The Cat’s Cradle

Posted on Oct 13, 2007


0000000264I came across this one night in the middle of the desert. If I hadn’t been drawn in by the visual stickiness of it all, then I would have been hypnotized into its trap by the strange audio reverberations surrounding it. People swung and fell, teetered and dropped as rope pulled loose, only to be caught in the next random tangle. Noise filled the space that seemed strangely derived from the chaotic movements of the delighted and mystified human flies that willingly wound themselves into the web. It was a droning din, a clanking and buzzing, a slow cacaphonous rumble that seemed to propell the madness within, even as it seemed to come forth from the heart of it. I was just as much a sucker for it as any cat for a ball of yarn. It was a dynamic and fantastic scene. It was pure genious. Had they imagined all this movement and drama beforehand? Had they forseen such silliness and danger ahead of time? It turns out, they probably had. The installation was created by Choreographer Tomi Paasonen, and the Kunst-Stoff Dance Company of San Francisco, as well as Mathew DeGumbia and John Tidby. 0000000258

Participants were invited to create the mess with rope that had been left lying around. And make a mess they did. Make music they did too, as it turns out. Metal bars and wrenches were tied to the large steel hands. People made a playful pots-and-pans racket which was picked up by sensors in the structures, and echoed back in waves of distortion, through inward pointing speakers situated just out of the circle of light. The sound came back darker, somehow industrial sounding, like you were in a dim factory where machinery noises echoed through mazes of pipes that reached above your head towards a ceiling so distant you couldn’t even see it. The whole thing was a loping, buzzing, frenzy of energy, a barely controlled chaos.

According to the makers:

“The yarn represents our path through life, our patterns, memory, and neurological network, as well as the consequences and interconnectedness of our own and other people’s actions.”

To view the rest of this photo series, visit Paasonen’s website

3 Comments

  1. And you just stumbled across this unintentionally? How fascinating!

  2. I guess I was just in the right place at the right time.

  3. In investigating further, I loved that the final act was to have it go up in flames. Intriguing photo of the hands and ball left… with a small pile of ashes between them.