Monday, January 11, 2010

attention, please

Quickly, I'm swinging on ropes across a great ravine, and your attention is the next rope.

Ah, thank you. Life-giving sunlight, your attention, strikes right in the solar plexus, spreads pleasure, propels me another slow, sure, enjoyable twenty feet.

Look, look at me! Hurry up. Thank you.

[I perform a small dance in the air, gyrations. Payment for your trouble.]

Your attention has disappeared. That's fine. I have its ghost. Your foot has come off the gas pedal but the fuel hasn't entirely stopped flowing. I'm still moving forward.


[(There's a trick involved, here, bystanders. You have to pick the right moment to launch your bid for attention. Do it too soon and you're wasting perfectly good fuel. This is assuming some ecological model in which fuel is exhaustible and can be wasted, but you should assume that. If you don't, and you're wrong, you may not make it all the way across to your death. You may run out of fuel and die before your death.

The cartoon character has just raced off a cliff into mid-air, come to a stop and realized its dilemma. We are in the micro-vicinity of the moment to strike. You have between now and your blinking take to the watching audience (the other watching audience, the one that doesn't matter) to launch your bid. If you wait until "reality"/"gravity" kicks in and your limbs just barely begin to flail, your performance will have a whiff of desperation about it. This isn't immediately fatal, it's just foolish. You have a long way to travel across to your death. If you are to hold the desired audience's attention, your performances must inspire trust. Your performances should be assured, seemingly careless, professional without showing it. Your technique must be firmly in place. Then you can allow real life to come into your performances! And you should, you must. You have a long way to travel across to your death. These performances should be worthwhile, should nourish your audience with something real. Your audience is also in mid-air, is quietly struggling, has a long way to travel across to their death. If you are always yelping for attention and then holding up an empty box, your audience will begin to ignore your pleas, however tuneful your yelp, however shapely your box. The trick is to inspire loyalty, lifelong loyalty, create a valuable symbiosis. You and your audience should have a real exchange at each of these desperate crossroads.)]

[(However, you both have a long way to travel across to your deaths so you should occasionally also just have fun. For every four times your bid for life-giving attention involves the removal of your skin and bones and the revealing of your pulsating internal organs, there should be at least one bid that's just flashing some skin or telling a joke or popping and locking for a second. Feel free to adjust that ratio, if you're confident. Play it by ear, if you have a good ear. Don't fuck with it, otherwise - lives are on the line. When in doubt, 4:1.)]



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