Disposibolala, Instructions for Viewer, and Gene

Lisa S. Fagan, Bard College

Abstract/Artist's Statement

Disposibolala is looking for what we throw out. It’s about both the material waste we accumulate but also the other ways in which we waste; we waste time, energy, we waste important honest feelings by devaluing or stifling them. All the things we throw out, be they material or internal, accumulate, and this accumulation is concealed from us. We don’t want to see it. It is the remnants of our day, the parts we throw away because they’re excess or they’re not right. But these things are part of us (or they were), and we are quick to look in the other direction. Should we throw away anger jealously frustration and only keep happy pretty nice pleasant? To do so is to hide from ourselves the true depth of our humanity. Our unpleasant feelings, our ugly parts, these are hidden in the same way that our material waste piles up into an unrecognizable mountain. If we saw our own waste, if we really saw it, would we make as much? Would we recognize ourselves in it?

I wanted to visit these places in this performance. These five performers are braving the path that heads strait towards a less than pretty physical, emotional and spiritual wasteland. We want to see it because we need to remember that it is part of us and that we made it. We are striving towards honesty and trying to find the full picture of ourselves, instead of one that conceals parts we’re ashamed of and only reveals the acceptable. It’s not pretty (it smells bad sometimes) but it’s a path of honesty and exposure. In 6 sections including a short film, five people confront their own waste and allow themselves to look. They are trying to see it. And, as we learn how complex we really are, we are becoming more of ourselves.

Disposibolala exists in 6 sections or “acts” that are weaved together by a series of 6 short vignettes occurring in a vertical line coming at the audience. These vignettes expose different ways in which we waste and serve to illuminate the vigorously physical, technically challenging and abstract movement vocabulary. The piece presents striking visual elements that exude a strangeness that is true and human. The dance includes a film in which the performers exist outside the walls of the old gym. We see them in Dunkin Doughnuts, crawling up a dumpster, walking through a drive through, dancing in a hardware store. The film allows us to see the examination of this unfamiliar territory continuing in a more familiar setting; in places that the audience can recognize. Suddenly the people on stage have history, and futures, and they exist on in time and space after the show is over. They have broken through the walls and come back again when the film is over.

In this work I was striving for honesty and playing with images that resonate in my imagination. These images have movement inside of them; they’re buzzing all the time. In the written text I was pushing myself to make a brave and illuminating statement about my own experience of wastefulness and accumulation, and to truly give myself over both physically and verbally to the audience. I wanted this to be generous. The straightforwardness of the text allowed the more playful, abstract and bizarre imagery and movement that preceded it to resonate within a more personal statement. I believe that the piece mixed personal experience with imaginative creation, and both real life emotional content and fabricated, imaginative content equally contribute to the overall statement. The mixture results in a full bodied exploration of wastefulness, accumulation, and exposure.

Instructions for Viewer and Gene were both short pieces created for the fall senior dance performance, comprising the first portion of my senior project. Instructions for Viewer, a piece for 9 dancers, used the process of looking at written directions for things unrelated to dance and converting this instructional language into movement. It literally confronted the audience with directions to test performer/audience interaction as performance while asking a rather strange and specific action from the audience itself. Gene was a duet which pulled from experiences of my changing relationship with my sister and the movement vocabulary that stemmed from looking at two genetically related people.