Thoughts on stopping time


Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about stopping time. I had a surreal time-stopping experience performing at the Spiral Jetty earlier in September.  I wrote all six movements of Michael Pisaro’s Within 6 onto my arms, and slowly walked the entire spiral for 90 minutes, performing one note at a time.  Many people were out at the artwork that day, it was a UMFA sponsored Spiral Jetty meet-up.  Mostly, they walked right past it, and out onto the salt and to the edge of the lake.  Many stopped there.  Children climbed on the rocks.  There was a snake!  Only one little girl and I saw it – I just nodded at her that I saw it too, and don’t worry!!  Apparently my sound was so strange out there, bouncing off the nearby mountains.  Just quiet tones, slowly paced but insistent, and all the silence between them.  For me, it was a crucial day, both artistically and personally, and although I felt like my world might be falling apart, it didn’t, I slowed it down, I stopped it, looked at it, listened to it, enjoyed it all: the heat, the sun, the salt, the sounds and especially the presence of time moving.  Eventually Devin joined my performance with percussion works, first a Pauline Oliveros Sonic Meditiation, which quietly overlapped my tones from a distance, at that point I began a David Dunn piece PLACE, slowly walking the spiral in the other direction, unwinding myself, recording the sounds of the environment and my footsteps, and I joined Devin and quietly played the recording back, while he continued with Xenakis Rebonds for our now gathering audience.  Music is about stopping time.  I am always able to stop time when I play.  I know this now for certain.  Then we drove home and time started again, and it was a bizarre picking-up-the-pieces few months for one reason or another, but the pieces are back together!

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