Thank you Neke Carson for hosting this event and thanks to Veronica Vera for asking Neke to host the event. In this season of gratitude I would like to thank my deceased friends who mentored, inspired and permissioned my being an artist.
1. My parents Mildred and Henry Montano,both artists who modeled that art was a good path.
2. My grandmother, Magdalena Becker Kelly,for her wild wisdom and singing sans false teeth on holidays
3. I thank Mitchell Payne, photograper and light giver.
4. I thank Barbara Lehmann, writer, performance art collaborator.
5. And I thank Dr Aruna Mehta, second mother, teacher and dispenser of blessings.
Although all of them have left this world, their invisible applause is always in my heart.
I invite you to bring to your memory someone who always supported your creativity, thank them and see them applaud and encourage you, even now.
And I thank you, my colleagues for choosing to hire a babysitter,buy a subway ticket, take a bus or taxi, thanks for eating a quick burritto, opting out of your Pilates class and coming here when you could be home wrapped in your leopard SNUGGIE,bathed in the comfort of reflected light: light from your flat screen TV,light from your laptop,light from your open refrigerator, watching re-runs of Wendy Williams, Dr Oz, Conan, Anthony Bourdain,Caesar Millan,Dr Drew's Celebrity Rehab, The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders Bootcamp, ...You could be watching Bill Moyers interviewing Joseph Campbell,you could be watching your avatar float in second life, ...You could be arguing with Whoppie and Joy on The View, crying with Wife Swap,watching Prince sing to Travis Smiley or travel to a near east hotel with Anderson Cooper...I feel bad because I do admit that being face to face is a big sacrifice especially without technological access to control, alt, delete, off, hide and remove buttons, our new friends. Thank you, thank you for giving ME face and endured time.But no, lets digress and clear the air.Why am I so insistent on this? Why do I feel guilt and shame again? You see, I have the patience for only one minute max of Anne Sexton/Peggy Lee and Thomas Merton youtube posts on facebook.But wait, I cant feel guilty because we will do a group ice breaker performance and that will be a blast, and I give you permission to use your Blackberries, you can text,surf your apps, answer your ringing cell phones, you can twitter,iphone,create a new 2nd life persona, network,do facebook, email, take bathroom breaks without asking permission, and after my one hour 4 minute video,(edited by the inimitable Tobe Carey) you can share in the group wig performance. A certain resume boost.
PART 2:THE CONCEPT BEHIND THE FILM MASKS;
Over the last 40 years I have periodically played with persona and gender as an art material, becoming imagined and real people. I call this work, Creative Schizophrenia, that is, I choose to leave my personality for aesthetic purposes and for medical research.Some have no chopice and that is called Life.
In the 70's in the middle of a life trauma I sat in front of a TV camera on a daily basis for a year and talked to it resulting in the film: LEARNING TO TALK(VDB).A medical note: I suggest that this would be a wonderfull cure for other selective mutes with PTSD.The seven women who came out of me at that time seemed competent, verbally secure, but culturally limited, vapid, complicit and secretly competitive.I was in my late 30's.I call them the MASK ON people,
IN the 90"s, as a reaction to menopause, a tenure dilemma and countless other personal tsunamis, I made the film, SEVEN STAGES OF INTOXICATION. The seven women I became acted as if they were marginalized terrorists, abused addicts, dangerous alcoholics and furious narcissists.But actually,I use the alcholic persona as a metaphor for the meditator in spiritual rapture,the meditator Divinely Intoxicated, in unspeakable ecstasy. See Teresa of Avila, St Francis of Assissi. I call them the MASK OFF people.
In the year 2003 I began to see myself as a puppett and I also wanted to become real and not imagined people.Real, like Hillary Clinton, Bob Dylan,,etc. One of the tragedies of this category is that when I asked another real person if I cold be/duplicate her she rejected my offer. Very dishartening and a reason to retreat to SECOND LIFE, I suppose.The real people I have become have real imperfections and private hells that are exposed by TMZ, People Magazine, The Huffington Post, Wolf Blitzer and Oprah. I call them the MASK ON AND OFF people.
2005 THE LAST MASK was put on, the death mask, the last straw. Not so bad when my teacher Dr.RS Mishra talked so easily about death, "You are already Dead." and "Die Daily" via meditation and I add, via our art . Why die daily? To quiet the other masks because he also said, "You have a daily choiceof heaven or hell..." and another great one..."We all have a MOTHER TERESA AND HITLER inside us...." And Lama Tarchin said 20 years ago to me In the Quashas' kitchen while looking at masks on the wall,"Take off your mask." Now I understand what he was saying and I call this fourth mask research performance, THE LAST MASK.
