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PROCESSIONAL ETHICS: WILLIAM KENTRIDGE’S MORE SWEETLY PLAY THE DANCE

William Kentridge, More Sweetly Play the Dance, 2015, eight-channel HD video (color, sound, 15 minutes), megaphones. Installation view, Marian Goodman Gallery, New York, 2016. Photo: Stephen White.

THE DAY DIES SUDDENLY in the heat of Bombay. The late breezes coming off the sea blow a shadowed light across a city that moves at the pace of its pedestrians—twenty-two million on the streets every day. Like nowhere else I have ever lived, the sound of feet marks the time of day, the mood of the hour. Small steps rushing to school in late morning; the dragging scrape of load-bearing men and women throughout the day; the shuffling thud and tread of bare feet everywhere, all the time. Late evening approaches and crowds slowly flatten into dark shapes moving against the last evening light; as if from nowhere, the city turns into a throng of processions. Processions for saints and politicians; processions of protest and prayer; wedding processions and public demonstrations. Evicted slum dwellers carrying their meager possessions to yet another “illegal” site; ecstatic devotees

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