Although my creative process feels remade in the making of each work, I have long sketched my pieces visually and narratively before translating to notation. The growing shelves of sketchbooks in my studio often hold my favorite moment (or version) of a composition, one of potential and plurality, rather than the specificity of fixedness inherent in a completed notated work. Perhaps my affinity is because these fragments do not live in a single dimension, but conflate much of what motivates the work with the piece’s vocabulary in a blurred and messy amalgam – specific moments in time, unpolitic emotion, obsessive engagement with sound, treasured found text/objects, and all manner of language (unencumbered by social function) comingling with imagined gestures.
This summer I attempted to keep a work in this form – to give a version (more refined and abstracted) of this material to an ensemble. I am not sure what it is…the score seems part journal, part narrative, part graphic score. It is too large and fragile to be physically present for performances, so another layer of interpretation and abstraction is necessary: it is being presented in video format. The visual elements of the projected score are intended to create a shared framework of experience for performing musicians and the audience – a type of narrative environment. I do not work regularly with these improvising musicians [the Nodes Project] but I wanted a means of creating touchpoints of vivid, desired affect (narrative and visual structural elements) while still creating an open space for collaboration and improvisation. And for the emerging vocabulary to be communicative, I wanted the audience to be invited into that same shared space. The ‘piece’ lives somewhere between structured improvisation, visual art, and prose – or perhaps it lives in none of those places. But the process of making was physical and satisfying in a way that I had missed recently – letting myself spend all of my time in the potential and the tactile without the need to translate into fixed-ness.
My gratitude to the Nodes Project (Andrew Rathbun, John Hébert, Keith Hall and Christopher Biggs), for giving me the opportunity and openness to explore these ideas. I’m sharing the full text and a panorama of the first half of the physical score here, in hopes of letting it live just a moment more in a slightly different dimension...
a Child storm
ill-fitted to the world
supine, drinking in the shuddering light / nerves raw from seeking
the rift of her moving knitting sluggishly each time she quiets
it becomes almost arduous speak – in the cacophonous near-silence
to encroach on that opaque whole-ness of it all with her artless ululation
enticed and repulsed – in captive orbit
Daughter steals the fragile leavings
her assemblage, anesthetized, degrades at each caress
its impermanence, momentarily, allowing her coalescence
her deficiency mirrored
immersed – story, language, song
a Woman gnaws at simple bindings
wielding phrases of borrowed armor
perhaps she is less divergent in her abstraction, her cultivation
perhaps she is simply less in the world
the ripples of her awkward movements abated
perhaps over years she neglects her discordance
teeth set, lined eyes creasing
mouth sutured against admission
arrays and ciphers, translating her gray incongruencies
into kaleidoscopes of color
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