1. INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND
For as long as I can remember, I have been a maker of things and a spinner of stories. Someone who likes to share news, events, ideas, presented in a creative way as filtered through the many lenses of my interests and existence. As a storyteller, even as a child I intuitively used my voice, my gestures, props (found and fabricated) to help illustrate whatever it was, reality or fiction, that I was trying to convey to my audience, to those around me.
As a child I never thought about whether or not these were separate disciplines or what a discipline was; if the puppet helped to tell the story, then the puppet was part of the story, and if that puppet sang then the voice was part of the puppet; if the puppet happened to be a potato, then the potato became a creature, more than a root vegetable with makeshift eyes and mouth. All elements came together in a sort of Theatre of Confluence, a term I came across years later as an undergraduate in Canadian composer R. Murray Schafer's course at Concordia University in Montreal. Schafer describes the Theatre of Confluence as “a theatre in which all the arts are fused together, but without negating the strong and healthy character of each” (Schafer 26).
It was mostly by chance that singing became the centre of my activities; deemed the “most important” of the things that I do because it seemed at the time necessary to specialize, to declare something to be the one thing. It was through formal studies that I learned that all of these things are separate, different, have lives of their own. Live in their own little boxes. While I do discount the importance of the attention to detail that focusing for a period of time on a specific discipline affords, the following research aims to highlight strategies for cultivating and maintaining an integrated approach to project design, creation and execution through a breadth of awareness of the various elements, physical, visual as well as sonic, that make up a whole performance.
In the textile museum in Brussels, there is a corner dedicated to the work of the Belgian dancer and multidisciplinary artist Marguerite Acarin, known as Akarova. I visited the museum in 2014. I had never heard of her or her work, but I was drawn into the exhibition by a large quotation which reads:
“For me painting, sculpture, music, dance, poetry were never disciplines independent of one another.”
This resonates with me. I tend to look for the common thread in my experience whether it be in everyday life or in a performance setting; connecting a similar feeling or essence that can be found in multiple forms, sonic, physical, visual, tactile. Through an embodied approach to interdisciplinary creation researched from the perspective of a performing musician, a tuning of the awareness towards these connecting points can strengthen presentation style and performance context, leading to wholistic creation experiences that draw on elements beyond the sonic.