Monday, 15 October 2012

Go. Ing. To. Get, Worse.

Image by Lisbeth Gruwez
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Most. Swaggert.  important.

Lighter. Swaggert. Version. Of the  important. Apocalyptic. Espoused 

 It's Going. Rants. To Get Worse and Swaggert. Worse  important. And Worse, My Friend. Rants. 
Stripped. Of his. Peculiar fixations, Swaggert's speeches. Still retain a sinister attraction. When deconstructed. Into fragments their cadences express. Inarticulate anguish. Whatever idiocy. Of message.  Swaggert.  Voice modern. Dance  quoting. Ballet mime language ecstatic. Energy earlier Modern dancers. Traps. Body series. Truncated sequences. Trying to shake.  Swaggert. Pessimism, failing. Embody. Illustrate brief sentences. Gradually evolve. Fragments of sound, then word. 

During the 1980s, a generation of American televangelists suddenly appeared in the headlines, both in the UK and the USA. Eventually, they were exposed as sexual hypocrites with a depressing regularity: the pleasures of the flesh they explicitly abhorred turned out to be a little more tempting than they had realised. Ironically, most of them ended up playing starring roles in a morality drama that would have ideally suited their puritanical sermons.

Jimmy Swaggert was almost the archetype. A stunning orator, his family connection to early rock'n'roll hellion Jerry Lee Lewis lent his downfall an almst tragic inevitably. Swaggert concern for the state of America was typical. A mixture of homophobia, right wing politics and literal readings of The Bible - the televangelists managed to connect these three very different belief systems until they became synonymous - Swaggert's ideology threatened the other very American ideal of Freedom of Speech and was designed to appeal to the frightened "moral majority" that was increasingly triumphant in defining American politics during the Reagan era.

Most important for It's Going to Get Worse and Worse and Worse, My Friend, Swaggert espoused a lighter version of the Apocalyptic rants that would eventually climax in a series of brutal deaths, as cultists made their stand against what they perceived to be the corrupt governments of this world. Fortunately, their predictions of the end times were repeatedly proven false - Richard Abanes' End Time Visions chronicles the vast failures of the surprisingly energetic Armageddon Industry - and Swaggert was marginalised by his own whopping sex scandal.

Stripped of his peculiar fixations, Swaggert's speeches still retain a sinister attraction: when deconstructed into fragments by Maarten Van Cauwenberghe, their cadences express an inarticulate anguish. Whatever the idiocy of the message, Swaggert's voice is compelling. 

Gruwez's choreography, which recalls the firm gestures of American post-modern dance  while quoting both ballet's mime language and the ecstatic energy of earlier Modern dancers, traps her body in a series of truncated sequences. At times, it is as if she is trying to shake off Swaggert's pessimism, failing only to embody or illustrate brief sentences that gradually evolve from the fragments of sound, then word

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