Malte’s Masks

“We discover, indeed, that we do not know our part, we look for a mirror, we want to rub off the make-up and remove the counterfeit and be real. But somewhere a bit of mummery still sticks to us that we forget. A trace of exaggeration remains in our eyebrows, we do not notice that the corners of our lips are twisted. And thus we go about, a laughing-stock, a mere half-thing: neither existing, nor actors.”
Rainer Maria Rilke, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge

Photo credit: Hunter Canning.
Photo credit: Hunter Canning.

A man, desperate to make a genuine connection, tries to share some of his favorite book, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge, but he cannot seem to stop performing. His event becomes a series of fits and stops that mirror the journey of the book. Using a web that begins with Rilke and stretches out through Kundera, Baudelaire, M.D. Norton, and more, he attempts to navigate the dangerous frontier between citation and honest articulation.

Video/Projection Design: David J. Palmer
Sound Composition: Howie Kenty
Mask Design: Niizeki Hiromi

Presented by Dixon Place, September 25th, 2015

This performance followed a photography series with Allison Brzezinski at Ringwood Manor, the country estate of robber baron Abram Hewitt (of Cooper and Hewitt) in Ringwood, NJ. These photographs and recorded elements from Malte’s Masks were later reimagined as a performance installation, Hours of Childhood.

Photo credit: Allison Brzezinski