Tuesday, September 12, 2006

In the Water

For five years I've been swimming.

pool_wideAs a graduate student at Mills College, I took to the water almost daily as an escape from my studies, though ironically, in the pool I found yet another facet of music. Counting laps and measuring the breath between strokes is its own kind of musical activity and may explain why so many musicians swim, even if we lack the polished form and grace of a true athlete. What really impresses me about swimming--as a metaphor for life and learning--is that it can only be learned by jumping in and doing it. One does not learn to swim by sitting with a notebook on one knee, plotting structures and designs, or by discussing the merits of form and function over a cup of coffee. To swim...one simply has to swim.

Sometimes when I speak of just jumping in and doing things (for example, I often have an artistic idea whose realization requires the use of technology in which I am relatively inexperienced) my enthusiasm elicits skepticism. The "norm" is to acquire knowledge through years of study and training--experience derives from a method--and throwing oneself into something completely new and seeing what the hell might happen upsets the logic of that revered, formal approach. But I wonder, which is more true to the definition of experience, that is: to try? A classical pianist playing with all sorts of audio and visual new media? Why not? Twenty years ago I practiced Bach Inventions, and if you had asked me then if my "practice" would evolve to include a video camera, a polished piece of ebony and a box of matches, yes, I would have thought you were crazy. But now I see such actions as the continuing swim: I jumped in, discovered a natural ability in the water, and just keep logging the miles.

All this just to say [gleefully] that 2& will be Artists-in-Residence at Stanford University this fall term, from September 25 - Dec 8. The residency is [wow!] in the Experimental Media Arts department, though I definitely hope to collaborate with people in the CCRMA as well. You see [sigh of relief] I am still a pianist at heart. At Stanford 2& plans to present our installation piece (see below) as well as engage in many other surprising activities.

And furthermore...

2& will present the performance installation Audible Memory (Triptych #1) at California College of Arts in October. We will likely place the installation component of the piece just beyond the main entrance of the San Francisco campus, and from Monday through Friday (October 16-20) visitors will have the opportunity to view and interact with our work. At the end of the week (Saturday October 21) we will perform live on the Echo de Pensées series, using material culled from the installation. Audible Memory examines the complexity of "remembering" sound (and in particular, spoken text) from coolly technological as well as somewhat nostalgic perspectives. Audio, collected, remembered and transformed, provides the basis for a musical structure. Here's a peek at something of the Visual.


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