MONTGOMERY PARK, or OPULENCE
an essay in the form of a building
Montgomery Park is a series of story cycles and texts from the archive of a fictional asylum. An oblique adaptation of William James's study, The Varieties of Religious Experience, the text circles around different species of combination.
"The real architecture is Ms. Keithley’s childlike but sophisticated language, which guides us into meditations on the nature of being alive and present, of emotional exhaustion and replenishment, of those experiences that can’t be verified but are deeply felt." -- Claudia La Rocco, The New York Times
Incubator Arts Project, November 2010
performed by Karinne Keithley Syers, Katy Pyle, and Emily Wexler
written, composed, sound designed by KKS
choreographed in collaboration with Katy Pyle and Sara Smith
visual fabrication by Sara Smith
set design and fabrication Daniel Burnam
with direction and input from Sara Smith and David Neumann
2011 Bessie award for Outstanding Production ("of a work not technically considered dance but happening in and influencing the dance community") (aka our friend the satellite category)
buy the book here
Click on the thumbnails at the bottom for video.
FOUNDERS TALE. The Founder, M. walks into the wilderness, apropos of any American foundation, gone off to find something. But not, says M., gone off to find myself: no interest. Leaves behind some less essential career of disappointment. If there has been a life energy missing from this place, declaims M. loudly to the assembled vegetation on the road out of town, it is because everyone here is too solipsistic. On the open road, singing a toad song, M., what is it you are after? Something like I find myself nutcracked. Something like the source of an original grief. I AM SO UNINTERESTED IN THE TENOR OF MY OWN MIND says M. to the vegetation. The vegetation just at that moment rethinks happiness. They choose to stay, not to say stay interested in M and well they should, that mind is not only interesting but profligate, cures itself of solipsism by multiplication, a trick of great opulence, of astonishment, verily. For now M. is moving outward, we move out, we do.
The founder, M., an American parable. I would like to find out if there is a natural weird, pronounces with great exaggeration to make clear would spell it weirdly too: w h e e u r d. Wheeurd. The weird is what the land itself like a fog or mist, is. 4 years in search of wheeurd, M. travels without a journal or a habit of letter writing. One day returns to a small village, generic, you understand, a regional type. Disgusting because I know it already. Disgusting and profaned place, this, of terrible boredom. Record of some public speeches, M. lands in disgrace for talking on corners and in drinking rooms about necessary violence, turning some long digested bit of speech. It's not even a sentence; it's just a complex noun. The idea of terrible energy, says M. The idea of terrible energy.
Montgomery, shown here, touring the devastation of the country after the bad war, of aggression, of secession, of cessation, of deadness, really just that. Four years without so much as a letter home, turning over a single phrase: the idea of terrible energy. Stands and says it on village green after village green, says it in the ears of unwilling listeners, the idea of terrible energy. And Montgomery, what comes of it? Meditates on it now with paper and books, in the library in New York City, a private library of a very dear friend (a friend with paper, this part is written). I want to know violent force. Yet am repulsed by violence turned onto others. Reads Alexander the Great. Reads John Cage. Reads histories of constraint. Reads future and past. My Montgomery is anachrony itself. Anna Chronicle.
I non responder. I pathetic. I disappointer and disappointed. I reeling. I cheap enthusiasm. I all the true elements of failure.
Montgomery, poisoned by disgust, can't figure out how terrible energy might coil, feed back, aggregate without needless aggression. Pause to recall Montgomery has just seen so much deadness in the great war of deadness, and of more deadness, Montgomery wants it not. And so leaves New York City and travels north, buys a plot of land and turns terrible energy inwards. And finally removes the traveling clothes of a man to reveal to God and self (for no one else is there who cares) what God and self already know viz, Montgomery is a woman. I was not called Montgomery from the beginning, she says, I say. I am or was not, but I like this name, and like the violence of taking it, I took it for my traveling but maybe I'll keep taking it, the full erasure of my foundation. This is the best history we have. Some repeatable fragment. We make a compass point, focus ourselves. We answer yes. The idea of terrible energy. I said then. I had a companion did I say? There was another, Marianne, a girl I had with me, and together we build something, we build a building. At the moment of its completion I die, naturally, like childbirth, I disappear into it. My girl takes my name too. Montgomery. And she and I am. Montgomery. The idea of terrible energy. Now with some land and a building. Founder's tale.