Dance, dance - otherwise all is lost.
That is what Pina Bausch is quoted as saying and it's a quote that has helped me work in the studio through this election so far. Let's be totally up front; those words have helped me make it through most of my life.
Today, however, when I first woke at 3:30am to the despairing voice of my partner - "Oh, no. Oh, no. They're saying he won" - I asked myself a difficult question. It's a question that many artists have probably asked themselves in moments of private doubt or political madness: how does my work even begin to matter to a world like this? And then....What was Pina really saying? Now...How do I proceed?
And in answer I hear the words of Sol LeWitt writing to a struggling Eva Hesse, the sculptor. His letter is a diatribe against languishing, against giving up. Always worth a read in total, this excerpt resonates right now:
"..Make your own, your own world. If you have fear make it work for you - draw and paint [and dance] your fear and anxiety..."
The question of 'why' isn't even raised. As he says, there is no need to justify this even to ourselves. And 'how'? He distills that into one word.
This is not the time to cringe, wring our hands and say, "Oh, what can my - or anyone's - art possibly mean in the face of such madness?" It's time to unleash our own beautiful madness on this ever changing world, and let meanings fend for themselves. It's time to open ourselves completely, viscerally, in-your-face lovingly, to-the-bone honestly, tenderly and even ragefully. To leave a trace of wild wisdom, even if it goes undiscovered for ages.
This isn't about an election cycle. It's a life cycle, a universe. This is about now, all the nows that make up all time.
So lets grieve and bitch and fear in our work. Let's dance, dance and DO! Add our wise, wild traces to those of our inspirations who created through all those times in history that must have seemed impossible. Where would we be without them? Where might the world be without us?