State of Matter
Choreography Ihsan Rustem Northwest Dance Project, Portland. Dancers: Andrea Parson, Patrick Kilbane, Elijah Labay, Joni Tuttle, Lex Dones, Ching Ching Wong, Lindsey Matheis Music: Arnalds / Richter Text: Benjamin Wardell I discovered this poem 'The Clouds Inside" by Benjamin Wardell and became immediately fascinated by the comparison he had made between us and clouds. I began to read the poem over and found myself lost in his vision of the world above reflecting society and discovered that the more I read, the more detached I became from the situation; an observer seeing these words and worlds come to life but from the outside in, my mind creating what felt to be almost a memory. This poem was the stimulus and inspiration which structured all decisions in the creative process for 'State of Matter' - whilst not aiming to tell a story as such, I wanted to see us through the minds eye of one person, removed, on a journey dictated, like clouds, by the opposing forces in life often beyond our control. The Clouds Inside - benjamin wardell It seems to me that of everything in the world we are most like clouds; drifting condensations continually torn apart and reformed by the patterns of atmospheric wind. We are ephemeral collections of water and dust afloat in a world of immaterial forces that are greater and stronger than our substance. Our malleability alone preserves us through environments too insubstantial to uphold or sustain a solid being. What function does the vapor we call experience serve if not that of the air in my lungs or the wind blowing holes in the belly of a passing cloud? It is a thing both outside and in, inflating and compressing. It pushes us forward, pulls us down, lifts us up or holds us in place. Experience is the non-substance seen only in a swirl of the slight matter we call a body. An exhalation blowing streams in the fog that is our life. Our shapes are found in the minds of our observers, and through outside eyes we achieve and hold any imaginable form. But from within our shapes are indiscernible in their inconstancy and unable to find completion before a glancing breeze diverts their intent. We like clouds have a view of the world stretched out in all directions. And like clouds, we are blind to our own perspective. So engrossed in the intricacy of our smallest mutations that we do not see our shadow on the fields or the waters of our birth and death in the distances. When blown together, we find unity with each other. When pulled apart, we remain inside each other. When gathered in cities, we bring the grayness of an overcast day. When gathered in masses, we bring the foreboding danger of sudden, unavoidable, forcible change. The static of our relationships is the lightning of our interactions, and the gales of our conflict create the hailstones of malice, resentment and contempt. We are the apex of a cycle. A gathering of the evaporations of thought from the thick waters of possibility with the hope that our actions will rain upon the ground below and nourish the world around. Our beauty is inherent. It is found in our delicacy and the power that delicacy sustains. It is found in the promise of our whiteness toward the function of our darkness. We are entirely different when viewed from below than when viewed from above and most blinding and hazardous when viewed from within. And our glory is most strikingly overwhelming when ablaze with the setting sunlight of bonding, binding and pervasive love. But through all these points exists one large difference, in and from which come every small departure. While we can see much about the clouds in us, they cannot see any of us in themselves.