Yesterday Total Husband Ron (THR) and I went to a couple of events of the Fusebox Festival here in Austin, a contemporary art and performance festival. The most striking thing we saw was a piece called An Evening With William Shatner Asterisk. A friend had told us just before we went off to see it that it was “kinda trippy.”
I like that word trippy. I think it does a really good job of telling you you may not get it but may be enthralled nonetheless. I think you can extrapolate the meaning of the word trippy as suggestive of or resembling the effect produced by a hallucinogenic drug . To me, that indicates a non-linear quality, and multi-dimensional sort of trippy effect – oh, wow, I just circled back.
And our friend was right: it was trippy.
I’ll try my best to describe it. The artist took excerpts from William Shatner’s performances as Captain Kirk in Star Trek to present a dialectical about art and science. But each word was a discrete piece of dialogue that when edited for the whole sentence or paragraph created an entire lecture. Even syllables were edited together to create multi-syllabic words. The image is Kirk on a video screen in the middle of the stage rolled around by an “actor”, as if Kirk were moving about and pacing as he spoke. And the words were from different scenes and episodes so one word might have a peculiar emphasis in the new context in which the artist place it. This was a rather jarring effect, and it made me think about speech patterns and how much we rely on the types of intonations and emphases placed on parts of a sentence to discern the meaning of the sentence.
And it totally blew my mind. THR hated it. He’s the best art critic ever. “That sucked.” I think he should have his own column. Seriously. Because he has really interesting – and hilarious – ideas and insight about why something “sucked.” I love the conversations we have whenever we disagree on a work of art, performance piece, or play. We went to see STOMP once, and at intermission he turned to me and said, “I love this show.” I asked him what it was that he was liking about it. He said, “Because I know exactly what’s going on. It’s a bunch of people banging on a bunch of stuff. I get it.”
So last year, when STOMP came to town again, I took him to see his favoritest play ever!