It is impossible for residents of New York to completely and honestly perceive it. Anyone who survives here has a fantasy life to explain and simplify the senseless swell of sensations that fill every corner of perception as you walk down the street. These are not narrative fantasies, but tiny fantasies about the rhythms of life. You might anticipate a walk down the street as a gauntlet walk, as the repetition of the motion of a small part of a complex machine, or as the flight of a hunted animal. Muzork shows how I survive a walk in the city.
When I first lived in New York, as a teenager in the late seventies, I was overwhelmed by the teeming life of humanity on this island. I imagined all the buildings had become transparent and that I could see a starfield of visible orgasms sparkling in the night. I imagined that what all these people were doing here was playing a great twenty-four mile long musical instrument.
I also had a crush on Maya Deren as a teenager, and ever since then I have thought dance and film went together very well. What better moving image of human origin is there than dance? As for musical instruments, they are far more than a crush; more a lifelong fetish.
Muzork plays across the surface of lower Manhattan as if it were a musical instrument playing a composition. We visit a spot repeatedly, but with variations. The dancerÕs body is like a hand on the musical instrument, finding its secrets, finding that it is not always the same.
The soundtrack for Muzork is made of fragments of music blending into one another. Without a musical soundtrack, there would not have been as much energy, but if the soundtrack were continuous, it would have dominated the music of the movement. So this approach attempts to provide the energy of music without imposing on the dance of the body and camera.
Then there is the matter of the morphs. I have had the rare pleasure of helping to develop a new media technology and the myth behind it. But I feel I am still in esthetic recovery from the Silicon Valley experience. The project of working out a meaning for the technologies we are obsessed with is vital, but it can only be undertaken by distancing ourselves from those technologies. Technology is seductive; it lures us into a universe under our control, but where our souls do not exist. One way I have found to come to terms with technology is to do creative work with examples of it that are just slightly out of date. This is actually the most severe way to avoid novelty. Older technologies acquire charm, and newer ones lend intoxication to material that would otherwise be of only passing interest. But the slightly old must stand on its own. Morphs have become a clichˇ, and are so readily available that children make them in schools. I always thought it would be lovely and liquidy to make a film without any cuts; only morphs. While there are perhaps too many morphs in Muzork as it is, they are relieved by a few cuts.
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