The End

The Vis-a-Vis Society teamed up with Britta Johnson and drove out to the desert last summer to shoot some Spaghetti Western, Sergio-Leone-esque choreography experiments, when the forest fires leaped over I-90, forcing us to re-route to Umtanum. We drove and drove, topped off the hot engine’s oil, until we found this remote site, strewn with bullet casings and shattered glass, just like T.S. Eliot described it in “The Wasteland,”

where the sun beats,
And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,
And the dry stone no sound of water. Only
There is shadow under this red rock,
(Come in under the shadow of this red rock),
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
After discovering 1,000 ways to end, and recording the results in Dr. Owning’s dad’s home laboratory, Ms. Johnson edited an incredible 23-minute video piece of this investigation. It premiered at the final installation of NEPO 5K “Don’t Run” in our “Registration” piece. This instructional video demonstrated ways to end as participants registered by selecting a race bib printed with an ending phrase.

 

Read more about our installation and creation process here.

Burning Questions for Burning Bushes

An oldie, but a goodie. Back in August 2013, Vis-a-Vis Society installed this question/answer machine at Smoke Farm’s Lo-Fi Festival. Photos by Britta Johnson. Some of the resulting poems appear in Alaska Quarterly Review, Fall/Winter 2014, Vol 31, No 3 & 4, which were declared “funny” by The New York Review of Books.

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Dr. Ink and Dr. Owning donned ghillie suits and proceeded to engage in dancing rituals in order to answer participants’ burning questions.

First, a participant inserts a question in the mailbox:

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Then, after some processing through landscape ritual and song, one burning bush selects a question at random to dance, while the other bush records her interpretation, (without seeing the written question).

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Burning Bush dances a Burning Question, participants study results in background

 

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Then Q&A poems are hung out to dry

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Vis-a-Vis Society’s NEW video poem an homage to Spaghetti Westerns and Sergio Leone

You can watch an excerpt of “The End” here.IMG_8670.jpg

The Vis-a-Vis Society teamed up with Britta Johnson and drove out to the desert last summer to shoot some Spaghetti Western, Sergio-Leone-esque choreography experiments, when the forest fires leaped over I-90, forcing us to re-route to Umtanum. We drove and drove, topped off the hot engine’s oil, until we found this remote site, strewn with bullet casings and shattered glass, just like T.S. Eliot described it in “The Wasteland,”

where the sun beats,
And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,
And the dry stone no sound of water. Only
There is shadow under this red rock,
(Come in under the shadow of this red rock),
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
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Dr. Ink, in the late stages of pregnancy, and Dr. Owning chomping on a cigar for the first time, donned their labcoats and white pumps, strapped on holsters and vintage Buck Rogers laser guns (thanks to the extraordinary Webster Crowell), and proceeded to conduct a series of movements testing theories on how to end.
IMG_8694.jpgAfter discovering 1,000 ways to end, and recording the results in Dr. Owning’s dad’s home laboratory, Ms. Johnson edited an incredible 23-minute video piece of this investigation. It premiered at the final installation of NEPO 5K “Don’t Run” in our “Registration” piece. This instructional video demonstrated ways to end as participants registered by selecting a race bib printed with an ending phrase. Photos below by Megumi Shawna Arai and Makenzie Stone.
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You can watch an excerpt of “The End” .
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Watch an excerpt of “The End” here.
We loved watching found poems form throughout the 5 kilometer art walk.
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This young art walker loved the part where we fell down

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Video Poem “O, GO”

Vis-a-Vis Society’s “O, GO” instructional video on how to begin again. Part of their “Registration” installation at NEPO 5K Don’t Run in Seattle WA September 6, 2014. Cinematography by Ben Kasulke.

https://vimeo.com/105524937

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(photo credit: Rebecca Hoogs)