Excerpt: Anne Bogart on Mythology

(From Artistic Director, Zach Davidson)

The other day, I was reading through Anne Bogart’s book, “A Director Prepares: Seven Essays on Art and Theatre” (Routledge, 2001). In the book, Ms. Bogart (who is Artistic Director of The SITI Company and Associate Professor at Columbia College) outlines seven major areas that she identifies as both potential partners and potential obstacles to art-making.

While the entire book is certainly worth a read, there’s an early passage that struck me as particularly relevant to Coin & Ghost — specifically, how and why we pursue mythology the way we do.

Without further ado, here is that passage in its entirety. The emphasis is mine.

My good friend the writer Charles L. Mee, Jr helped me to recognize the relationship between art and the way societies are structured. He suggested that, as societies develop, it is the artists who articulate the necessary myths that embody our experience of life and provide parameters for ethics and values. Every so often the inherited myths lose their value because they become too small and confined to contain the complexities of the ever-transforming and expanding societies. In that moment new myths are needed to encompass who we are becoming. These new constructs do not eliminate anything already in the mix; rather, they include fresh influences and engender new formations. The new mythologies always include ideas, cultures and people formerly excluded from the previous mythologies. So, deduces Mee, the history of art is the history of inclusion.

National and international cultures as well as artistic communities are currently undergoing gigantic shifts in mythology. Technological and corporate revolutions have already changed the way we communicate, interact, live, make art and articulate our ethics and values. The myths of the last century are now inadequate to encompass these new experiences. We are living in the space between mythologies. It is a very creative moment, brimming with possibilities of new social structures, alternate paradigms, and for the inclusion of disparate cultural influences.

I believe that the new mythologies will be created and articulated in art, in literature, architecture, painting and poetry. It is the artists who will create a livable future through their ability to articulate in the face of flux and change.

What do you think? Leave us a comment!

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