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Taiwan Festival: Riverbed Theatre - taking it down and putting it up Tickets

The Coronet TheatreLondon
A poetic look at the art of construction and deconstruction

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Riverbed Theatre’s brand new piece taking it down and putting it up is a poetic meditation on the work of Marcel Duchamp, the acts of construction and deconstruction, and the hereness of the present moment.

In a 1987 interview, John Cage discussed the room-size installation Marcel Duchamp had secretly spent twenty years assembling in his New York studio from 1946-1966, Étant donnés. Instead of focusing on the evocative imagery of Duchamp’s surreal installation, Cage emphasized the book-length instruction manual Duchamp prepared for workers that detailed the proper way to dismantle and reassemble the installation: the unscrewing of wall boards, rolling up of canvases, the wrapping of objects, etc. (and then the sequential order for putting it all back together again). Duchamp prepared the manual to serve a specific pragmatic function, but Cage was interested in its esoteric by product, the unintentional “musicality” of the dismantling and re-construction process. By focusing on the sounds produced by the workers as they followed the instructions, Cage invited us to consider the manual as a musical score, to stop and take note of the music of everyday life.

Although we do not follow an instruction manual, our lives are also filled with the inevitable process of taking things down and putting them back up (relationships, businesses, dreams…). We are so familiar with this routine of beginnings and endings that we lose sight of the moment in between, this moment, today.