posted by laurabecker
it’s been really hard for me to post about my final tba experiences, perceptions, and reactions. it’s my own fault i guess – by not keeping up i allowed everything i went to (crispin spaeth, trevor paglen, speculative archive, spalding gray, johanna billing, corberry press, and more) connect to everything else in my head, and now there’s just too many connections and interrelated thoughts for me to unravel my lasting and possibly interesting impressions. in the meantime i’ve had to face up to my denial that the festival is actually over and that my everyday life no longer includes the concentrated inspiration and artistic analysis and philosophizing of those recent days and nights. i’ve also returned to keeping up on the less inspiring news of the world (the legalization of torture, the global religious infighting, the crapfest of campaign season…)
but before i forget my tba memories completely, though i have no conclusion and feel no sense of resolution, i will note the following -
after the slideshow and lecture by trevor paglen, i started thinking about the notion of reconnaissance, a main topic of his research. trevor is interested in the secret reconnaissance missions as part of the larger military programs – satellites, stealth planes and weapons, secret prisons and bases – that are completely hidden from the public (and supposedly costing us $30 billion dollars). surveillance and spying resonated with me on the national and political level, but also just served as a really interesting final choice for my last day of TBA. i started this festival trying to be really open-minded, and quickly closed in on my feelings and rumblings of protest and political/national/global awareness as i reacted to so many of the various works. but at the same time, as the days wore on and i started picking up on the more intimate and personal signals, i was drawn in and welcomed and touched by the more quiet moments.
so when thursday night came and brought with it night vision goggles to watch the hot and steamy “dark room”, a pretty empty auditorium to seemingly spy on the non-characters in johanna billing’s remote yet tenderly spare films, and then a theater full of fans aching for one last glimpse straight into the secret thoughts and fears of spalding gray…well, it left me pretty vulnerable. something about seeing these completely different pieces, all of which focused on human relationships while depicting feelings of being utterly alone, pulled and pushed on my heartstrings and truly opened me up to what is in some sense the ultimate experience of the festival – hearing the very same thing in comletely different languages (dance, film, theater) all at once. it truly felt like secrets had been shared, dark depths revealed, mysteries divulged. if someone had spied on me that night they would have witnessed someone worn raw in a good way by the emotional impact.