Friday afternoon, 7:00 p.m., Peachtree and 15th Street, Midtown Atlanta. Traffic still busy, rush hour far from over. Pedestrians still dart across the street, coming from their shops and offices, heading for their homes or out for the pleasures of the weekend.
But, hey, what are these two doing? Are they playing around or are they fighting? The mind immediately focuses on any activity out of the ordinary, evaluating whether it's a threat or if it's fun, or whether it's just another thing that can be ignored.
But this is a dangerous intersection. Whether friend or foe, he shouldn't be fooling around out on the street like that. He should stop that and stop that now. What the hell's he doing?
And then suddenly recognition kicks in. Of course, we realize, he's part of the gloATL troupe, once again putting on their annual Liquid Culture installation, a "Utopian Station Series" of improvised dance in urban settings across Atlanta.
Live music to accompany the event was provided by Sonic Generator, Atlanta's fearless avant-chamber ensemble.
Listening to the lovely music, watching the beautiful young dancers, one can get caught up in the sheer artistry of it all, and start to notice the surroundings in ways one doesn't usually see them. The dancers artistically interpret the flow of traffic, the mannerisms of pedestrians, and the movements of the spectators, and soon the traffic, the pedestrians, and the spectators start to resemble the motions of the dancers. We start to wonder if that person standing over there, arms akimbo, is a dancer in street clothes or just another observer, and then we notice people looking at us the same way, too. The doors of perception open and we notice the majesty of the midtown architecture, the unposed arrangements of groups of people watching the show, and the warmth of the late afternoon light. Exposure to such pure creativity triggers the mirror neurons in our own brains and awakens the artistic perception in our minds. It's better than any drug.
Those little black things on the ground are origami swans folded out of black paper. The dancers gave them out to the audience during the show, and I've got one now on my home altar.
We're very fortunate to live in a city blessed with such artistic creativity, and that the artists have the generosity and courage to take their art out to the public, free of charge, and share their creative process with us.