The Word Hand is a Reminder of Temporality
Imagine that a line is drawn everywhere you move and this line follows you, leaving a permanent impression wherever you are. This trail would become a rod between my writing desk and the kitchen—it would circle the couch and spin off to the bathroom with more regularity than the bedroom. For you, there could be a completely different pattern. But most likely, it is from one place you sit to another place where you stand.
Imagine that all beings are stars across the vastness of the universe and that these stars are the footprints of other beings just doing their thing. The insignificant specs of vast solar systems upon the reflection of limited human consciousness can only be realized from the crucial movement of relationships as they play out through perfect physical laws and absolute chaos working together.
A performance takes place with white paper and apparently charcoal drawings covering three surfaces, including the floor; the audience makes two walls so that the performance artists are sandwiched by paper and drawings, starting with the lines of connectivity.
Creativity is sitting; movement is complexity. White cloth with charcoal smudges number in fifty, overhead of the audience—most are of course grey-haired white-flesh humans—not that it matters.
The painter sits, delicately drawing the fine details of the landscape or the portrait, or the painter sits and lets the movement determine the form—this form emerges from the undetermined splash or streak of ink. Linda Hutchins produces more than ten abstract forms in rapid fire, each with beautiful meaningless Zen.
Stickiness might be the common feature of human consciousness and our physical footprint. Like lines across paper, electrical tape is connected across surfaces in the wake of Linda Austin. Unraveling about two thirds of a roll, she twists herself around the room in a seemingly automatic association with the sticky memory of her movement.
A long and somehow soothing process is undertaken where a trail is carved from swinging pencil-like sticks on string, leaving singular star-like dots against the white paper stretched across a long floor… slow and steady drops like a metronome that leaves a code in sync.
There is a period with Austin running across the stage with headphone reciting some kind of random code. This is a moment for Linda’s improvisation-choreography to stretch out, actually because the running is surrounded by dancing, and the dancing is surrounded by running.
Pat Boas seems to be relatively aloof to the two Linda’s and her role in this metaphysical drama could be narrator or the observer. While mentioned activities are taking place, she is not participating but occupies space, almost observing and recording time in due course.
She moves, she walks, she talks, but she seems quite still most of the time. Boas reads non-linear poetry from a tablet and draws slowly across a sheet of paper in a way that could occur if you straightened out the tree rings while maintaining verticle growth. The way she draws the time away, I think of her role more as the timekeeper.
I would suggest that there are many ways to interpret The Word Hand. By description, in the promo materials and all that, it is meant to be a cross-disciplinary expression of movement: that much it has accomplished. More importantly, it gave me a reflection of myself through infinite time for a moment. I like that.
The Word Hand runs tonight at Performance Works NW, for more information, go to pwnw-pdx.org.