20 March 2013

Progress: Buoyant Echo . . .

Beginning a new project is always really exciting. I start seeing inspiration everywhere. The above picture was taken of a sale rack at an Old Navy in Plano, Texas over Christmas Break. I wasn't particularly fond of the clothes, but the colors and arrangements of stripes throughout the mass of hangers was appealing to me. And rightfully so: have you seen the colors and patterns I've been working with since I was--oh--in preschool? 

Check out the drawing below that I made when I was 4. 

Heeeelllllooo color palette I've been obsessed with for-freakin-ever . . . (Apparently I'm a big fan of kissing as well. Shocker.)

Buoyant Echo began in July of last year. It is a collaboration between myself and Corey Newton, a friend of mine in Nashville. The project has been steadily growing over the past few months, most notably our first show in dual galleries at the Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center coming up in July and August. This will be our kickoff performance leading up to the large, water-based main performance in Singapore.

Part of how this project will work is that it will be toured. The main work will be performed and filmed in Singapore with additional shows planned for cities like Manila, Austin, Melbourne, and Baltimore. As this performance piece travels from city to city, it changes and grows with each new place becoming a traveling menagerie of characters morphing and localizing to each new city. 

And while the piece won't necessarily be performed on water in each of these cities, there will be the hint of water at each performance. 

Water is a major influence on the work I create as an artist in Singapore. I live on an island now. It rains almost every single day. I keep my head wrapped daily because water has always been the enemy. I travel to other islands. I spend time at beaches. I take hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of pictures of water: beautiful, multi-blue water. 

So water is the launching point for Buoyant Echo. 

Five musicians will be playing their instruments in imaginative, celebratory costuming and floating to shore each in their own round boat. The boats will be pulled in playfully by dancing children, using big beautiful ribbons. The audience will be directed to play handmade instruments in response to the musicians coming to shore. Once the musicians reach the shore, everyone is playing music together and a celebratory party takes place: mingling artists and musicians, audience members and participants, children and adults.

Please listen to experimental excerpts and rough cuts found on our Buoyant Echo Soundcloud station (see above). 

Floating sound = Buoyant Echo

We recently turned in a big proposal for Buoyant Echo to take place at the M1 Singapore Fringe Festival. I created some preliminary sketches for some of the set pieces. Did I mention there would be an elephant? There will be an elephant. On wheels in Kentucky and on a round boat in Singapore. 

Not a live elephant, but just as large. I am building it out of wood and cardboard and canvas. I made some preliminary watercolors of what he could potentially look like, below. I'm playing with what types of materials will make up the texture on his skin. His name is Rooster. I am wanting him to be quite playful looking, and fabric-like. 

We won't hear back about the festival until mid-June. So cross your fingers and your toes for us! 

Along with planning the sets and costuming for around 20 people, I am also constantly thinking about audience participation. Not only will handmade musical instruments be available for them to play, but I am thinking about nontraditional things that make sound all while looking beautiful. For example: giant paper cranes. How beautiful would it be to hear music coming in off the water while audience members made giant paper cranes flock together and take flight? Can you imagine the visual that would create? I get chills just thinking about it . . . 

So that's where we are so far . . . Progress rocks! 

More about the collaboration behind Buoyant Echo can be found on our tumblr site. And images inspiring the work can be found on our Pinterest board. 

Stay tuned!

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