Wednesday, December 25, 2013

A Review of Daniel Kitson Analog.ue. And Emoji.

On Friday, December 13 at 8pm, Tom and I saw Daniel Kitson's new one-man show Analog.ue at St Anne's Warehouse in Brooklyn. On Jay Street. Analog.ue is rapid-fire monolog that glorifies moments in time. Kitson cherishes moments in time. He nabs them with tweezers and jams them in preservative jelly. Then he studies them, up close. You can see his breath condensing on the specimen jars and you know he's so into it he doesn't notice. He also doesn't see his fingerprints on the glass.

Daniel Kitson.  Very interesting guy.
Kitson ruminates fiercely over the idea that no one's life is remembered in a comprehensive YouTube video. You can't buy your own Truman Show. Like mine, all your moments in time are scattered across the memories of everyone you know. 

On Saturday, December 14 at 3pm, Nina and I attended the Emoji Art & Design Show at Eyebeam Studios on West 21st Street. Before emoji, emails and texts and Facebook statuses were all rat-tat-tat words. Writing has been picture-free since the invention of the printing press destroyed the feasibility of little sketches in margins and between words. 
Emoji Illuminated Text.

Unfortunately, sometimes it's not data and facts that are important, but emotions. The problem with emotions is that they take sentences and often introspection to communicate. Conversely, if I send you a smiley face, one character tells you I'm perfectly fine with whatever is going on. Imagine if I wrote out, "I'm cool with you being late." I seriously doubt you would take my words at face value. You would find undertones, you would engineer sarcasm,  you would be left wondering. Somehow you'd be mad at me by the time you arrived.

It was at the emoji event that I started to understand the Kitson show; how I admire the man at the same time I want to give him a hug.  Kitson thinks with a lab coat and bulldozer. He quantifies and analyzes. He strips away inflection. In Analog.ue, he removes the humanity further by recording his voice, cleaning and processing it.

I feel like Kitson's reverence for memorized factoids haunts and mesmerizes, but might miss a larger truth. Just like science can explain life but not the meaning of life, memories are not a pile of dates and street names. Memories are simply a sum. A sum of how all these things that added up to our lives changed the people around us. As Maya Angelou said so beautifully, "People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel." 

In the end, the only thing left of us will be the impact we had on others. Our photo albums and playbills and menus from fancy restaurants are hauled out to the trash the moment we kick off. Kitson gets to this inevitability and it depresses him. By siphoning off emotion, our only chance to exist after death slips through his fingers.