“The Philosopher Is Present #1: Questions In The Darkness” was a live performance held at the LungA School in Iceland on Wednesday, November 15, 2017.
“The Philosopher Is Present” is a performance intending to evoke mystery. Silence gestures toward ineffable presence while two strangers’ voices speaking into each other’s inclined ears suggests reverence. In this performance, durational art is woven together with the Socratic question and the Zen sense of mystery. The philosopher is present, though physically absent. The guests are present with one another.
How is this to be?
The philosopher is seated on the ground in one place; he is heard via Zoom. In Seyðisfjörður, Iceland, is a circle of guests. The first guest approaches the philosopher, sits down in front of the screen. She is blindfolded. She says, “I’m here.” They have never met before and know nothing about each other.
They begin in silence, and out of the silence there comes a question. The guest says what she believes to be true, her answer as concise as possible. She cannot ask him any questions. Neither knows what the other will say or what will occur. Time falls away, and could a glimpse of the mystery of existence be disclosed to them? The guest opens her eyes and leaves, and, moments later, another comes and sits down in front of the screen.
He is blindfolded. He says, “I’m here.” They have never met before and know nothing about each other. They begin in silence, and out of the silence there comes a question…
Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA
Act I: Death
1a. Mother’s Eyes
1b. Mother’s Eyes
Act II: Love Lost
2a. When the Rain Came Down
2b. When the Rain Came Down
Act III: The End
3a. Is That All?
3b. Is That All?
Act IV: The Great Mystery
4. I Am What I Seek
Special thanks to: Jonatan Spejlborg and Lasse Høgenhof for inviting me to try PIP at LungA; to Daniel Kazandjian and Peter Limberg for letting me experiment with an earlier version of PIP at Stoicism Toronto; to Mattias Blomberg for sound editing; to Ivan Bilicki for bringing to my attention Peggy Lee’s “Is That All There Is?”; and to my wife Alexandra Dawn Taggart who helped me to prepare.
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