The title of our work opening this Saturday in Austin is The Stepping Up and Going Under Method. Sometimes a title for a work comes naturally, but usually for us it’s a long process. We’ve been going back and forth for weeks, trying to find a title that sheds light on the piece, while not showing our conceptual hand and not adding new content.
We’ve got a list of potential names that ranges from the ridiculously obtuse and academic (The Trefoil Knot Crossing Method), to the simplistic and obvious (The Two-Track Method). The name we finally settled on refers to action that takes place in the video, but is malleable enough to stretch into new, more ephemeral meanings. Each character is going up. Each character could be going under.
This name references our earlier work, The Grasp Hand and Walking Method. That name came from the first line of text in the video — a direct quote from a WWII vet talking about his experience as a Marine landing on Iwo Jima: “Hold hands and walk that way” — translated into Japanese, and then translated back into English.
We love the poetry of the awkward grammar of the translation, and have been struck with the idea that coping with such small moments in human experience could be defined as a method. That perhaps if we could find a handbook that exposed the rules for handling any life event, it would be filled with chapters like The Grasp Hand and Walking Method, and The Stepping Up and Going Under Method.
Incidentally, if you apply the same translation process to this title, it becomes: It Improves, Go.