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Landscape

 

Landscape is the heart of the constellation of events and performances of The Quiet Circus. 

In it you are invited to “observe yourself observing” within the complex landscapes of the Washington Avenue Pier. Landscape consists of nine objects and five koan-like instructions for two people to engage in a simple activity whose experience reveals an unseen world both ordinary and luminous.

As more people play the Landscape game and share their experience, it is often pointed out that the “silence” of the game is a kind of silence exemplified by the absence of language. A particular kind of awareness can arise in a terrain that is both social in the sense of a shared experience and environmental in terms of scale and nature. Perceptions of the world and ourselves can be influenced by sensing the non-verbal experience of the person we are playing with. These thoughts were shared by an audience member who played the Landscape game with my mother, Carolyn Brick who is 79 years old and Deaf:

The comfort in the silence when I played with your mom was helpful in fully experiencing the piece. While the focus was on the landscape, playing the game with someone who is deaf brought up all kinds of thoughts about my own hearing, my own abilities, how I use them, how I fail to use them. It highlighted BOTH how much of your connection to space is through your hearing but also how much of it isn’t. I am certain that your mother’s connection is not any less than mine but wholly different with emphasis in different areas – light, feel, temperature, shape, color, maybe even a different kind of sound. Maybe I – in my own experience of space – should put more emphasis on one or more of those areas. It made me wonder what gets watered down in my perception of space. This is all IN ADDITION to my feelings about the landscape – my heightened awareness of it, my understanding of myself as part of it.

This contemplative activity began when I unearthed a number of ancient iron tractor tines on a silent, meditation retreat and began playing with ways to arrange them silently with friends. Landscape seems to have sustained the qualities present in the seedling tines that I found buried beneath a copse of trees by a stream in rural Pennsylvania over ten years ago.

Visit the Landscape Gallery to see photos and videos of people playing this game over 36 weeks.

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