Writing About William Forsythe’s Alignigung

One of my subjects this trimester is “Reviewing the Arts”.

We’ve writing exercises during our tutorials.
This one involved writing as much as we could within an allotted time (fifteen minutes) based on a choice out of four pieces of art, as well as a choice of a few different styles.

I chose Alignigung. Not sure why, but I’m glad I did.
I did start slightly early, but I still got a fair bit written (I think).

Aside from spelling mistakes, the below is unedited.

I hope you enjoy.

All is still. There are two people wrapped into each other. Not around, but into. Their forms are distinct, but they form a greater body. It is more than the sum of its parts. Still, they remain distinct from each other. Perhaps this is meant to represent some sort of skewed form of Yin and Yang. Perhaps it is an honest representation.

Are they looking to show some sort of idea of us all being together, despite trying to set up ideas that separate us?

The camera pans around, then the scene changes. Still linked, but in different positions. As the camera pans away, it seems as though the two gentlemen are slowly unfurling away from each other. Limbs are separating and it appears as though they are waking up. Conversely, there is a sense of stillness within the two people.

The camera pans around, the scene suddenly changes once more. There is much that we don’t need to see. The forms are, again, once more changed. More separate this time. One of the gentlemen looks less human. He is distinctly human, but he does not look human. It is like seeing a warped sculpture of sorts.

A gentler shift this time around. Another different more. More untangling and more unfurling. It seems that with each shift there is more movement.

Scenes are shifting faster, but there are more fades now.

It is difficult to tell as to what I am feeling. There is definitely a togetherness in this performance. There is a form of beauty and grace, even if it is not necessarily in the flow of movement. There is also an “otherworldliness” to what is happening.

Again, these are people. That much is clear. There is definitely a humanity to his. However, in another way it is uncomfortable. Not in the sense of the uncanny valley, but… it is difficult to describe. I am seeing what is essentially human, but at the same time it seems to be of the idea of human.

Limbs mover over and around each other and whilst there is a separation, both people still remain firmly attached to each other. They move slowly and deliberately, almost in the same way some organisms of the abyssal layers of the ocean move.

The camera keeps on moving around, pulling away and getting close again. The area in which these two people exist is white, but it is not a void. As the camera moves, you get a sense of isolation for this. Better a uniformly-coloured / toned region than one that is full of detail. The performance sees the focus and any experience attached to what is going on can be better felt.

In parts it seems more that the footage is slowed down, perhaps to give an idea of the form and shift in form. The bodies are always bodies. That doesn’t change. What does change is the forms that they are expressing. The shape is the focus, and in that shape is interpretation.

Even though there is a sense of discomfort, or unnervingnes, there is a sense of calm and appreciation.

The performance is the focus and it expresses without being verbose in its action.
There is a sense of drama, but it’s subtle drama.

Probably the best thing about this is how much it’s open to interpretation. After all, a work of art is for generating interpretation and so this is something that this group has proverbially nailed on the metaphorical head.

About Stupidity Hole

I'm some guy that does stuff. Hoping to one day fill the internet with enough insane ramblings to impress a cannibal rat ship. I do more than I probably should. I have a page called MS Paint Masterpieces that you may be interested in checking out. I also co-run Culture Eater, an online zine for covering the arts among other things. We're on Patreon!
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