For our second official comp study, we were given a generous amount of freedom. Daniel Roberts asked us to visit the Columbus Museum of Art and identify either a portrait, sculpture, or abstract piece of art as inspiration. We’ve been discussing over the past week the difference between illustrating and interpreting, as well as when to indulge in the literal and when to diverge from it. The painting that I chose was called “Le Plongeur (The Diver)” by Cornelis Ary Renan in 1882. I did absolutely no research on the painting or the artist before I choreographed, wanting to be impacted by the visual stimulus in the most genuine and unbiased way possible. Not shockingly, I later found out that he was a French Symbolist painter and social activist–no wonder we got along (albeit through his art, 150 years later.)
If you haven’t seen the lists of women rejecting men in Western art, you are honestly missing out and should check out this and this. If you have, you already know where this is going. What I saw in “Le Plongeur” was the following:
woman: oh no, no thank you.
man: what do you mean? i dove into the ocean and got you this pearl. i’m the nice guy, i deserve it.
woman:…you look kind of pathetic, down there bleeding and fiending for no reason #sorrynotsorry
In my Linguistics class, we were discussing the (either real or presumed) stylistic differences between men and women’s languages but specifically how they could potentially complicate consent, combined with the rape culture we live in. The women in the class were encouraged to share the excuses they had used in the past when a simple “no” didn’t seem to cut it–when it seemed to have lost the weight it ought to hold in such an important setting.
All of these psychological ideas hitched a ride on my personal, compositional aspirations to include more durational movement and pauses. Here’s what I ended up with: “Faire la Fête.”