Notes from the AiR: Memory, Hope, & Right Now
Notes from the AiR
May 27th, 2022:
When I walked to the park today. The thing that I took most note of was a man sleeping on a sort of half wall. The air was cooler from all of the rain we had this week, I presume that this is what gave my stroll a calm feeling. Stepping into the park,the first thing I noticed was all of the kids playing. A ball being thrown, kids practicing cartwheels with each other (Acrobatics to me), and dancing (even without music.) I admire the way we once were all like this, able to live fully in the present.
What I’ve found ironic, maybe it’s interesting too, is that no matter how grande the ideas and concepts we have about life, there will still exist the everyday images like this one. As a creator, it’s my job to observe, and yet among all of the ideas and concepts which have been gnawing at me, it’s all juxtaposed with these images in the park, of people eating, sleeping, playing, talking on the phone, reading. I can’t quite explain it but the fact that no matter who we are or how we think, these seemingly mundane aspects of life remain, and thus makes everything extra-ordinary. It’s meant to exist together, just as joy and sorrow exist with one another.
I’ve conceived that there are only three essential things that exist to us all: Memory, Hope, and Right Now (aka this moment). As I’ve been thinking “Why do we perform? Why do we want to perform?” I have crafted the following explanation. We live life through moments, tomorrow does not exist right now, in this moment. For me a performance is an example of a moment where we are connected through the same experience (albeit with different interpretations). And if it is good enough, meaning the performance gives you a feeling, touches you, or provides something of a particular intrigue, then that performance will last forever in the memory of the viewer. We have an opportunity to last in the minds of others, to have an impact even through the subconscious. This is perhaps one of the most remarkable aspects of our daily lives, that we can exist in the minds of others, even after we are gone.
And in fact, the kids I mentioned earlier, are no longer here as write this, but they do exist through my memory. It’s as if they were here just a second ago, along with the guy emptying out all of the trash cans, and the man sleeping on the bench. If they did not exist then I wouldn’t be able to write this! And so if we have the innate ability to live these sort of memories, these images, right now, then I am not worried about what will happen after our performance is over.
Not to change subjects but another focus of my thoughts for the past weeks has been this hope we carry with us. I find that sometimes, we think so much about tomorrow, about the next moment in our lives, that we forget right now. Why? I’ve found my answer at least in the the short piece by Jorge Luis Borges “The Library of Babel”. See, what I’ve grown to understand is that someone in this world has dreamed of a tomorrow, of the next moment, exactly as it will be. There are infinite possibilities for tomorrow and yet someone has imagined it in its true form. Who’s to say that person isn’t you or me? And yet, what I propose, is that while it probably isn’t you or me. Why is it not the man sleeping on the bench. The person emptying the trash. If you knew that someone around you, a stranger, could tell you what tomorrow would be like, what would you do? How would your interactions with them change?
- Houston Odum, Director of the Activate Entertainment Project
2022 Artist in Residence