"So, then, the duende is a force not a labour, a struggle not a thought. I heard an old maestro of the guitar say: ‘The duende is not in the throat: the duende surges up, inside, from the soles of the feet.’ Meaning, it’s not a question of skill, but of a style that’s truly alive: meaning, it’s in the veins: meaning, it’s of the most ancient culture of immediate creation." Federico Garcia Lorca, "Theory and Play of the Duende"
"I say in speeches that a plausible mission of artists is to make people appreciate being alive, at least a little bit. I am then asked if I know any artists who pulled that off. I reply, 'The Beatles did.'" Kurt Vonnegut, Timequake.
Y'know, we spend an awful lot of time and energy trying to explain why we art. The English language is falling short, I think.
In the early 1900s, Federico Garcia Lorca popularized for Spaniards a word for a profound artistic experience: duende. It's the universal sensation of interfacing with a work of art, ‘a mysterious force that everyone feels and no philosopher has explained.’ That moment when "art," whatever that is, tickles a human soul.
Duende also means magical dwarf. Which is important.
My performatic experiments have seen human forms blossoming out of sidewalk cracks, rock bands colliding with Deaf poets, sculptors and bboys and tap shoes and digeridoos and opera sharing form, space, and creative momentum. Successful performances – highly stylized or carefully naturalistic, dripping with pop or faithfully historical – must interrogate the audience’s appreciation for the experience and accountability of being human.
Facilitating cultural experiences is my contribution to social development, as much was my time as a case worker for people who are homeless or my research on primate dominance systems and feeding patterns. And always there is a little duende dwarf caged in my ribs, rattling and reminding me that she's there.
My vision: The pursuit and expansion of cultural vitality within a healthy and shared place. A place where souls nod an invisible gesture of appreciation towards one another.
A place with duende.
EDIT: In the fall of 2016 I moved to Toronto, where all of my ideas have been challenged, and new ideas seeded. I'm currently starting to learn how to think about a tidal wave of new things: economies, politics, isms, and this weird little dance between human activity and an increasingly swirling climate.