The Refusal of Time & Refuse the Hour

with Philip Miller, Catherine Meyburgh, Dada Masilo, Peter Galison
2012

Anti-Entropy

When mass is huge, gravity grows until it is irresistible. A black hole traps all that passes, allowing out of its gravitational field no object, no light, no trace of light, that has been attracted to it. A black hole the size of a full stop swallows the sentence. Others swallow a house, a city, a galaxy.

Is all gone, none to be retrieved? Entropy forbids all elements from entering the black chasm. As an object approaches a black hole, its wavelength lengthens, slowing down, becomes redder and redder; the information and attributes separate from the object, and remain as strings – vibrating strings, twists, knots, cats’ cradles of information, vibrating at the edge of the event horizon. The bank at the edge of the River Styx, where Charon deposits those headed for the black darkness of Hades. He keeps in his boat the attributes of they have shed. A suitcase of teeth and glasses, thoughts, stories, and old stone discus. Held in trust on account, waiting for them to be decoded, to be reconstructed, to be made new.

The Refusal of Time

The Refusal of Time is a 5-channel video installation with a complex soundscape. The installation includes four steel megaphones and a breathing machine (‘elephant’).
duration 28 minutes.

Director
William Kentridge

Music and soundscape
Philip Miller

Video construction
Catherine Meyburgh

Choreography
Dada Masilo

Dramaturge
Peter Galison

Breathing machine
Jonas Lundquist, Sabine Theunissen

Sound design
Gavan Eckhart

Movement direction
Luc de Wit

Costume design
Greta Goiris

Design
Sabine Theunissen

Lighting design
Urs Schoenebaum

Megaphones
Christoff Wolmarans, Louis Olivier, Chris-Waldo de Wet

Produced by Marian Goodman Gallery (New York and Paris), Lia Rumma Gallery (Naples and Milan), Goodman Gallery (Johannesburg and Cape Town).

Commissioned by Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev for dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel, 2012.

Executive production Tomorrowland, Caroline Naphegyi, Olivia Sautereau.

Refuse the Hour

Chamber opera with a fragmented lecture, live music, performance, kinetic sculptures, and video projection

duration 80 minutes

First performed under the title
Dancing with Dada, Market Theatre, Johannesburg, 2011.

Conception and libretto
William Kentridge

Music
Philip Miller

Choreography
Dada Masilo

Video design
Catherine Meyburgh and
William Kentridge

Dramaturgy
Peter Galison

Scenic design
Sabine Theunissen

Movement
Luc de Wit

Costume design
Greta Goiris

Machine design
Christoff Wolmarans, Louis Olivier
and Jonas Lundquist

Lighting design
Felice Ross

Sound design
Gavan Eckhart

Video orchestration
Kim Gunning

Music direction
Adam Howard

Music arranged and orchestrated by Philip Miller and Adam Howard

Performers 
William Kentridge
Dada Masilo, dancer
Ann Masina, vocalist
Joanna Dudley, vocalist
Thato Motlhaolwa, actor
Adam Howard, musical conductor,
co-orchestration,
trumpet and flugel horn
Tlale Makhene, percussion
Waldo Alexander, violin
Dan Selsick, trombone
Vincenzo Pasquariello, pianist
Thobeka Thukane, tuba

Anti-Mercator

2011
9 minutes 45 seconds
Edition of 7; 2 APs

Editing
Catherine Meyburgh

Music and soundscape
Philip Miller

Voice
Bham Ntabeni

Dancers
Dada Masilo, Thato Motlhaolwa

Sound edit
Gavan Eckhart

Refusal of Time workshop team

William Kentridge, Peter Galison, Philip Miller (music), Catherine Meyburgh (video editing), Sabine Theunissen (stage design), Greta Goiris (costumes), Urs Schoenebaum (lighting), Luc de Wit (movement and acting direction), Dada Masilo (choreography), Jonas Lundquist and Christoff Wolmarans (design and construction of machines), Wesley France (production manager), Gavan Eckhart (sound), Caroline Naphegyi (research and production), Kim Gunning (video and stage manager), Adriano Giulio Giovanelli (video synchronization), Mira Leibowitz (wardrobe assistant), Richard Pakleppa (video documentation), John Hodgkiss (stills photography)

Singers
Ann Masina, Linda van Copenhagen, Bham Ntabeni, Ntuba Thulisa Brothers Choir

Musicians
Jill Richards, Danel Bower, Etienne Mcloen, Tlale Makhene, Waldo Alexander

Dancers
Dada Masilo, Thato Motlhaolwa, Tiisetso Moreo, Songezo Mcilizeli, Lesego Ngwato, Ntsiki Khasu, Lebo Ramafuthula, Mmkgosi Kgabi, Tshepo Zasekhaya, Keiron Jina

Support
Linda Leibowitz, Natalie Dembo, Anne McIlleron, Lisa Cloete, Amber van Winsen, Nomsa Mfene, Louis Olivier, Stella Olivier

Workshop generously supported by Marian Goodman Gallery, New York and Paris; the Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg; Lia Rumma Gallery, Naples and Milan; Le Laboratoire, Paris

Making

A team assembled. Philip Miller (composer), to turn time into sound. Catherine Meyburgh (editor), to orchestrate the projected images. Jonas Lundquist, to make mechanical (a bellows and a bicycle wheel) the principles of relativity. Christoff Wolmarans and Louis Olivier (a bicycle wheel and a megaphone) to do the same. Sabine Theunissen (scenic designer) to make the context for the machines, the dance, the music, the projections. Greta Goiris (costume designer) to find the language in cloth and clothes for what had become an opera. Luc de Wit, to find the orchestration of the stage movements of the actors and musicians. And then an ancillary team of musicians, singers and organisers.

