monadologie days 4 & 5

I’ve been reading Leibniz’s 1714 text Monadologie again. It’s sometimes like a vortex, or … how things turn and spiral around on themselves, so I’m spinning through things where I’ve been before.

I’ve been anxious (no, really?) about, I suppose the obligation of doing certain things in a project that is sitting temporally about six months later than where it was supposed to be, and consequently has caused me to lurch out of the concerns of all the people… and the previous few months where my direction has been along one particular broad series of threads into another quite different set of concerns. Consequently there is this simultaneous concern with reconciling some very large issues, I guess succinctly described as those dealing with issues of human identity and sovereignty with rather disparate ones of astrophysics.

This kept me not occasionally sleepless last night.

Today, as it turned out, laden with a bag of fresh cherries, rehearsal never even got off sitting on the floor, talking. What am I trying to do? What is the interest in trying to formulate some method of choreographing that is beyond what I have previously done? How does this specific project relate to my recent work, and so can be comprehensible in rehearsal and performance in relation to these works? In what way is it a return to previous concerns, and where and how does it leap off into something unknown?

Then, is what I know of Forsythe’s Improvisation Technologies a suitable approach for generating something that could be regarded as choreography from a literal analysis of the Centre’s research? Is attempting a literal understanding, something of an exposition or lecture a feasible approach? Or, is the very incomprehensibility of such research also something that needs to be elaborated somehow? Is Dr Chris Fluke’s passion for Star Wars figurines also something that should be considered, or is that likely to lead to me into trouble? Which is to say, how should the individuals who do this research figure as people in this residency?

Then, should I be reading Leibniz again? (Yes!). How does the history of science my passion for which got me into this in the first place figure in the whole thing? How does the history of mapping the solar system, galaxy, universe figure also, particularly in respect, I suppose, to how cartography in some way describes the limits, approximations, and errors of knowledge?

I think it was a really good midday and afternoon of talking and … sometimes, often, I forget the people I’m working with aren’t necessarily party to everything that’s going on in my head, and how little or single things are intertwined with other things. And as a corollary to this, just how mystifying it can be stuck in a room with me. Also with this is that all the talking is really good in order for us to collectively understand whatever I’m attempting, to feel a group, to perhaps also feel passionate about it or to have a sense what we do is important. And for me as well there is a vast gulf between how I conceptualise things as thoughts, how I might write them here or in notebooks, and how they resolve themselves when I talk about them with the people I’m working with.

Not to say I’m now utterly confident about what I’m doing here, but …

I spent the afternoon and evening until now at the Centre, reading a bunch of stuff from Sarah Maddison on Molecular Clouds in the LMC, and Dusty Debris Discs, thinking about the history of astronomy then realising it’s one of Chris Fluke’s research areas, reading Leibniz, remembering the State Library has a rather fine collection of his works including some original publications in the Rare Books room, not quite getting to the stuff on cartography, deciding now is a good time to go home but planning on being here over the weekend…