September 8th, 2008 | by MATTHEW KORFHAGE News | Posted In: CLEAN UP

TBA DIARY: TBA Opening Night, Anna Halprin, Blank Placard Happening

     
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[youtube Ak2XoklK0kg] Video by PICA.

Thursday, 8:30 pm, somewhere in the Pearl: The guy with the megaphone (Sean Carney) was giving everyone instructions about how not to get hit by traffic; many people, apparently, don't know how to do this. Everyone was dressed mostly in white, as instructed, though not entirely—white pants haven't been a Portland staple for quite some time now. Also, some people's shirts, we thought, were a little too dirty to be called white.

The crowd was gathered to recreate choreographer Anna Halprin's 1968 Blank Placard Happening, a blank "protest" with blank white shirts and blank white signs, a mostly silent march for and against the void. While the choreography's a little loose--mostly, you just walk--the piece resonates mostly with people who've seen a real protest before: the kind with ragtag yelling and violent opinion, the initial peaceful call-repeat sloganeering that breaks down into inevitable catcalls, maybe broken things and broken arms, maybe some eventual tear-gassing from the guys in the jackboots. This was more the ghost of a protest in ghostly procession, collective will or collective struggle made instead into collective memory.
"What is this for?" asked an older woman in a car, at a stoplight.
"It's a protest against nothing," said one of the marchers.
"But what does that mean?" the driver said, angry now. "What does that even mean?"
This lady's obviously not up on her Heidegger. The nothing nothings, lady. That's what it does.

Read more diaries from the 2008 TBA Festival here.
 
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