There is a creation story we tell in the art of hosting workshops called “The Chaordic Path” which describes the dance of chaos and order in the service of generative emergence. Today, in Seattle many of us good friends and mates sat in the audience as our friend Thomas Arthur told this story through his production of Luminous Edge. The show is about a wizard who is responsible for juggling into existence the orderly patterns of our human world and then fixing them in place with his spiral of integration. He is assisted by an apprentice who is taken with more natural patterns and who plays more on the natural and chaotic side of the dance. In his inheritance of his teacher’s work, the apprentice works with a healing shaman who helps him find some balance between the natural order of sprials and waves, and the human order of lines and grooves.
It is really a quite lovely show, gently inviting us to notice how these patterns emerge and echo and mimic one another. Thomas blends juggling, music, sound and video, moving in lines and circles and spirals to embody the patterns he is describing. My friend Christy Lee-Engle said it was like watching someone tell the story of one’s work from the inside out.
Last night, Christy, along with Peggy Holman, Ashley Cooper, Teresa Posakony, Bruce Takata and others were in the audience. All of us I think to some extent work with the story that Thomas was portraying. In many ways for those of us who are process artists trying to uncover and work with the natural patterns of human conversation and organization, Thomas’s performance was like a landscape painting of one’s own home town. It had a deep familiarity to it, recognizable landmarks and was the kind of thing you want to have to hang in your space and remind you of where you come from. And like all good landscapes, it takes these familiar elements and brings an artistic eye to them adding a narrative that sets this up in a way that simply begins the story. Thomas’s artistic eye opens from a deep vulnerability to notice these archetypes alive in his own work, to invite us to see them in ourselves and wonder aloud about where they may take us.