Skip to main content

The I-Ching and the aesthetics of shimmer

Because sometimes you find yourself sitting in a cafe with a copy of the I-Ching to your left and it’s in Polish. But you’ve seen it here before - not in this cafe, but in this city. In English, the last time, at a significant moment, even if proffered by an untrustworthy individual. It came, that time, at a moment of needing to trust. It came back the summer before last, in the wake of a decision that was in some ways good and an in others bad. A gently insistent reminder to attune to The End in Sight. 

I ask myself what hexagram is that? I can’t remember. Can I find it? Will I recognise it in Polish? 64. Przed Spełnianiem. Koniec Przed Spełnianiem. 

When things flow, there’s a sense of continuity and overlap - coexistence of time/space. I feel forward and back, accumulated experiences shimmer. I’m attracted to this aesthetic of shimmering lately. I see it in my head as a collection of loosely woven baskets, which sit inside of one another. Their weavings cross and contradict one another, becoming alternately visible and invisible as they rotate, and all around them/from them, there exudes a porous but very present texture infused with memory. 

There’s something Pepper’s Ghost about it. 

Something too of the experience of sitting here, listening as “Son of a Preacherman” randomly plays and remembering a dear friend I made here, in this same city, who I have since lost track of and who used to live not far from where I am sitting now. 

There’s something significant too in having these encounters - the song, the I-Ching - in the immediate aftermath of two good encounters, all together seeming to affirm that this path is a good one. All this sounds quite mystical, but it isn’t, really. I understand it as a continuously present landscape - like the texture within the baskets - of which I’m only conscious some of the time. 

Its moments of assertion form points of orientation. If I had a multidimensional rendering of my life encompassing time, space and people, I could map them. If I could map them - if I had started years ago - perhaps I could deduce where the most conducive paths lie. Perhaps, though - indeed, likely - I already know where they are and these momentary bubblings up serve to remind me to live how I know. 

Today is one. April 2014 was one, walking through Vršovice with the hairs of my arms standing on end. Another was in London, late at night in the Phoenix Artists Club, when a performer whose show I’d gone to see told me that he was clairvoyant and that I needed to make a show about learning to play the Anna Magdalena Notebook

This flow, this shimmering, this coexisting of our experiences - like a kind of hazy, personal Wirkungsgeschichte, possessing texture and dimensionality, provoking goosebumps and hovering in the air around us - is what I want to put into the space, in front of people. 


Popular posts from this blog

Because we don't work in a vacuum.

by Becka McFadden So this blog is about performance and perhaps this is a semi-hijack. Though perhaps not. Once, not so very long ago, I did a PhD grounded in the sociology of theatre and performance. The fundamental premise of this school of thought - unsurprisingly - is that what we do on stage is not distinct from what is happening in the world. Making art, we both respond to and co-create the social world in which we continue to live, love, vote, pay taxes and make more art. A brief anecdote by way of illustration. During the dark days (though how comparatively luminous they seem in retrospect!) of George W. Bush's run for re-election, I was doing my MA in Theatre. Our programme was organised such that you could hold an almost fulltime-time job and still do it, as a result of which our classes started around 4:30 and rehearsals often continued past midnight. The night of the election coincided with a significant rehearsal of a political twentieth century European play that

Notes on Brexit

Originally published on Facebook and Instagram, 31 January 2020 photo: Paul Wade I never felt at home in the United States, where I was born and grew up. I felt at home in my parents’ house, when I danced or skated, at university and in Philadelphia’s theatre community, but never fully in the culture at large. My sense of humour didn’t work there. People often didn’t “get” me. They asked me what was wrong a lot. When I was a child, I used to sit in the park not far from my par ents’ house and face East, as if through regular performance of this ritual, I could will myself across the ocean, to Europe, where I had never been. When I first lived in a European country - the Czech Republic in 2005/2006 - I experienced a transformation in my wellbeing and sense of self. I began to dismantle the toxic association of a person’s wealth with their intrinsic value as a human being. I learned delayed gratification. I felt sexier than I ever had in the United States. I made dear friends w

BackStories - When, or is it Where, or is it What?

by Mary Ann Hushlak Backstory – where to begin?  Behind us, most certainly. Yet in terms of when, when to start from? Yesterday, last week, a month ago, a year ago, several years ago, most of a life?  Or from a particular event?  A particular something?  Or a very specific place? Even as we say the word, our heads raise and tilt ever so slightly backwards. In fiction, backstory is about how a character gets to be like that, or does that, whatever the that of the story is. In real life, it’s more how each of us can be fathomed, can be understood, can be contextualized, can be tracked, how our bodily reactions and inner thoughts penetrate our actions, our gestures, our tone -  right now, in this moment.    Backstory is of course about time, time past, what is behind us and what we carry with us. Remnants, vestiges of habits, rituals, mementos as much as memories, crucial moments, scars, wounds, phobias and history. All of the remnants, through time and, also, through space. Like a