Slow Scenes: Performance Art...

Public schools last week, the Colleges this week.
Everyone, everything is back to business now.
Some riding fast, others very slow.
Road bikes and cruisers, fixes and mountain bikes passing to and fro.
Coming here, or taking there, always on the go.
(And with that, would you believe I used to dabble in prose.)
Probably not.




Is riding a bike a form of artistry? I guess that would depend on your definition of the term art, what it is, what it entails. I believe it is artistic. There is an artistry of form, of motion, the way the body moves can be graceful, or not. The way the body works in unison with the machine, a simple fluidity providing propulsion. Body language reveals surrounding conditions, adjustments in position reflecting change. Riding a bike is like an everyday example of performance art.

What brought me to this topic? As I passed through the Colleges there was some performance art taking place. I believe it was part of a commencement ceremony since there were numerous spectators wearing caps and gowns. The title of the performance may have been "Charts of Progress" (I am not sure of the 'Progress' part, it was definitely "Charts of [Something]". It took place along two intersecting axes at Pomona College, with very slow movements, concealing and revealing, performers following individual, sometimes in tandem, paths to the intersection. The people closest to me lay on the ground, covered in stones, while in the middle distance a man rolled and tumbled, and stretched, always slowly, sometimes deliberately, sometimes hesitantly, towards the crosspaths. In the distance (and behind me), others also moved forward slowly, disrobed, progressed, retreated, dressed again, and repeated. Then the music changed, the people buried by stones stirred, slowly dislodging the weight holding them still. They also then engaged in the process of retreat and advance, disrobe and dress, until all came together in the center. It was really quite mesmerizing, as my mind played out various scenarios of what it all meant.






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