Original manuscript of the opening of The Rite of Spring.
“Everyone has been made for some particular work, and the desire for that work has been put in every heart.”—Rumi
I’ve recently fallen headlong in love with Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. I was swept up by the video of Proms musicians playing its complexities. Beyond the power of its rhythms and sounds, I was captivated by the orchestra’s energy, and its intense and graceful movements. The piece is dynamic in passion and work. So dynamic, it has me considering the correlation between work and joy. Will we work in heaven?
In 1967, Danish filmmaker Jørgen Leth wrote and directed a 12-minute experimental art film. The name of the film was The Perfect Human. Like a lot of experimental art films from the 1960s, The Perfect Human was quirky collection of black-and-white images accompanied by a minimalistic soundtrack and a odd voiceover. The voiceover said:
We stood at dusk among the new construction of what will be a $4 million addition to the local school. The work site was quiet, the powerful equipment left temptingly idle to men and women—the women among us seemed significantly less tempted—of our caliber, decision-makers of the school board. We felt self-satisfied, there’s no doubt, definitely influential, maybe powerful.
A Portrait of James Lord by Giacometti.
In A Giacometti Portrait, James Lord portrays Giacometti’s struggle as his art. It’s a daily wrestling that requires a commitment to begin again. Giacometti’s constant exasperation at his own work colors the story, but adds the interesting layer of uncertainty and attainment that ebbs and flows by the hour, and sometimes the minute, as he paints a portrait of Lord. When Lord suggests Giacometti fill in the background, Giacometti replies by saying, “You can’t fake a picture like that. Everything must come of itself and in its own time. Otherwise, it becomes superficial.”
When I lived in South Bend, Indiana, I had a friend who, for one night, tried to teach me how to sew. As with all my DIY pursuits, the fabric I bought for a giant pillow I convinced Meg she could teach me how to stitch together got mutilated, and I don’t remember a thing she tried to teach me.