Toni Morrison Lecture Series @Princeton UniversityPrinceton, NJ

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Tickets are required for admission and can be ordered from the Princeton University Ticketing Office by calling (609) 258-9220.

Acclaimed director and choreographer Bill T. Jones will deliver a three-part presentation for the annual Toni Morrison Lectures on April 17, 19, and 24 at Princeton University. Sponsored jointly by the Center for African American Studies and Princeton University Press, the Toni Morrison Lectures spotlight the new and exciting work of scholars and writers who have risen to positions of prominence both in academe and in the broader world of letters. The lectures celebrate the expansive literary imagination, intellectual adventurousness and political insightfulness that characterize the writing of Toni Morrison. Established in 2006, past lecturers have included Cornel West, Edwidge Danticat, and The Honorable Cory Booker.

Jones’s lectures, entitled “The Life of an Idea,” will investigate belonging, appropriating and adapting in the context of time in three parts: Past Time, Story/Time, and With Time. The lectures will be compiled and published in book form by Princeton University Press.
In Past Time (April 17 at 8pm, Richardson Auditorium, Alexander Hall), Jones reflects on the moment he entered the conversation about creative practice, aesthetic hierarchy, history, and “the modernist project” from the point of view of dance and body-based art making. John Cage's thoughts and philosophy on the subject of composition as reported in his book Silence figure prominently as Jones discusses the dislocation and discomfort he experienced when attempting to emulate Cage’s paradigm. Questions of identity, aesthetic value, and criticism will be explored.

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Story/Time (April 19 at 8pm, McCosh Hall) is a reading of sixty stories by Jones, each one minute long, from the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company’s newest work, Story/Time (2012). Aphoristic, informal, ambiguous and often intensely personal, the stories offer a reluctant self-portrait of the artist, who will be accompanied by Story/Time composer Ted Coffey. A composer of acoustic and electronic chamber music, interactive installations, and songs, Coffey will contribute the results of his own investigation and responses to the John Cage idiom. Coffey is a graduate of Princeton University (MFA, PhD) and currently an Associate Professor at the University of Virginia, where he teaches courses in composition, music technologies, critical theory, and pop. Story/Time set designer and Creative Director of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, Bjorn G. Amelan, will also participate by creating a drawing in real-time as part of the performance-lecture.

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In the final lecture, With Time (April 24 at 8pm in Richardson Auditorium, Alexander Hall), Jones discusses how his thinking about art-making has evolved over time, while addressing the constant fight for relevance, inspiration, and the tenacity needed to sustain a creative life.

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