Jillian Rose performance installation at Brooklyn Wayfarers Gallery, Feb 22-March 17, 2013
Jillian Rose, whose paintings and drawings floored me the first time I saw them at Brooklyn Wayfarers Gallery a few years ago, asked me to help her direct the performance component of her show “You Grew Into Me”:
“You Grew Into Me attempts to express the relationship we have with our memories – how they shape us and, in turn, what it takes to transform them. The show will feature works on stretched paper, which form a life-sized tree made up of dense and intricate line work. The tree is wired with microphones and will be performed percussively (accompanied by voice and violin) at the opening and closing receptions. The walls are lined with found bottles filled with preserved notes, old letters received or never sent, poems and mementos – memories suspended in amber liquid time capsules.”
My challenge as a multimedia space-time warper (composer/performance director) was to find a performance structure and also the music that would lure our audience onto an emotional journey along a path parallel (in twists and turns, heights and depths) to that Jillian embarked upon in the creation of this very personal work, to invite the audience to embark upon a similar journey themselves.
We decided on this format: I start tuning my violin from a perch atop the doorframe, while two percussionists tap the paper tree in the middle of the room. Jillian steps up to the paper tree-table and reads one of her preserved notes out loud. The musicians respond in music to the emotional content of the preserved note. The cycle repeats six times as the musicians lead the audience through a variety of timbres and sensations brought about by Jillian’s disembodied mementos.
The percussionists I gathered to play with me on Jillian’s tree-drawing-drum are: Jessie Nelson, Van Alexander, and Sebhia Marie Dibra.
This is a video I made from my violinist’s perch atop the doorframe on the opening night performance.
The closing party performance [March 17th, 2013 at 7:30 pm at Brooklyn Wayfarers Gallery, 1109 DeKalb Ave, Brooklyn NY.] used different preserved memento texts and drew the audience over a very differently shaped emotional arc, this time ending more humbly on a sudden peaceful musical fade out. This performance was documented by Hana Crawford. Video forthcoming.