Arrived at the Arts Centre car park at bit early for our pre-Einstein Dafternoon Tea (dinner served at afternoon tea time). Catherine began pestering me about some journal thing while we were walking towards Hamer Hall to have a look at Hidden Space, Ready Stages, an installation in the Riverwalk space. She was not explaining herself clearly. I thought she was talking about a new Arts publication. I was forced to look up @sharing_ink on Twitter (she’s old skool and doesn’t have a smart phone). I’m glad I did because the pic of Journal #17 had just been posted and we recognised the background of the photo as a cane table just like the one we were standing next to. There it was, just a few tables away. We bought a biscuit and fed some crumbs to the expectant sparrows while admiring the find. My annoyance at Catherine’s whims instantly evaporated. What a beautiful thing! Beneficiaries of guerrilla kindness. Thank you Sayraphim Lothian.
On to Hidden Spaces, Ready Stages. An installation by Gabriella Mangano and Silana Mangano. Entering the Riverwalk space – an unadorned concrete chasm, spare electrical wire hanging, roller door banging in the wind. Stark, glary light penetrating via the open door. Surrounded by the sounds of deep throbbing, high whining, repetitive metallic clunks, wind, fluorescent light hum, buzzing. It’s like being in the bowels of a city building and hearing the gastronomic processes. Screens show footage of air conditioning ducts, concrete walls, dull brick spaces. I have the sense of a building as a machine or even an organic being.
The purpose of the day was to experience Robert Wilson and Philip Glass‘ Einstein on the Beach at the State Theatre. Wow! It was written in 1976 but is still so contemporary. I listen to this work constantly. It is probably my favourite music outside anything of Anton Webern. Over four hours of small repeated phrases is my idea of heaven. It was mesmerising and enthralling, grandiose and epic, intimate and approachable. I do not understand all of the staging and I don’t care. In my view Einstein is best experienced by just sitting back, observing, enjoying and letting the music wash over you. The performance had many flaws and there were some balance issues, but it really didn’t bother me. I’m just so grateful to have been able to see this in Melbourne. One question: does Michael Riesman ever smile?
The debacle. After waiting for the Cloak Room queue to subside, I ventured to the counter to find that my Popular Penguins umbrella had been claimed by an impostor. There was one umbrella left, larger and of a higher quality than mine, so I took that instead. Maybe I should have taken the Umbrella Incident as an omen of things to come. Having forgotten to bring cash with us, we thought we at least had enough on the card to retrieve the car from the carpark. We were mistaken. Exiting after 8pm attracts a higher fee. We found ourselves in a spot of bother. A trip home and then back into the city on the tram and the car was finally released from captivity, but the ransom had increased, again. Exit Arts Centre 10pm, arrive home 1am.