Agathe Snow: Stamina at the Guggenheim

♪ [Agathe Snow]: I started the project–I had an idea. The idea was to do a weeklong dance marathon for a TV program. I was looking at “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?,” for example, and all these people just dancing forever to try to get a meal during the Great Depression. It was after 9/11, and so I thought it was like the Great Manic Depression at the time. Party starts. We have 365 people, 9 cameras, and about 15 camera operators. By the twelfth hour, we had one camera stolen, with half the tapes that were recorded on it. So when you look at the film, there are a few actions that make absolutely no sense. There’s a bar mitzvah. There’s a gang of thieves. By six in the morning, we gave up, and it was just a party. I realized that there was no way to do what we had originally thought we were going to do with it. And so I put it away as a document about these people that were all in the creative field. Then we started looking at the tapes about a year ago and realized that a lot of them were damaged and a lot were missing. And we thought, “Are we going to edit this into an hour and a half movie length?” And then I met Carrie . . . [Carrie Schreck]: The challenge of making a 24-hour film is that so few people have ever done it. Different cameras. Different frame rates. Different times. Different shooters. It was difficult. There was definitely blood, sweat, and tears on Agathe’s side, and my side, and everyone’s side. I think I love the people in Stamina as it was filmed, in a way that not many other people do, because they were her friends, her colleagues, and her companions. But to me, I’ve watched them, as a fly on the wall, over and over again, like “Groundhog Day.” I’ve gotten to know their love stories, their fights, their little dramas, and their personalities. [Agathe Snow]: Everyone in the film gets their moment. Then I thought, okay, so we’re going to show it at the Guggenheim, which is bigger than life, and everyone will come and look at these people. But there’s no chance for anyone to ever experience the same thing, so I decided to have a dance party at the same time. [Carrie Schreck]: It was like a sculpture in which, at every point you stood, you saw a different perspective. You stood here, and you saw this perspective of a difference in time; you stood here, and you saw a perspective of a difference in motion, and light, and color. Agathe accomplished this gigantic sculpture of time and space, energy and personality, and it was amazing. [Agathe Snow]: So we had this big party for 24 hours. This flow, of ins and outs of people in the party in the film was like the same kind of ins and outs of people in the party at the Guggenheim. A party is like an animal, really– it grows, it gets tired, it needs some food, it revives. You could really see, in both, that elasticity of the whole experience. There is an archetypal energy to parties, and I like that about it. When you look back, it’s the family, the babies, and the friends that remain. It doesn’t matter what you did with your career, you know? Obviously there have been huge highlights in my career over the last ten years, but all that I can think of is what you do with your family and your friends. That’s what’s beautiful about this project.

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