Alpha and Omega of Our Athens Nostalgia: P is for Pauline

When you took this photograph of Pauline’s Solo did it make you wish that you had spoken with Pauline Oliveros in person, either before she died in November 2016 or afterwards in the underworld as a dialogue of the dead? Would you have addressed her by her first name? Would you have asked her about the artist Linda Montano, her lover and collaborator, who collected and published the 1976 book Pauline’s Proverbs? Would you plead with her to tell the story of how they met, while Linda was blindfolded mid-performance and Pauline was present, silent, until they both couldn’t bear it anymore? Would you have shared your experience watching them both in Robert Ashley’s Unnatural Acts Between Consenting Adults, with Pauline being transformed from butch to femme during the interview, then blowing your mind by playing the accordion and singing (without words) Rose Mountain Slow Runner? Would confess to her that this experience made you want to be ‘Rose Mountain’ to her ‘Slow Runner’? Would you have asked her about her thoughts on Martha Mockus’ book Sounding Out: Pauline Oliveros and Lesbian Musicality? With time running out, as Charon approached to take you back to the upper world, would you have inquired about the different endings of Pauline’s Solo, this version or the one included in her collected writings that ends: I dedicate this music to a world where peace is more exciting than war? Did you know that Pauline would be so vital to you when you took this photograph? Did her reference to ‘energy’ exchange her ideas with your own? We must remember these things, remember what does not go away.

 

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