Monday Morning Musings:
“Sweet and faraway voice flowing for me.
Sweet and faraway voice tasted by me.
Faraway and sweet voice, muffled softly.”
–Federico García Lorca (1898-1936) excerpt from “The Poet Speaks to His Beloved on the Telephone,” translated by Francisco Aragón Full poem here.
We entered the installation area as the sun was setting
screens at one end of the room,
in the middle—more screens, projectors, tables,
words on the wall
Gypsy music played from the speakers—
and the telephone rang
I answered it.
the poet recited a poem in English, then in Spanish.
and then it rang again.
we wandered, looked through drawers of the nightstands,
tangible traces of the poet’s words, his existence.
The performance still an hour away,
we went into the exhibition—
Picasso: The Great War, Experimentation and Change
We saw cubist works and neoclassical,
side-by-side, as the artist
produced both styles within the same years
contradictory, bemusing critics and friends.
French nationalists condemned cubism
calling it degenerate, associating it with Germany,
spelling it “Kubism,”
though clearly French in origin.
Picasso never commented on the Great War,
though cubism, he acknowledged,
the camouflage on trucks and ships,
a strange marriage of art and war.
Denouncing art, artists, of all sorts
nations, politicians, war-mongers do this
in every war
repress freedom of speech and expression
slap on the label of nationalism
and suppress, censor
lay waste to all that does not fit
the narrow parameters and forms
who are in control.
Germany destroys the work of degenerative artists
in the the next war,
destroys the artists, too.
Tyrants know the power of words, the power of art,
music is played at the concentration camps, you know,
dance me to the end of love
We slowly stroll back to the installation
the performance begins,
a ringing telephone
the poet runs to answer it,
shadow puppets blend with figures
on a screen
a fish travels across the white surface
taking us on a journey,
Spain, New York
water, a boat, an iguana with a pipe
words of love
space and time
have no boundaries,
the telephone rings
the poet imprisoned
he speaks no more
but not forever
because art lives on,
art shadows our world
or perhaps it is our shadow world,
the dreams we live inside.
After the performance, we’re invited to look at and play with the puppets and talk to the actors, puppeteers, and musicians.
We were at the Barnes Museum
We saw My Soul’s Shadow created and performed by Manual Cinema,
a Chicago-based company. The performance was part of the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts 2016 (PIFA), and sponsored by the Kimmel Center.