While finalizing music, the need for a public statement of some sort always appears. I have previously done this in many different ways. Release gig (sure), release tours (yeah), paid promotion through SoMe networks (yup), silent release, betting on the grapevine effect (of course), music video (yes), and on and on and on.
There is another world of work opening up when something is to be presented. That world demands effort, as well. In addition to the efforts already made. In my case, I have tried more or less everything there is, and all methods, to some degree, work. So, that’s fine. I get stuff out, and feedback comes back in. I would like, though, to get my listeners a bit closer, or rather, would like them to view my work in a way that aligns with my idea of what I present.
Sometimes it works by simply putting the result on YouTube, and pushing it through all channels available, paid and unpaid, contests, networks and so on, but I have this nagging feeling of internet attention span, that it in reality has put a limit (perhaps vague, but still present) on what I can do and cannot do while showcasing something online; that the very idea of accessibility is also something that goes in the way of our ability to focus, to take in new (by which I simply mean something not seen before) things, or spend the time necessary to go down that lane your brain has not been before. It is hard, and can be tiresome, I’ll acknowledge that…
With that background, I decided to explore further, by creating a music video that is in many ways the very opposite of a usual YouTube success, and as such, it is not intended to be viewed on YouTube at all. In fact, I made a box for it, a separate installation piece, an alien shape made from construction foam, valchromat, glass, mirrors, drain pipes, Raspberry Pi 4 + LCD screen, in which the video lives, happily looping forever, with a headset providing audio for whoever wants to have a look or a listen. The reasoning behind it was that I wanted the video to be a cyclical thing, something that can repeat endlessly, to allow viewers to enter, and exit, at random intervals, watching 15 sec here, 30 sec there, which, when considering that the video is 17 minutes long in total, means that the chance of seeing something else while hearing the same thing, is strong. To achieve the wanted results, I connected to strangers via my professional network (distance), hired two dancers (trust), a Danish master student at KHiO and a Norwegian professional from Stavanger, booked a dance hall (trust), brought my usual videographer (known factor), and made a short choreography (distance). Amateur choreography, that is, I have no previous experience in this, and the only idea was to give certain cues to the dancers during the three minutes of the track itself. Then, they were asked to improvise, or “interpret by memory” the previous choreography, before handing over the dance to the other person (trust).
We did three takes each. I do not remember which ones were used, but they all worked (success!). The final part of the video is an overlay of the videos, which is really the apex of the idea itself: it looks like a choreographed couples dance, and at the same time, both dances have a very soloistic approach, and feel, in that they, at certain moments, almost mirror each other’s movements, and they both give the effect of being the shadow of the other.
Now that I write this and look at my installation piece next to me, it looks like a stalagmite rising from the floor. It might as well have been something found in a cave hundreds of meters below the earth’s surface. My goal was to put into words how trust in others, and also how this trust allows us to move into unknown territory, both creating a distance in an artistic process by reaching further and looking elsewhere. At the same time this searching for “something else” closes that distance gap inversely, by giving us trust in a process, through actual experience. In the creation of both lyrics, music, video and installation, this attitude has been fundamental. Througout the entire creative process behind this track, a mere three minutes long, but in reality, the distillation of work lasting for months, I worked to incorporate as many new connections as possible, both human, but also connected to skill and allowing the reason for why evolve and lead the way to more new ideas for future work. Still, the essence of it feels like it’s evading me. I find it hard to put into words how the connection between trust and distance works, so instead I would like to finish this piece by stating that the entire thing came to be, because I believe that: when I ask someone to participate, known or unknown, they participate to the best of their ability. If I then, in return, use that same logic when I assess the material I have received, or collected, or discovered, there can be no fault to it. Going from there, it should be possible to create a creative map, or a [NONAME]-machine, in which the points of interest, or basic elements of creation, is not defined by highs or lows, by topography, by genre, likeability or any other means of comparative measure, but rather by answering a simple question: does this come from a best effort by the contributor, and is my response resonating on that same level, ie. am I responding to the best of my own efforts?