One of the main reasons I enjoyed being a part of theater groups growing up and now why I pursue performance projects is the chance to collaborate with others. While I find myself interesting enough most of the time, I am not really the reason why I choose to engage in artistic endeavors, and I find the micro-community that is created through a project incredibly fulfilling both creatively and socially. I find myself continually amazed, shocked and inspired by the things other people can do - and the things you didn't even estimate - and the pressurized environment of a performance can be a great opportunity to make those things come out of the woodwork.
100 ACRE was a project inherently about collaboration, first and foremost being about the relationship between me and four of my close friends, JESS HIRSCH, JACQUELINE MENTION, ERIN PERRY and CRYSTAL WILLER. We created the piece by all reading the Winnie-the-Pooh books and sharing images, words and ideas from them that we liked (and didn't like) and things we related to in them. We spent time remembering our own stories and memories from over the years and connecting with each other about them in ways both comfortable and uncomfortable for us. It was a different and risky endeavor for all of us and I think very meaningful.
Us with Matt (who contributed his musical + photography skillz to this project as well) two years ago before he left for Princeton.
Before I even had any idea of what the piece was to become, when I thought it would be an experiential tea party, I knew I wanted to involve scents from OLO, ceramic wares from GRETCHEN VAUDT and music by LINDSAY KAPLAN. As the piece evolved, so did those collaborations, and I couldn't have been more pleased with the results.
I asked LINDSAY KAPLAN if she would play and/or create music, and the process of creating an original score in many ways defined my process and ultimately set such a wonderful tone for the piece. Lindsay was very patient with my having absolutely no idea what the end result of the project would look like and plodding along through abstract ideas and sonic inspirations. Her "light touch," wonderful personality and musical talent got us singing together, speaking in gibberish and in funny voices. I hope to get the musical tracks online soon. She records her own music under the name KAYA ONEIDA, snippets of which are here or on her own website .
(Kaya Oneida performing at The Third Side last December at PWNW, which we were also a part of!)
I am very interested in involving sensory manipulations and experiences in performance, as I think scent is oft-neglected and underutilized. I am a little obsessed with exploring this partially because I struggle with my own sense of smell - it seems to register in different tones than how most people experience it. Heather Sielaff, the mastermind behind OLO FRAGRANCE (website here) created two fragrances: THE FOREST, a pine spray that infiltrated the entire gallery and set the audience's initial experience of the piece, and THE ENCHANTED PLACE, a cake scent infused in the string that was in our hair and around the audience's sandwiches, and in the fabric we pulled out to make our tent in the final vignette - the Enchanted Place. She is planning on selling The Forest spray at Nationale in the near future!
I didn't know GRETCHEN VAUDT personally before this project, but I knew I loved her ceramic pieces that are for sale at Nationale and Una. She is also a photographer, a wonderful person with an awesome house and I'm sure is filled with a myriad of talents I will hopefully learn in the future. (She is working on a website.) I commissioned her to make honey pots for the show and she produced simple, evocative vessels both childlike and sophisticated that looked beautiful on their own and filled with golden honey.
Lastly, miss May Juliette Barruel of the new new Nationale - Portland has a gem in this gallery/jewelbox of a shop and I was blessed with the opportunity to make a show for her space. I am happy to have a developing friendship, as well!
(Self-portrait by May.)