After Many a Summer Dies the Swan: Hybrid

Yvonne Rainer

2002 | 00:31:00 | United States | English | Color | Stereo | 4:3 | Video

Collection: Single Titles

Tags: Dance, Literature

Yvonne Rainer combines a dance performance she choreographed for Mikhail Barryshnikov’s White Oak Dance Project in 2000 with texts by Oscar Kokoschka, Adolf Loos, Arnold Schoenberg, and Ludwig Wittgenstein—four of the most radical innovators in painting, architecture, music, and philosophy to emerge from fin-de-siècle Vienna.

The dance contains, along with a variety of movement configurations, spoken lines derived from famous and unknown people’s deathbed utterances. Charles Atlas and Natsuko Inue videotaped the rehearsals of the dance. The idea for integrating some of this footage with the Vienna material came partly from the title, which both elegaically and ironically invokes a passage through time and the end of a way of life, or, more to the point, aristocratic life. Thus the passage of Baryshnikov himself is also implicated—from danseur noble roles in classical ballet to his current interests in postmodern dance.

“Beyond the resonance of the title, however, the 21st Century dance footage (itself containing 40-year-old instances of my 20th Century choreography) can be read multifariously—and paradoxically—as both the beneficiary of a cultural and economic elite and as an extension of an avant-garde tradition that revels in attacking that elite and its illusions of order and permanency. Or, finally, each dance image can be taken simply as a graphic or mimetic correlation with its simultaneous text. Some may say the avant-garde has long been over. Be that as it may, the idea of it continues to inspire and motivate many of us with its inducement—in the words of playwright/director Richard Foreman—to ‘resist the present.'"

—Yvonne Rainer 

This title is also available on A Woman Who...: Selected Works of Yvonne Rainer.

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Exhibitions + Festivals

Musee De La Danse, Rennes, France, 2015

Musee Du Louvre, Paris, France, 2015

Stream Single Title

Title Awards Image Major Exhibitions/Festivals Description
Sea in the Blood

Equal First Prize for Best Male Short, Inside Out, Toronto Lesbian and Gay Film Festival

Sea in the Blood

OutFest (LA, CA.), 2001

Rotterdam International Film Festival (The Netherlands), 2001

 

Athens Int'l Film/Video Festival (OH), 2001

 

 

Sea In The Blood is a personal documentary about living with illness, tracing the relationship of the artist to thalassemia in his sister Nan, and AIDS in his partner Tim. At the core of the piece are two trips. The first is in 1962, when Richard went from Trinidad to England with Nan to see a famous hematologist interested in her unusual case. The second is in 1977 when Richard and Tim made the counterculture pilgrimage from Europe to Asia. The relationship with Tim blossomed, but Nan died before their return. The narrative of love and loss is set against a background of colonialism in the Caribbean and the reverberations of migration and political change.

"Sea in the Blood was to be a meditation on race, sexuality and disease, but after working with the material for three years, it was the emotional story that came through. It's hard to work with such personal material, but in the end the work takes on a life of its own. 'Richard' is a character. Because of the subject matter — disease and death — I wanted to avoid sentimentality. I'd like the audience to think as well as feel."

— Richard Fung