EXCERPTS FROM APOLLO’S DIARY, WRITTEN DURING HIS LAST VISIT TO EARTH FROM MOUNT OLYMPUS, 2020
“I’ve spent two years working on a rant, where I impersonate Apollo. He comes down to earth and tries to change things but runs into the social and political messes in this country."
In “Revisions: A Truncated History of the Universe for Dummies / A Rant Dance, Lecture, and Letter to Humanity,” here credited to “Apollo Musagète, with notes by Rainer.” Apollo is leader of the muses, Nietzschean bastion of reason, and a reference to Stravinsky’s late 1920s Apollo ballet, choreographed by Balanchine. This messenger, an allegorical embodiment of the Angelus Novus, is a messianic figure donning human form who has come down to Earth from Olympus to rehabilitate the world and impart knowledge that might avert future catastrophe at decisive historical crossroads. Yet beyond the particulars of Rainer’s biography, the script—which travels from mythos to contemporary politics, from therapy with Dr. Kellerman to visits to the U.S.-Mexico border via frequent anti-Trump excoriations—chronicles a history of political failure, systemic oppression, and continued ecological devastation that continues to repeat itself. The rant dance, as Rainer has called it, is a slippery form. Hovering between the genre of the lecture-performance and the solo monologue, this “truncated history of the universe for dummies” is part pedagogy, part role play, part litany.
– as adapted from Rachel Valinsky, BOMB Magazine, 2020
Yvonne Rainer, one of the founders of the Judson Dance Theater (1962), made a transition to filmmaking following a fifteenyear career as a choreographer/ dancer (1960-1975). After making seven experimental feature-length films — “Lives of Performers” (1972), “Privilege” (1990), and “MURDER and murder” (1996), among others — she returned to dance in 2000 via a commission from the Baryshnikov Dance Foundation (“After Many a Summer Dies the Swan”).
Since then she has made seven dances, including “AG Indexical, with a little help from H.M.,” “Assisted Living: Do you have any money?” and “The Concept of Dust: Continuous Project – Altered Annually.” Her dances and films have been seen throughout the U.S. and Europe. Museum retrospectives of her work, including drawings, photos, films, notebooks, and memorabilia, have been presented at Kunsthaus Bregenz and Museum Ludwig, Cologne (2012); the Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles; Jeu de Paume, École des Beaux Artes, La Ferme du Buisson, Paris, and Raven Row, London (2014). A memoir — “Feelings Are Facts: a Life” — was published by MIT Press in 2006. A selection of her poetry was published in 2011 by Paul Chan’s Badlands Unlimited. Other writings have been collected in “Work: 1961- 73” (1974); “The Films of Y.R.” (1989); “A Woman Who…: Essays, Interviews, Scripts” (1999); and “Moving and Being Moved” (2017). She is a recipient of two Guggenheim Fellowships, a MacArthur Fellowship, and a U.S.A Fellowship.