PART 3: WHY THE NUMBER 4?
For the sake of order and structure I am using the number 4 to talk about these 4 masks that we all share. Maybe these following lists can be templated over the concept of mask to see similarites, make associations, compare information. Please imagine a spread sheet and for each category mentioned, there is a correspondence between the mask and the "category".
1.Psychology says there are four levels of consciousness:
unconscious... located in the midbrain...MASK OFF
subconscious.....located in the diencephalon...MASK ON
conscious...all parts of the brain above the midbrain i.e. the diencephalon and cerebral cortex...MASK OFF AND ON
superconscious...all parts of the brain...NO MASK
now we must find a psychiatrist and neurosurgeon to explain this.
2.Hindus say there are definately 4 Chakras but more like 7(use the same MASK analogy as above)
associated with the colors Red,Orange,Yellow,Green
love and affection
security and safety
power and control
And the 4 chakras are locted in the first 4 glands:
But we must find a Brahmin to explain this meditation model.
3.Then there is the medical world which says we have four brain waves:
Beta: 3-35 oscillations, normal thinking
Alpha: 8-13 oscillations , rest
Theta: 4-8 oscillations ,children, adults, dreams, strong emotions
Delta: 3-5 oscillations, sleeping newborns
Where is the doctor?
4.And there is:
Where is the priest?
All I know is that on a minute to minute basis, I move in and out of gehanna then paradise, in and out of terror then spa , in and out of leaving then staying.....A mask dance without end.
PART 4: MY INTENTION IN MAKING THIS FILM:
1.I love structure . Number and form are important focuses and a reliable foundation and grounding that give me pleasure even when there is no content. I could make a film about numbers, structure and concept alone and be very happy.
2.But also, the message of hope is important ...that is, that we all share this condition of going in and out of mental waves but that there is a way out. And so the film,MASKS, has an instructional value and my nun self likes that especially when I translate and see addictions as misguided ecstasy and really spirituality gone amuck.
3.The tape is a study in time because there is really boring footage from the 70s in this film. Then,time was long and cheap and it is so hard to endure it now . We get to see how our attention has changed in the last 30 years.More instruction.
4. My intention is always to point to death in my work, either formally MITCHELLS DEATH or as metaphor, LYING DEAD CHICKEN LIVE ANGEL, where I lay on a CHICKEN BED for 3 hours...resting? preparing? motionless? meditating?
5. My last intention is to look at secrets as art....my own secrets, secrets I've seen or heard about, political secrets, cosmic secrets...They have to get out and get unwound from our organs our brains our minds and once we Hiermonyous Bosch them out, we feel better,the viewer feels better,purified and cleansed. Art is so generous and we artists are chosen to do this job for all. Art lets us spew the dark out,laugh with and at it and Mother Art then transforms the puke so it is no longer small t-truth. Mother stirs and cooks it, feeding our hunger and turns our stuff into big T-Truth .Mounting this TRUTH, we ride BEAUTY GOLD into the sky.
PART 5 DISCLAIMER:
1. In the final wig performance after the video:please use no blood , no urine, no semen, no phlem,no fire, no knives, no sputum, no physical harm to self or others, no bombs, no guns ,no tazer guns.See my archive for how I incorporated a similar list of no's when I taught performance at UT Austin.Now raise your hand and sign an invisible release form that says you will not sue me, send a lawyer after me, hold me accountable on any level for anything you see, hear, do or wear tonight.(sign the air)
2.I ask your pardon and absolution for using accents so freely in my film. I grew up in a family where my Italian grandparents spoke very little english and what they did speak , they did so with a very thick accent which I found fascinating and I use the accent now with all due respect and with honor for all immigrants facing language issues and cultural isolation.
3.WARNING: There are references to alcoholism, profanity, urine therapy, abuse, medical interventions in this tape so:
VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED.
4. I_________________________________________DO NOT HOLD LINDA MARY MONTANO ACCOUNTABLE FOR ANY THING.DATE.___________________________________.
LINDA MARY MONTANO
NOVEMBER 21, 2009
FEAST DAY OF THE PRESENTATION OF MOTHER MARY IN THE TEMPLE
SAUGERTIES NEW YORK:TRANSFIGURATION HOUSE