Once There Was

Art is strange. Wonderful. Tragic. Beautiful. But strange. Much like this performance of Nina McNeely’s contemporary dance piece “Once There Was III”.

The seven-minute piece is… well, what is it? Babylonian myth reset in the modern age? Cyberpunk? McNeely gives a few minutes of explanation after but is that what the piece is?

Certainly McNeely talks about roots and intents, but surely it was or was not art before the audience heard that.

I’d read most of Lovecraft’s work more than once before I heard that he was a racist and the Deep Ones were actually the threat of interbreeding between white and non-white humans. Turning my skills in literary criticism on the stories, I can see how they could be that and based on my knowledge of Lovecraft’s life and stated beliefs could easily believe that he intended them to be that or his conception of them was unconsciously shaped by a fear of that… but are they that?

If the stories I see watching kabuki without speaking Japanese are beautiful are they any less an experience of art than that of someone who is fluent in Japanese and knows the underlying story well?

Art is strange. But if this hypersigil worked, then the past has been changed so that the Babylonian God-Machine never emerged from random interactions.

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