The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze

A word about the first person.
The word of the day, in fact.
Apogee: the highest point in the trajectory of an object (or a subject) shot or thrown into the world. This the point at which time slows down, leaving us (the object? the subject?) suspended at the moment where rising meets falling and it is no longer possible to distinguish them. Less poetically, it’s as high as you’re going to get before you start falling. Or the location of the curtain between its rise and fall. Interestingly, we also use this word to mean the very best of everything.

Since I’m not rehearsing right now and I should be…wait…I feel an aside coming on…
[Thanks for asking, Juniper Alan. My next official performance is:
Thursday 8 March, 10:45-11:45am
Lewis and Clark College Gender Studies Symposium
Templeton Student Center Council Chamber
Portland, Oregon. No tickets needed.
I’ll also be signing books March 3d at the Associated Writing Programs conference in Atlanta, for those of you who are there. Wish me a happy birthday. Then Nebraska, March 26-30.
]

…I’m going to talk about museums. We’re back–still in the first person, suspended in time. Which puts us right smack dab in the middle of the museum, home of Objectivity. Or Object-ivity, depending on where the word falls on the line. The line that leads to the apogee, remember? Okay, returning to Earth now.

So let’s say you’re walking into a museum to understand, just at random, the Roman Empire. You come into the Roman Empire section and the first thing you see is a cup with a cracked edge, carefully repaired. Then a pair of earrings. A photo of a pyramid where if you look closely, you can see somebody scratched “Joe was here” in Latin with the tip of a sword. Then there’s a little model of somebody’s house. Next to it is a reconstruction of the picture on the wall by the garden, a bawdy or religious scene concealed or revealed according to the chance of preservation, the taste of the museum’s curator, and the current social conventions concerning the private parts (private parts?) of Romans or Emperors, or ourselves. A diagram of a city which is really kind of abstract, but here’s a couple of pieces of concrete from the street in front of the house with the garden, or a raised block from a crosswalk designed to keep the horseshit from getting in your sandals. All the way at the end there’s a really big statue of someone whose name we can’t remember, but he’s got a mole on his eyebrow. He’s wearing tall sandals that must have been hard to keep horseshit out of, and a skirt and a really wierd haircut, and he’s got the same line between his eyebrows that you get from worrying too much.

And when you leave you think, hey, the Roman Empire.

Objectivity. First person.
Museums are usually associated with: science, art, and people who live far, far away from us.
My name is Aaron Raz Link. I work in the museum.
I’m going to go rehearse a show about my sex change.

Idea for the day: the uses of projection. For instance-by speeding up or slowing down the speed of projection, we can make the living creatures in a movie seem far away or close to us, quaint or important. Silent/historic film is usually projected at faster than life speed. (in audio, projection might use speed or pitch–high pitch and low having some interesting cultural values. Musicians, please respond…) David Attenborough’s team used the technique of slowing projection to draw the viewer’s attention to the lives of small or “exotic” species in the BBC series The Life of Mammals.
Book of the day: Understanding Comics, by Scott McCloud
Plug of the day: Elsewhere Artists Collaborative. http://www.elsewhereelsewhere.org
Question of the day: When do you use the first person, and what do you use when you don’t?
Song for the day: “The Man on the Flying Trapeze.”

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One Comment on “The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze”


  1. Thank you for the plug! The work and, from what I can gather, the performance sounds wonderful. Should you like to be in touch about a possible performance in our space, residency, or some sort of musicological project please let us know. Our residency season extends from May-November and to answer your question of the day:

    He uses the first person upon her ascent up a small flight of stairs leading past the squeak of difference failing to impede the methodological order and march of sameness. Referring back to the ideality of the common (an equality we count on for democratic and/or capital affairs) one finds themselves adrift with the and/or’s that signal a progressive trajectory in historical consciousness. Ooops, loops, we yell, tripping over a man leaning against the railing, I wonder how I never noticed him in my chronologically timed marches up and down the stairwell. Never-mind thought I in images that don’t know words. “…And–and+and+and,” I never recognized in the nervous system of individual ditto marks and singularly sprawling ivy column-cubes, image-ing “other” heterotopic amorphous beasts upon the flat side of the landing leading presupposingly up and down the stairwell steps.


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