"Anti-Oedipus" or "Oedipus X"
Dionysis -- Biomechanics
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ShowCases: 3 Sisters, Mikado, 12th Night, Hamlet, The Importance of Being Earnest, Dangerous Liaisons, Don Juan
SummaryThe setting of the Oedipus the King as in the case of most Greek tragedies, does not require a change of scene. Throughout the play the skene with at least one door represents the facade of the royal palace of Thebes. Even when action takes place inside the palace, such as Jocasta's suicide and Oedipus's self-blinding, there is no shift of scene. These interior actions are described in a speech delivered by a messenger rather than enacted before the audience (1237-1286). The messenger speech eliminates the need for scene changes, which, due to the limited resources of the ancient theater, would have been difficult and awkward. Sophocles, like Aeschylus and Euripides, made a virtue of the necessity of this convention of the ancient theater by writing elaborate messenger speeches which provide a vivid word picture of the offstage action.
Notes...the city of Thebes was afflicted with a monster which infested the highroad. It was called the Sphinx. It had the body of a lion and the upper part of a woman. It lay crouched on the top of a rock, and arrested all travellers who came that way, proposing to them a riddle, with the condition that those who could solve it should pass safe, but those who failed should be killed. Not one had yet succeeded in solving it, and all had been slain.
Oedipus was not daunted by these alarming accounts, but boldly advanced to the trial. The Sphinx asked him, "What animal is that which in the morning goes on four feet, at noon on two, and in the evening upon three?" Oedipus replied, "Man, who in childhood creeps on hands and knees, in manhood walks erect, and in old age with the aid of a staff." The Sphinx was so mortified at the solving of her riddle that she cast herself down the rock and perished. [ from Bulfinch's Mythology ]
Art Talk with Misha Gordin: Wednesday, July 28, 7:00 p.m.
Photography today has been subsumed by the mass media. In fact, our ability to appreciate any great photograph has been irrevocably altered by the relentless and redundant images with which the mass media bombards us daily through billboards, newspapers, magazines, television and movies. Most contemporary photography seems simple and trustworthy, especially to a culture so desensitized by this chaos of visual stimuli. Nonetheless, we must remember that our "new reality" is actually conjured, manipulated and dumbed-down by computer wizards, at once alienating us from authentic reality and eroding our trust in any images of it.
Of all the arts, the mass media and new technology have cheapened the photographic print the most. Digital cameras, larger memory chips, faster computers, extravagant software and cheaper printers allow almost anyone to call themselves a "serious photographer," when, in fact, most of them are just "serious picture-makers." Only when we realize the difference between a picture and a photograph can we begin to appreciate the latter. Real photography is not merely image manipulation, whether on a home computer or in a corporate office. Real photography is still an art, requiring intuition, skill, and the ability to conceptualize.
Misha Gordin is a real photographer. Misha Gordin is an artist. He began as a documentary photographer, but quickly grew tired of waiting for the “perfect moment for the perfect photograph.” He also grew tired of shooting images over which he had no control. He wanted to tell the entire story, to capture its essence, to distill its complexity in a single and unique image. He is a self-determined individual whose work reflects his personality: It leaves little room for chance or accident but a great deal of room for contemplation and provocation.
A photograph for Misha begins with a concept, the most important ingredient of a powerful image, which usually derives from his imagination or from dreams. He writes, "In 1972, I had a dream . . . . The moonlight reflects off the cobblestone street. The lonely steps echo in a narrow path. I hear the sound of a cracking shell. I look up. The giant egg above breaks, squeezed between the old walls. The warm liquid spills on my face. I wake up. I knew then what to do. I will photograph Dreams." If dreams are an illusion of reality, then photographs are their perfect illusory expression.
Once Misha determines his concept, he develops it as a painter or writer would, transforming his idea to an image by means of photography. Far from a traditional photographer, he considers "the camera and film just a brush on canvas or pencil on paper." Like a painter, he works out compositions in advance, drawing and erasing and redrawing cartoons or blueprints before he ever takes a picture. Then he uses the camera as a tool to collect bits of information to use in the construction of the final assembled photographic image.
Although he is ultimately photographing imaginary reality, he tries to make his conceptual images as realistic as possible. Once he has determined the technical limitations for his concept, he chooses props, a location and models, a process which reminds him of making a single-frame movie with a predetermined script. Somewhat like Magritte, he builds scenes and characters which look like external reality but suggest more internal states of mind–scenes which are at once comprehensible and inscrutable, intellectual and visceral.
At this point, Misha's artistic process reflects his training as an aviation engineer; it is meticulous, precise, repetitive and calculated. After he composes the scene, he takes photographs one at a time, then by techniques such as cutting, blocking, and dodging, lays the figures into a new composition.
Many contemporary photographers would duplicate images digitally through computer manipulation, which would result in precisely the same image repeated over and over. Instead, each of Misha's photographs is unique, exactly like a drawing or painting. What at first looks like merely repetitious imagery actually contains minuscule variations among similar images which Misha has repositioned. His work is aesthetically challenging because of this extraordinary subtlety and the time and attention required to appreciate it fully. In this sense, Misha's photographs are much like classical music, formally predicated on statement, variation, and repetition.
Misha's repetitive images construct a world of conscription, confinement, imprisonment. The sameness he creates at first looks innocent, like the homogenization which our culture values, encouraged by corporations like Gap and Old Navy. They might be class pictures in which each youngster has a slightly different expression. Or are they draftees of a secret society or government? Who wants these people in step and in control? The tiny mutations and subtle glitches belie their regimentation and even suggest they are chafing against their external confinement. Misha's extreme structuring of experience controls chaos, but so does fascism.
Physical confinement can free the imagination, perhaps the only way to maintain sanity. The Russian novelist Dostoevsky, whom Misha acknowledges as influential, explored this relationship between confinement and imagination, as did Alexander Solzhenitsyn and Victor Frankl, all imprisoned in labor or concentration camps. In different ways, these three writers argued that people may not be able to control what happens to them, but they can control their reaction to circumstances. In other words, like Misha’s characters, they used their imaginations to achieve existential freedom.
In a world where photography as an art has been co-opted by commerce and propaganda --people wanting to sell us their version of ourselves or the "truth"--the art of Misha Gordin has few peers. His photographs of photographs which he has first sketched reveal him at once as a master draftsman and a master illusionist, a man of tremendous imagination and skill. To appreciate this exhibit, viewers must overcome their cultural conditioning in superficiality and their assumptions about repetition. If they look long and carefully, they will see themselves in these crowds of sameness. Misha Gordin's photography requires discipline and endurance, the dedication to perform an artistic task to perfection, and the intuition to create, under the shifting appearances of similarity, the immovable reality of the profoundly unique.
Ric Collier, Director
Scene: Before the wealthy dwelling of Oedipus at Thebes?
What we see on stage -- the greek theatre (steps). The "orchestra" (acting space) is between two theatres -- the ancient and our house. The actors are between the past and the present.
see Pasolini *
* GODOT.06: Doing Beckett => main stage Theatre UAF Spring 2006 *
Oedipus UAF (direct.vtheatre.net)
View My Stats * cite: anatoly antohin. URL + date [ my shows : 1. writer * 2. director * 3. dramaturg * 4. actor ]