Eternally, Endlessly – A Curatorial Statement by Norman Armour
January 28, 2016
Life as a loop. Again, again, again, again, again, again.
The never-ending pain. No resolution. Old scars. Pick, pick, pick. A Lucinda Williams song on repeat. Beckett on 11RPM; if he had been a true, soppy, teary-eyed romantic.
Sentiment filled right to the brim. Sickly sweet, and sickly sour.
Two NYC actors in a knock out, rock ‘em, sock ‘em fight to the bitter everlasting end. Old style!
Limbo to Purgatory to Torment to Anguish to Despair to Suffering. Mutually Limboistic Tyranny.
My f#*king god, do we have to do this one more time. All said, and nothing understood. Are we not connecting? Are we not listening? Do you hate me? Do you love me? Do you despise me in equal measure to the love you wrenched from me? Why do I think I know you? Why do you think you know me? Why do we think this will not end badly? Of course we know it can be no other way. Layer upon layer. No clearing. The farthest one could travel from a state of bliss. A clean slate — hah! Impossible. The “eternal return.” Freud had something to say about this, didn’t he? Ahhhhhhhh — how the f#*k would he know? Man this hurts. It just hurts. And I can (we?) see no way out, no way out beyond these shores. We are here… stuck in the mud. We are lost. Actors, acting, though stilled, in a Munch tableau, imagining each other as the viewer, and as the painter simultaneously. We are on the outer edges of a spinning carousel, barely able to hold on. Or in the centre; centrifugal, emotional ennui. No matter. Round and round and round it (we) go.
Eternal is airtight. Like Beckett; like Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar; like Peter Handke’s anti-play Self-Accusation, like … F#*k it: it’s like life. Sometimes, anyways. Anyways, sometimes.
In the theology of the Catholic Church, Limbo (Latin limbus, edge of boundary, referring to the “edge” of Hell) is a speculative idea about the afterlife condition of those who die in original sin without being assigned to the Hell of the Damned.
Daniel Fish has conceived and executed a perfect gem. Nothing should, or could be changed, or altered. To do so, would seriously upset this fragile, fragile framing of human anguish that is compacted and compressed into a finely crafted and tuned revelatory work of art. Part film. Part performance. Part test.
Lie detector: an instrument for determining whether a person is telling the truth by testing for physiological changes considered to be associated with lying.
Eternal is an instrument. Eternal is an instrument of endless sorrow, of endless yearning, of endless hope, of endless fatalism, of endless disappointment, of endless “love.”
Eternal is one of the finest and most despairing works of art I have ever experienced.
Artistic & Executive Director
Experience Eternal by Daniel Fish February 2–6, 2016, at The Western Front. Book tickets on your PuSh Pass, Youth Passport or as single tickets online.