Chaconne de Paeton

Installation at the Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery, Waterloo, Ontario (2005).
(Moss, Clay, Video)


See Review in Sculpture Magazine


Based on the notion that choreography might function somewhat like a path, I was simultaneously drawn to the codified and orderly structure of Baroque dance notation, and to visual parallels found in period landscape architecture.

Made of unfired white clay and further highlighted in white engobe, the notations rest upon a path of moss, rising and falling as it follows hills and valleys in the moss landscape. Projected onto an adjacent wall, dancer Daniel Gariepy of La Belle Danse floats through the dance movements in a decelerated and silent video.

When Paheton learned that his father was Apollo, God of the Sun, he went east to meet him. Apollo, pleased at discovering his son, promised him anything his heart desired. Phaeton boldly asked to drive his father's Chariot of the Sun across the heavens for one day. Apollo, realising that his son's inexperience could lead to disaster, desperately tried to dissuade him but when that failed, he felt obligated to honour his promise. The horses quickly sensed the young driver's inability to hold the reins, ran wild and Phaeton completely lost control. The chariot flew too close to the earth, drying waters and burning vegetation into a desert (Ethiopia). Before things got worse, Zeus, King of the Gods, threw one of his thundebolts at the chariot and Phaeton fell dead to the earth.

Chaconne de Paeton was first choreographed and performed by Guillaume-Louis Pecour (France: 1653-1729) and notated by Raoul-Auger Feuillet (France: 1660-1710), who was the first to publish a system of dance notation in 1700.

This installation is the third in a series of dance installations (see also Sarabande/Contrepointe: La Bourgogne) and Entrée d'Apollon.

This installation was made possible with the assistance of Robert Achtemichuk, Mary Alton, Christine Bell, Claire Brunet, Jane Buyers, Virginia Eichhorn, Alfred Engerer, Alan Gatschene, Daniel Gariepy, Geisterblitz Glass Studio, Nancy Grenier and Brian Hardie, Willie Hlowatzki, Kate Holt, John Radatus, Kim Rawson, Bill Seabrook, Bernard and Kim Singer, Sharon Singer, Bruce Taylor, the Toronto Dance Theatre, the Department of Fine Arts of the University of Waterloo, and an Exhibition Assistance Grant from the Ontario Arts Council as recommended by Visual Arts Ontario.







©2005 Christian Bernard Singer.
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