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Astronomer, 2013

In 2012 Juha Valkeapää proposed a collaboration around the idea of “Astronome.” It is loosely based on the unfinished collaboration between Antonin Artaud and Edgar Varèse, L’Astronome[i] (1932), which intended to portray the annihilation of the earth and communication with the star Sirius. Albeit never concluded, this project came to be a source for collaboration between Mike Patton, John Zorn and Ontological-Hysteric Theater of Richard Foreman as Astronome: A Night at the Opera in 2009[ii].

However, our attempt was not to compare ourselves with this project, but to use the libretto by Artaud as a starting point for our experiment. Astronomer: experiment was a metamodel of the astronomical, social and mental cosmologies of our times, but not only destructive as it was mainly so for Artaud. We asked in this piece, how reality is being composed, and how can we recompose, decompose or annihilate it through the powers of performance? In other words, how to find the ‘lines of flight’ through performance practice?


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Caden Manson is Editor In Chief and Curator of Contemporary Performance Network and co-founder and artistic director of Big Art Group, a New York City performance company founded in 1999.
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