Culture as a Vibrating Energy,
a Cosmic Living Organism
"The idea of culture as a cosmic living organism is central to Kurbasy, whose folk-based multimedia performances vibrate in tight vocal harmonies, resonant lyrics, culturally unique instruments, and phantasmagoric visual imagery...Conceived and directed by the band’s three actress-singers, Kurbasy’s sonic-theatrical explorations of Ukraine’s rich trove of calendar song cycles, lullabies, and legends, conjure the natural world, beliefs, and rituals, tracing contemporary connections to an archaic past."
All things are like living organisms, says the philosopher Whitehead. Plants and animals, living cells and molecules -- all are living in a certain way, all are organic. For Whitehead even the mystery at the heart of the universe, even God, is like an organism, a self-organizing whole with agency of its own: a Subject and not just an object, a Life and not just a thing. We can say "yes" to God, and Someone is listening. Might cultures be living organisms, too? Might they, too, have lives of their own? Kubarsy, an avant-garde musical theatre group from Ukraine thinks so. They don't argue the point; they perform it, weaving lullabies and legends into vibratory events, concretizing the archetypes of life and death, love and loss, humor and wonder into living energy. Whitehead speaks of his philosophy as a "philosophy of organism." It's nice to talk about organisms as if they were words on a page, but even better to experience them as events on a stage.
- Jay McDaniel
- Jay McDaniel