|"Blind in Time" opens in the
year l961 and casts a glance from there across Mussmann's coming-of-age years.
Facts from her personal history are placed against the political backdrop of
the period from 1961 to 2001. The multi-media performance begins with Eisenhower's
farewell speech, his warning of the mighty military industrial complex looming
on America's future, Kennedy's inauguration, and America's first flight into
orbit around the earth. The performance space is washed with images and sounds
of the events that Mussmann has taken from actual footage. She cuts, chops, and
grinds history and intermixes it with her own. She searches for what has happened
to America during the last forty years as well as what has happened to her and
her partner as they have traveled into the 21st Century.
In this mid-time of life, Mussmann and Bruce remain artists/activists.
Their theater work is a reflection of the life and times and the art and
politics they have practiced since l969. The harsh censorship of the NEA
grants of l989/90 projected Mussmann and Bruce's Time & Space Limited
theater into a new awareness of the power of art and politics. They rejected
the grant that the NEA had awarded TSL and returned the $10,000, never to
be funded by the NEA again. They moved their theater company out of NYC to
look for a new way of sustaining their art.
In 1991, Mussmann and Bruce bought a building in an abandon
neighborhood in a hard-time river town called Hudson, New York (two hours
directly north of NYC). Time & Space Limited was re-born into an multi-disciplinary arts center
where many events take place year round including original theater pieces, art-house
film screenings, art exhibitions, documentary premières, dance and music
concerts, youth programs, and community events of all kinds.
Quite often, Mussmann and Bruce find themselves in the center of controversies
rooted in community issues such as drug problems, a poor education system, lack
of art for the community's youth, lack of funds for elderly people, and other
issues of importance. They have been challenged to address these issues by using
the arts as a tool to evoke discussion, debate, and remedies.
Politics continues to spice the theater work of Mussmann and Bruce. Since moving
away from the urban center of NYC and into the rural / suburban climate of Columbia
County, Mussmann and Bruce have become fascinated and fixated on their new home,
Hudson, NY, where fast food chains, Wal-Mart, mass industrial forces, and out-of-scale
developers have invaded the once rich rural Hudson Valley and threaten to transform
its uniqueness into the homogenized landscape that is so often found outside
In 196l, Mussmann was a high school freshman in rural Indiana.
in Time", she looks back and forward and mixes her personal past and personal
present with the public events of the last forty years in America. She speaks
hopes inspired by the president and the poet (Kennedy and Frost) whom she watched
on TV as a young woman. She speaks of her teenage chaos--of beer and cigarettes,
driving fast and learning to rock n' roll. She writes of looking to get out
of the wasteland of rural America and find a new life. And part of that journey
brought her and Claudia together. In 2001, they are celebrating 25 years of
"Blind in Time"
is an example of how Mussmann and Bruce use art as a solution and a way of
surviving. They urge all artists to become activists and to channel their
creativity to challenge the politics of destruction. As Ike reminded us:
"We--you and I--and our government--must avoid the impulse to live only
for today, plundering for our own ease and convenience the precious resources
of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without
asking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage. "Claudia
Bruce acts as the translator who sings, speaks, and interprets the text, weaving
the parts together while Mussmann simultaneously directs and manipulates projections
and live camera to create a passionate take on the sights and sounds of their