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Ping: Page from Encounter magazine with Beckett text from his story Ping
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Ping: Page from Encounter magazine with Beckett text from his story Ping
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In the late 1960s, I had had limited experience with Samuel Beckett's work. One electrifying experience was seeing a performance of "Waiting for Godot" in Minneapolis, probably in 1966. Living in Japan (under a Fellowship from the Institute of Current World Affairs), I tried not only to immerse myself in the Japanese art world (concerts, traditions, visual art, films, Noh theater, Bunraku, calligraphy, and so on), but also to keep a tenuous thread of connectivity to the larger English-speaking world. There were two important book stores in Tokyo where one could get foreign language materials, and the most important was Kinokuniya, in the Shinjuku area of Tokyo (The other was the Maruzen Department store near Ginza.). In one of these locations, I bought a copy of the English magazine, Encounters. and found in it the Beckett short story, “Ping”. I was mesmerized not only by the affect associated with his writing, its leanness and force, but also by the unpredictably shifting of resource elements and the permutational reformulations. Permutation was an important consideration in music composition technique that was then the dominant force in contemporary music internationally. Beckett's text was suffused with permutational realignments (though I doubt that there was any systematization involved on Beckett’s part). In the Encounter context, the reader was presented with a monolithic block. In order to deal with it, I had to parse it into manageable units. I decided to lay it out as a series of sentences. Then I looked for moments (I settled on two) where there was, or seemed to be, a significant shift in the author's perspective on what was (or was not) happening: “perhaps a way out” … I had the text divided into sentence units, decided which words were to be presented on each slide, and had the hole divided into three "areas" – the performed sections. I then tried out the idea of assigning a particular temporal unit to various textual phrasings, so as to bring the text into a roughly controlled relationship to the panned temporal structure of a multimedia work that I imagined would be about 22 minutes in length.
Related Item
based on: Beckett, Samuel, 1906-1989. Ping
"Ping" is a short story written by Samuel Beckett written in French (originally "Bing") in 1966, and later translated into English by the author and published in 1967. Page 2 of typed out version of Beckett text as printed in English in Encounter magazine (1967).
Related Resource
Roger Reynolds Collection at the Library of Congress
UCSD DAMS Collection
Roger Reynolds Ping Collection;
UC Regents
UC Regents
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