Dynamic vs. Static

I have never before, at least not in memory, heard of ‘the tension between the dynamic and the static’. At the Portland Book Festival, we listened to Laura Da’ speak and read poetry. We were in the Portland Art Museum’s Native American Art gallery, and she referred to the various objects in cases, particularly the feathered headdress and gold lamé outfit beside her, as being dynamic objects forced to be static. This, she said, created a tension that we the observer must hold within us as we observe them.
Later in the day we heard music from Shostakovich. As we left the venue to re-locate our car, which was perched on the sixth floor of a Smart Park several blocks away, I said “I’ve got to listen to Shostakovich”. Reading his Wikipedia page, I happened upon this: “Shostakovich's musical influence on later composers outside the former Soviet Union has been relatively slight, although Alfred Schnittke took up his eclecticism and his contrasts between the dynamic and the static”.

Now, I believe in synchronicity as much as the next person, which is to say a lot. But it was odd that a concept such as this should make its debut in two very different places on the same day. In the first instance, I found it to be too literal. Yes clothes are supposed to be worn, felt, and seen, and containing them in a glass case makes them literally static. But this gives little credit to our imaginations, which are capable of giving movement to many a still-seeming thing.
In the second instance, the words are referring to music. We had heard excerpts from Shostakovich’s third string quartet. One piece remained with me: the very end of the fifth movement, Moderato. Three strings stay literally static, holding an F chord. The first violin weaves about them, hauntingly, longingly. This doesn’t just bring to mind the literal juxtaposition of the pedalled chord and the moving melody. To me, it evokes the stillness of depression and the madness of passion. A restrained hope and an inner, whirling desire. The boundless flight of imagination and the four walls of reality. It is a pure distillation of emotional conflict.
According to the Borodin Quartet, who worked closely with him, Shostakovich had written epithets for each movement of this piece. The fifth movement’s read thus: “The eternal question: Why? And for what?”