By Hans Objectivitus
In Gottfried Bürger's poem, Lenore (1774), the eponymous heroine waits for her lover, William, to return home with his battalion. She's prayed to God that he will. When he doesn't, she curses God for the betrayal and there follows a quick knock on the door. It's William. "Come quickly," he says, "to be married." They fly away on horseback until he, sheding clothes and skin, plunges them into a grave.
In the dance piece, Lenore, the poem becomes a Vanitas, where value and meaning adhere to objects despite the impossibility of possession, the certainty of death, and what desire for an object might mean allegorically.
An object that Lenore longs for, feels due, and is proposed a future by, represents an aspect of the lover who doesn’t return - i.e. herself possessed of the happiness it'd surely bring her. When the future that the object seemed to promise doesn't arrive, Lenore, in her frustration, curses “God” (the forces of her imagination that promised it), and lo! A knock at the door! “William” appears and they ride off to fulfill expectations until he reveals himself to be an aspect of Death (caused by the fatal object-inspired belief in a fantastical future) and they charge the grave. In the dance version, at this final moment, Lenore is distracted by factors related to her own reality-compression (she can't sustain the fantasy), and she escapes the grave to find herself at home, where another object sets in motion another longing.
It doesn’t matter what the objects are; a beach umbrella, a fruit bowl, a flyswatter, or a padlock... She longs for a freedom that she imagines the objects promise her: freedom through elegance, through bounty, through killing, through security. Once on the "wedding path" with "William" nothing else addresses the particulars of that freedom.
Here, failure works for Lenore in spite of herself. As the ambitions and freedoms the objects inspire in her go unfulfilled, a perspective is further defined by the idealism the objects evoke in her. The denial of her idealism strengthens her notion of the failure while highlighting the solipsism of it, setting off a struggle between humility and false humility, the inventiveness of failure and the absence of invention. Distraction opens the escape for Lenore, and fatigue brings her out of the labyrinth and back into the world. Objects offer Lenore a chance shift her position relative to memory and time.