Tar and Feathers

"Tar and Feathers" was a horrific punishment! In a typical 
tar-and-feathers attack, the mob's victim was stripped to 
his waist. Hot tar was either poured or painted onto the person 
while he (or she) was immobilized. Then the victim either had 
feathers thrown on him or was rolled around in a pile of feathers 
so they stuck to his body. Often the victim was then paraded 
around town on a cart. The aim was to inflict enough pain and 
humiliation on a person to make him either conform his behavior 
to the mob's demands or be driven from town. 

This is the origin of my "inspiration" - but my work has gone 
through many metamorphosis since the time I started thinking of 
the project.

If we look at the two materials used as the attributes used in 
this "ritual", we can easily see that "tar" is a black sticky 
substance bound by gravity and "feathers" are fragile white 
objects associated with lightness and elevation..!

My work, is a metaphor of the "Unbearable lightness" and the 
"Unbearable weight" of our being on our tiny planet...
Our life very often resembles a person with a "Lead weight" 
chained to his ankle, and yet holding a flying "Balloon" in 
his hands, soon to be torn appart by the two contrasting forces.

In "Tar and Feathers", I have used (and recited) the last poem 
Samuel Beckett ever wrote. It is entitled: "What is the word?"
And this very question: "What is the WORD" is the question of 
a man who mastered "The Words" in two languages - English 
and French. In 1969 he received a "Nobel prize for literature".
And yet, with his last breath he asks: "...what is the word..?"
None of us will ever know "The Word" - or what this word 
should represent...

Our lives are defined by the "laws of gravity" and the "laws 
of elevation" - physically, philosophically, mentally, 
spiritually and emotionally... It is surely not easy to accept 
and even embrace these light and dark forces in equal measure,
but they are inevitable because they need each other and we 
should try to understand and accept them as such.
They are the two inseparable twins - they are "Yin and Yang".

Jiří Kylián 17th of February 2013


What Is The Word, 
by Samuel Beckett and written for Joe Chaikin

folly -
folly for to -
for to -
what is the word -
folly from this -
all this -
folly from all this -
given -
folly given all this -
seeing -
folly seeing all this -
this -
what is the word -
this this -
this this here -
all this this here -
folly given all this -
seeing -
folly seeing all this this here -
for to -
what is the word -
see -
glimpse -
seem to glimpse -
need to seem to glimpse -
folly for to need to seem to glimpse -
what -
what is the word -
and where -
folly for to need to seem to glimpse what where -
where -
what is the word -
there -
over there -
away over there -
afar -
afar away over there -
afaint -
afaint afar away over there what -
what -
what is the word -
seeing all this -
all this this -
all this this here -
folly for to see what -
glimpse -
seem to glimpse -
need to seem to glimpse -
afaint afar away over there what -
folly for to need to seem to glimpse afaint 
afar away over there what -
what -
what is the word -

what is the word