Coding the Archive (there is a repo at the end – spoiler)

Martha Graham Dance Company at VPAC - Los Angeles dance ...

Anything can be inspirational.

Last night for some reason I ended up down a rabbit hole that brought me to this quote on wikipedia about Martha Graham, the dancer and choreographer, written by Agnes De Mille.

The greatest thing [Graham] ever said to me was in 1943 after the opening of Oklahoma!, when I suddenly had unexpected, flamboyant success for a work I thought was only fairly good, after years of neglect for work I thought was fine. I was bewildered and worried that my entire scale of values was untrustworthy. I talked to Martha. I remember the conversation well. It was in a Schrafft’s restaurant over a soda. I confessed that I had a burning desire to be excellent, but no faith that I could be. Martha said to me, very quietly: “There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open … No artist is pleased. [There is] no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.”[39]

At the moment I am thinking a lot of about somatics and what it is that we each uniquely give to the world, and that this is bound with our physical bodies. And then I come across this quote, which speaks to what I am thinking about, maybe it inspires something in me (I did buy DeMille’s book).

Anything can be a source of inspiration. Or something that is a source of inspiration to one person falls flat for another.

I have a ton of pdfs and journals. The journals especially I never look at. My friend Nitzan suggested that I write a script to pull out snippits from the pdfs. I did just that and then I put in them in a directory that I use as a screensaver. So now throughout the day pieces of my archive are brought before my awareness, like notes in the street, and whatever catches my eye can serve as a spark of inspiration, curiosity, enjoyment, or frustration.

Anyway here is the repository of the code I wrote. You need to know your way around terminal and have osx, but it is a way for you too to bring the archive into everyday life.

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