Until there was more team than project – and then the project filled the gaps.

What came through the conversations was that the more the science is discussed or explained, the richer are the metaphoric associations. It’s not saying the performance on stage, or the representation in films or drawings, has to be accurate – we are not trying for it to be a science lesson, where somebody comes to the piece and understands, or can do a mathematical diagram of time. But each time something is explained more clearly or more specifically, the range of metaphors and associations and ideas multiplies. One hears about things not just disappearing into a black hole, but leaving attributes of information in vibrating strings around them. This suggests a whole series of possibilities of the literal and the metaphoric; and then what they suggest in terms of manifesting in drawings, film, editing, sound, playing with sound – how they also provoke their transformation onto the wall or onto the stage.

The Refusal of Time

5-channel video installation with kinetic sculpture

Refuse the Hour

Chamber opera with fragmented lecture

Anti-Mercator

Single channel video

Drawings

Prints

Sculpture

Exhibitions

More

More projects

Credits

The Refusal of Time

The Refusal of Time is a 5-channel video installation with a complex soundscape. The installation includes four steel megaphones and a breathing machine (‘elephant’).
duration 28 minutes.

Director
William Kentridge

Music and soundscape
Philip Miller

Video construction
Catherine Meyburgh

Choreography
Dada Masilo

Dramaturge
Peter Galison

Breathing machine
Jonas Lundquist, Sabine Theunissen

Sound design
Gavan Eckhart

Movement direction
Luc de Wit

Costume design
Greta Goiris

Design
Sabine Theunissen

Lighting design
Urs Schoenebaum

Megaphones
Christoff Wolmarans, Louis Olivier, Chris-Waldo de Wet

Produced by Marian Goodman Gallery (New York and Paris), Lia Rumma Gallery (Naples and Milan), Goodman Gallery (Johannesburg and Cape Town).

Commissioned by Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev for dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel, 2012.

Executive production Tomorrowland, Caroline Naphegyi, Olivia Sautereau.

Refuse the Hour

Chamber opera with a fragmented lecture, live music, performance, kinetic sculptures, and video projection

duration 80 minutes

First performed under the title
Dancing with Dada, Market Theatre, Johannesburg, 2011.

Conception and libretto
William Kentridge

Music
Philip Miller

Choreography
Dada Masilo

Video design
Catherine Meyburgh and
William Kentridge

Dramaturgy
Peter Galison

Scenic design
Sabine Theunissen

Movement
Luc de Wit

Costume design
Greta Goiris

Machine design
Christoff Wolmarans, Louis Olivier
and Jonas Lundquist

Lighting design
Felice Ross

Sound design
Gavan Eckhart

Video orchestration
Kim Gunning

Music direction
Adam Howard

Music arranged and orchestrated by Philip Miller and Adam Howard

Performers 
William Kentridge
Dada Masilo, dancer
Ann Masina, vocalist
Joanna Dudley, vocalist
Thato Motlhaolwa, actor
Adam Howard, musical conductor,
co-orchestration,
trumpet and flugel horn
Tlale Makhene, percussion
Waldo Alexander, violin
Dan Selsick, trombone
Vincenzo Pasquariello, pianist
Thobeka Thukane, tuba

Anti-Mercator

2011
9 minutes 45 seconds
Edition of 7; 2 APs

Editing
Catherine Meyburgh

Music and soundscape
Philip Miller

Voice
Bham Ntabeni

Dancers
Dada Masilo, Thato Motlhaolwa

Sound edit
Gavan Eckhart

Refusal of Time workshop team
William Kentridge, Peter Galison, Philip Miller (music), Catherine Meyburgh (video editing), Sabine Theunissen (stage design), Greta Goiris (costumes), Urs Schoenebaum (lighting), Luc de Wit (movement and acting direction), Dada Masilo (choreography), Jonas Lundquist and Christoff Wolmarans (design and construction of machines), Wesley France (production manager), Gavan Eckhart (sound), Caroline Naphegyi (research and production), Kim Gunning (video and stage manager), Adriano Giulio Giovanelli (video synchronization), Mira Leibowitz (wardrobe assistant), Richard Pakleppa (video documentation), John Hodgkiss (stills photography)

Singers
Ann Masina, Linda van Copenhagen, Bham Ntabeni, Ntuba Thulisa Brothers Choir

Musicians
Jill Richards, Danel Bower, Etienne Mcloen, Tlale Makhene, Waldo Alexander

Dancers
Dada Masilo, Thato Motlhaolwa, Tiisetso Moreo, Songezo Mcilizeli, Lesego Ngwato, Ntsiki Khasu, Lebo Ramafuthula, Mmkgosi Kgabi, Tshepo Zasekhaya, Keiron Jina

Support
Linda Leibowitz, Natalie Dembo, Anne McIlleron, Lisa Cloete, Amber van Winsen, Nomsa Mfene, Louis Olivier, Stella Olivier

Workshop generously supported by Marian Goodman Gallery, New York and Paris; the Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg; Lia Rumma Gallery, Naples and Milan; Le Laboratoire, Paris