the interesting things for me right now is dance as endurance, in the transcendental sense that shows up in so many cultures, and also that utter sloughing off of the body that occurs in mountaineering. Another is insanely, almost heart-rendingly complicated choreography that was in part where temperance was going, and listening to Boris while walking in the park, I knew I’d found my music. Oh, another thing is that it’s a solo. For me.