Art does not seek to describe but to enact. —Charles Olson

Festival VI

June 30–July 9, 2009

+ Ellen Burr + Juan Cristóbal Cerrillo + Carolyn Chen + Adrian Coburn + David Coll + Andrew Dieck +
+ Jason Federmeyer + Evelyn Ficarra + Heather Gordon + Orin Hildestad + Nick Hoff + Maia Ipp +
+ Saralyse Kissler + Tania Lanfer + Michelle Lou + Sarah Miles + Michael Newton + Tom Ontiveros +
+ Stacey Pelinka + J.H. Prynne + Bruno Ruviaro + Paola Santoscoy + Marcia Scott + Erik Ulman + Ian Winters +

Here, belatedly, is the summary of Poto Festival VI.  As always much is not included here, such as a description of the excellent meals, prepared mostly by Michelle and Orin, or of the many conversations, visits to the creek, and impromptu music-making that enlivened the afternoons and evenings.  Given the large number of participants, we deliberately left more time open and unscheduled; so this record will look more skeletal than was the experience.  I apologize for any inadvertent errors or omissions; my records are incomplete, and I’ve filled in some gaps with possibly faulty memory.

Tuesday (June 30)
People began to arrive.

Wednesday (July 1)
Bruno shared several recent pieces, for acoustic and electronic media, and his further thoughts on appropriation and détournement, which would prove a recurrent word in this festival.  Stacey then performed music by Bach and Sciarrino, following this with “Pearls & Eyes,” an Awareness Through Movement lesson of Moshe Feldenkrais, the relevance of whose research to performance she also discussed.  (Throughout her stay, Stacey volunteered numerous Functional Integration lessons to grateful Poto participants.)  In the evening, David showed a video of the Paris premiere of his multimedia work 1968, discussing not least its relation to Isou and Debord.

Thursday (July 2)
Carolyn presented some of her recent work, including a recording of her percussion sextet Hamlet.  Then Nick presented related poems by Pindar, Hölderlin, and Celan, demonstrating their continuities and use of the sublime tone and discussing issues of translation.  After lunch, Tania discussed her development as a composer, focussing on her duo for saxophone and percussion, Lai de Bisclavret.  In the evening, Ellen presented a video of her opera FIVE, in which Adrian had performed, and discussed her work as a flutist, improviser, and composer.

Friday (July 3)
Michael read his poetic sequence Crbn Cnty, in impressive regalia, interspersing this reflection on Carbon County, Pennsylvania, with relevant excerpts from Paterson and Maximus.  Then Juan Cristóbal presented first his thoughts on Octavio Paz and then his recent piece siempre otra cosa (estación violente).  After lunch Jeremy laid out several examples of scripts from China, including a lexicon of the pictographic language of the Naxi people.  Later, several people were introduced to the ropes courses of the Kissler Ranch by Adrian & Pam Kissler themselves.  In the evening, Paola showed us both René Daalder’s documentary on the Dutch conceptual artist Bas Jan Ader and examples of Ader’s own work.

Saturday (July 4)
Erik shared examples of his recent music, including a new recording of L’Extase de M. Poher, made live in Stuttgart in May.  Then Maia presented both some of her poems and her translation of a story by Marguerite Yourcenar, “How Wang Fo Was Saved.” After the traditional Fourth of July barbecue, succulently prepared by the Scotts, Ian and Evelyn presented an impressive multimedia installation at the barn on themes of water and submarines, accompanied by the headlights of traffic returning from local fireworks.  Then came the first-ever Poto dance party, with lighting by Jeremy, which was cut short only by a power outage.

Sunday (July 5)
This day began with two readings:  first from Andrew, offering recent work based on internet sources and anagrammatic procedures, and then from Jeremy, sharing his new sequence, Streak~~~Willing~~~Entourage Artesian. After dinner, as night fell, there was a performance in the meadow of Carolyn’s performance work The Confusion of the Stars, followed by an outdoor double feature, of Marcia’s silent short video Bolinas and Carl Dreyer’s Vampyr, which was enjoyed by those hardy enough to withstand the cold.

Monday (July 6)
Adrian performed by painting five works in charcoal, water, and lemon on brown paper.  Then, after clean-up, Jeremy read Pound’s Homage to Sextus Propertius.  In the afternoon, at her request, Heather’s “Come Down Winter” was read by Carolyn, her “Toward Writing” by Erik, and a selection of shorter poems were read by miscellaneous volunteers.  Heather then showed several short recent video works.  In the evening, Paola and Juan Cristóbal curated a selection of scientific films by Jean Painlevé.

Tuesday (July 7)
Jason presented the not-wholly-ideal recording of part of his fingerless, beneath a curtain and discussed the theoretical principles of his recent dissertation.  Then Paola presented video work by Melanie Smith, and discussed her impending collaboration with her and Rafael Ortega on a film of Edward James’ architectural folly at Xilitla in central Mexico.  In the evening, Orin presented a recital of contemplative violin music, including a work by Michelle.

Wednesday (July 8)
Paola and Juan Cristóbal relieved Michelle and Orin of their cooking duties, fixing us an authentic Mexican breakfast.  Then Michelle played her contribution to The Dialogue Experiment, a collaborative work written for Ensemble Ascolta.  Then, at the river, was a reading:  Nick read from Homer, in Greek; Erik responded with Stanley Lombardo’s translation of the extant fragments of Parmenides; Jeremy read Keats’ The Fall of Hyperion; and Andrew concluded with an excerpt from Heiner Müller.  In the evening came a concert:  Ellen played her virtuosic solo Syukhtun and joined Carolyn and Erik for a three-person reading of Cage’s Two; Juan Cristobal played the first movement of Schubert’s D. 960 piano sonata; and Adrian & Andrew joined the other four to interpret some of Ellen’s improvisational Ink Bops.

Throughout the week David had been preparing his interactive installation of sheet metal and electronics in the barn; and after the house concert, this was unveiled, coupled with video projections, shot during the day by Marcia, Heather, and Michael.  After this extravaganza, Carolyn’s The Confusion of the Stars was repeated; and then, at the house, was a reading of Gertrude Stein’s Accents in Alsace and a number of shorter pieces, which Jeremy capped with a recitation of part of Stevens’ “The Comedian as the Letter C.”

Thursday (July 9)
All who remained cleaned the premises and left.

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