AWAKE: A Video Installation/Performance By John Duckworth

August 22, 2013
CHARLESTON, SC – September 7, 2013
Date: September 7, 2013

Performance times: 8:00pm, 8:30pm, 9pm, 9:30 pm with a Q&A with the artist between showings Location: Threshold Repertory Theatre

84 1/2 Society St., Charleston, SC 29401

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In the wake of the success of Enough Pie’s event at 1600 Meeting in July, John Duckworth is bringing his performance/video installation AWAKE to Threshold Repertory Theatre for a one night only event that will include four showings of the interactive art piece with a question and answer session with the artist between each performance.

AWAKE made its debut in the raw space of the 1600 Meeting building, utilizing the space both on and off screen. Now AWAKE will be presented in the more intimate, theatrical setting while providing viewers with a different experience and a newly finished version of the piece.

AWAKE is an 11 minute 30 second video installation which channels the bombardment of mass visual stimuli we receive in our daily lives through meditation as it evokes viewers to transcend the ordinary state-of-mind and embrace the present moment. John Duckworth encourages viewers to “Wake up. Be here now. Try to live more and enlist this quality. You and all those around you will be better for it.” Duckworth instills this practice in the video as he does in his personal life in the form of daily meditation by sitting still as a witness and observing the functioning mind. Employing this practice shines a light on habitual thoughts, patterns, and perceptions and ultimately informs daily decisions and choices, leading to new awareness and perception. This practice, like water over stone, gradually smooths out the erratic behavior of the mind and our unconscious reactions and can assist in seeing the world and reality for what it is: impermanent, and ceaselessly changing.

The video is composed of a collection of ambient sounds, and small one second video clips. The constant audio pattern, containing binaural beats known as Hemispheric Synchronization or brainwave synchronization, is played by musician Lee Barbour on guitar. The visuals in the video contain images captured in Garrison and New York City, Charleston and Johns Island, South Carolina. The sound clips consist of farm chickens, cicadas, frogs, chattering birds, rain and thunder on Johns Island, Manhattan streets and subways, Grand Central Station, Frieze Art Fair, children playing, a chainsaw, a waterfall, leaves crunching underfoot, a polo game and conversation in France, Tim DeChristopher talking about civil disobedience, and Duckworth’s own breath and chanting.

All of these parts have been stitched together in a web of sound and moving pictures to illustrate the “monkey mind”, a Buddhist term meaning unsettled, restless, capricious, whimsical, fanciful, inconstant, confused, indecisive, uncontrollable. Duckworth, seen meditating at the beginning of the video, is illustrating that the point is not to eliminate this endless chatter, but to find calm and balance amongst it. Duckworth states, “Like clouds passing overhead, all things come and go, arise and fall.” The video progresses with a fluctuated energy, whilst maintaining a line of continuity through its multifarious audio and visual elements. AWAKE traces the narrative of the hero’s journey, referencing Joseph Campbell’s “Hero with a Thousand Faces” as it follows eight chapters: Everyday life, Call to Adventure, Departure, Crossing the Threshold, Initiation, Transformation, Crossing of Return Threshold, and Share the Beauty.

Threshold Repertory Theatre describes itself as “an entrance; a doorway, gate, place of beginning; the brink, a cusp–an edge a threshold leading to a new experience”, thus it fittingly serves as the host venue for John Duckworth’s video installation/performance piece AWAKE.

Food and drink specials will be provided by Muse Restaurant & Wine Bar throughout the evening.