4.48 Psychosis by Sarah Kane, directed by thesis candidate Jordan Jozwik, opens Thursday, March 3 for a three-night run. The play was the last Kane wrote and the script is unconventional to say the least. There are no specifications about character, setting, stage direction, or even what is and is not dialogue. 4.48 Psychosis repeatedly asks the question, how can one dramatize blank spaces, a series of numbers, or words that tumble down a page?
The “apologizing factor.” This is the term that Azra Ahmed ’19, a Reed freshman, uses to describe the imperative for Muslim Americans to condemn terrorist groups such as ISIS and therefore exonerate themselves from association. This apology is completely unnecessary, Azra explains, because “as a rational person, why would you have to condemn something so horrible? It is a given.” Why would Ahmed, as a Muslim, be expected to denounce ISIS openly while I, a non-Muslim, would simply be assumed to feel that way? Why are the 2015 Paris attacks labeled as Islamic terrorism and not simply terrorism?
Looking back, I’m not sure where I expected Zero Project’s sense of communal mourning to come from, or how a collection of 25,000 photographs, a boxed model plane, and a set of minimalist instructions written by an artist residing halfway around the world would release the sentiments I had so neatly push-pinned into my perception of the exhibit.
Zero Project is about reconstruction, post-WWII communal healing, and grief in Japan. These were the themes under which I labeled the latest undertaking of Reed’s Cooley Gallery before even stepping through the door. What we received as a college from artist Katsushige Nakahashi was a formula, and our goal was to follow it.
The first thing that catches the eye when entering the bibliophile’s paradise that is Special Collections is a massive tome with frayed sheepskin binding lying on the table. Created sometime in the late sixteenth century, the book looks like something out of a Harry Potter movie. The book is an antiphonary, a liturgical book of music used in the singing of a church choir. The antiphonary is so massive in size because it was intended to be set in the front of the church and used by the entire choir at once. This is because of how expensive and labor-intensive such books were to make, rendering it impractical for every member of the choir to have his own. The cover is constructed of leather wrapped wood, with decorative brass decals studding the front. Inside, the pages are made of sheepskin and partially hand-illuminated. The quality of the pages changes depending on the side of the skin they are made from. The pages created from the inside of the sheep are softer and whiter, while the pages created from the outside of the sheep are coarser and more yellow in color. The manuscript is not illuminated in its entirety, which is most likely due to economic conditions of the monastery in which the antiphonary was created.
Renn Fayre is big. Despite the fact that it’s a celebration of our pointy-headed intellectualism and our deviant lifestyles, it’s undeniably big and extravagant, and — dare I say it? — even quintessentially American in its celebration of excess. That bigness dates back to the ’80s, of course, when everything was big and America was booming. In the second decade of Renn Fayre’s existence it expanded in scope, scale and debauchery, attracting new degrees of local notoriety, to the point where RF1990 as captured on film is very recognizable today. It was the ’70s that gave us Renn Fayre, but it was the Eighties that got us to where we are now.