Experimental Dance Scores
Back in the late 1970s and early 1980s I was paying attention to people like John Cage (Composition for Prepared Piano), Maurice Cunningham, Philip Glass, Steve Reich, Terry Riley ( Rainbow in Curved Air), Fluxus, etc.. I became friends with the composer James Brody who took an interest in my ideas about visual musicality or at least in attempting to guide me along. Brody lived in San Antonio at that time and owned that I guess was the first organic foods coop in San Antonio. Most of what I know about appreciating music I learned from him in one night. He had an amazing record collection – a whole wall of shelving floor to ceiling filled with records. He pulled out a succession of albums to play examples from to show me a conceptual trail of what to listen for. He started with Bach and went forward.
Given enough time and exposure I may have pursued composing but that seemed to me to be a well-connected rich man’s game and I certainly was not rich nor well connected. I calculated that it would be a life of poverty for someone like me so I stuck to the visual arts which is a hard enough trail but at least the visual arts do not require anyone’s approval for the realization of one’s work like a composer in those days needed. I wanted to be a creator who could build his oeuvre and each individual thing has its own potential value as a commodity.
James Brody (1941- 2010) studied composition at Indiana University with Iannis Xenakis and Franz Kamin. Brody wrote the liner notes for the original Nonesuch LP of Iannis Xenakis – Electroacoustic Music.
Brody was my Sufi teacher and I moved from Fort Worth Texas with my wife of that time and step daughter in order to be close to Brody, study with him and spend time with him.
We stayed in touch over the years and were planning on a collaboration in Espanola, New Mexico where he lived before his death in a car accident with his teacher Franz Kamin in 2010 .
All of this is to say that in my youth, when the drawings below were made, I was aware of the kind of experimental work happening around me. Most of it was from my elders who I suppose were the next generation ahead of me – the artists that were 15 to 20 years older, those born roughly during the war years. Since it was pre-internet it was not that easy to be aware of everyone in a contemporaneous way, there was always a lag between the making of things and the awareness of things being made.
I have been recently compiling and digitizing for the first time my early works and have been separating out those works related to musicality which is the subject of this whole website. This group of works from my early sketchbooks seem to me to be particularly interesting as scores for dancers.
Paul Klee said: “A line is a dot that went for a walk.”
But maybe we should say in this case: “A line is a dot that went dancing, possibly with a lot of other dancers.”
Watch for a book of Dance Scores in the future!
Musicality of the Eye Catalogs
“Musicality of the Eye Volume 1 Sketchbook and Works on Paper 1977-1984” This first book in the series of works related to musicality is in prepublication. The first draft is complete and I am just cleaning up the little issues so it is about ready to release.
‘I am collecting together for the first time all of the sketches, drawings and paintings that I still have available to me into a single document so that, for my own purposes, I can take in what I have done along this particular trajectory in order that I might continue forward with this work. I will be looking at how my ideas related to visual musicality have changed over the course of time, which artists have influenced my thought process on the topic and then go through the work as thoroughly as I can and continue my research with the advantage of digital technology and the internet. This ability to toss together a book manuscript with images and notes and pull in materials by other artists is very exciting for me and I look forward to seeing what I can do with this idea and find out how useful it is for my purposes.’