PANGAEAN DREAMS 1990 - Solo with live music and video projections. "Pangaean Dreams" is a sound/text/image paean to the Earth. The "dreams" of the title are like shamanic journeying back to the time, 250 million years ago, when the Earth was divided between a huge supercontinent, named Pangaea, and a circumscribing ocean, Panthalessa, which covered almost the entire surface of the planet. This was the Triassic period of the Cambrian era. Dinosaurs roamed throughout the great continent, and evolution was in low gear because of the homogeneity in climate and features. After about 65 million years, at the beginning of the Jurassic period (a mere second in geological time), Pangaea began to break up, as a result of tectonic action. The crustal plates under the continents moved the land masses and opened up the Atlantic Ocean. Our present day continents began to drift, travelling great distances, pivoting around their axes, colliding with other pieces of land, thrusting up mountain ranges, to finally create the geographic configuration we know today. Dinosaurs and mammals evolved rapidly, flowering plants appeared, great diversity and differentiation took place. We are still moving, and in another 250 million years, our continents will probably have formed a new supercontinent, a new Pangaea, and the process will start all over again.
Woven into the piece is the following message: since the motion of the plates is completely based on interrelationship (if one plate adjusts its motion, all must respond by adjusting theirs), and since plate tectonics had such a direct influence on evolution, on climate, on the life and development of the continents above, is it not conceivable that, in turn, plate tectonics might be influenced by what goes on on the surface of the planet? If this were true, our interference with and profound altering of the biosphere could affect the deeper layers of the Earth in equally nefarious ways. If tectonic activity ground to a halt, we would have effectively killed the planet, not only for our era, but for all eons to come.
Excerpt:: I stand, legs apart, centered in the clearing. Suddenly a shudder under my feet, a tug, becoming more accentuated, more specific. And as I look down, there, between my feet, the Earth begins to tear! At first it's small (imperceptible), a tiny trench with the whispered hiss of sand sifting in, as into the burrow of a small animal, now faster, deeper. Stones slide in, and then rocks. (Soon it will be boulders, thunder, echoes of mineral tonnage bouncing off the canyon walls...) I must choose. The right or the left - or I'll tumble into the chasm along with the bushes (now), then the trees...
A deep-throated rumble, a rushing of underground waters.
I leap to my right and land petrified on the West Rim of the Event, watching the event horizon of my catastrophe, panting and afraid to look down. The East Rim recedes.
The waters are rushing in now.
A torrent first, cutting the gorge to the quick.
I worry about what's left there, on the other side, I make inventories in my head:
family, animals, belongings...
And also a life structure, architecture of years gone by, of accumulated memories, moraines of habit, sediments of acts shaping character and history.
What have I taken with me onto the West Side?
Not much: anxiety, nostalgia, longing.....and an overnight bag.