‘you burn me: a legend’ follows the journey of a poem and a phrase of movement through the archetypal stages of the Hero’s Journey. A singular figure navigates the fragmented trail of Sappho’s poem 105a, embodying the seemingly straightforward act of translating language. Sappho’s poems exist in burned fragments, dug up and discovered in archaeological rubble. These scraps have been translated over and over, the legend of Sappho as a poetess and person growing more mythical and fantastical with each iteration. ‘you burn me: a legend’ is a parallel exploration in movement and text of that which refuses to be destroyed, and a study of how humans create sense of disparate elements. This work unfolds in five stages, each characterized by the physical, emotional, and psychological states of a journey: stasis, alienation, threshold, crisis, and return. Along the way one questions ‘what is lost in translation? What is found and assumed? What is the gap? What is a legend?’
TAROT I created tarot cards as a scoring mechanism. As I researched movement for each chapter of ‘you burn me: a legend,’ I found myself returning to the tarot cards as a catalyst for ideas. I appreciate how these cards mirror my relationship to movement. They are both image and text based, stand alone as symbols and entire stories when grouped together much like gestures or phrases of movement. They morph according to context – sometimes striking with deep meaning, and often offering nothing.
ZINE ‘i can’t find this word’ is a visual and textual representation of my forays into Google Translate. As I traced the origins of Fragment 105a from ancient Greek to Anne Carson’s complete translation, I found a myriad of discrepancies in definitions ripe with opportunity for assumption and the imagination. I googled all the possible meanings for each word in the original Greek fragment. I cut these definitions up and created my own poem. It’s about seven times longer than the Greek fragment and Carson’s translation.
OBJECT These flowers were given to me by my childhood friend. She always brings me something when she comes to see my performances. I like to see how long I can keep the congratulatory relics before they decompose. I joined the flowers with a red string and attached some words from a magnetic poetry packet. This reminded me of how I used to create little fragments from a similar magnetic poetry set. I would leave them in obscure places in my house for my parents to find.
Anne Carson, Sappho Fragment 105a, Lawrence Halprin, Bertolt Brecht, Alain Robber Last Year at Marienbad, Joseph Campbell The Hero’s Journey, Yorgos Lanthimos Dogtooth, Clarissa Pinkola Estés Women Who Run with the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype, The Mount, Google Translate, The Swan Camille Saint- Saëns, Lucy Yao, Brian Eno Oblique Strategies.