New Brunswick is not simply defined by the presence of a colorful array of people, but also by the contemplations of lives and dreams of these people. These thoughts, specifically dreams, are incredibly revealing about what shapes the world or rather civilizations that constantly change around us. The very first challenge of this collaboration would be to capture actual dreams.
We resolved to find that I would just find a digital tape recorder and go to our location, George Street, and ask random people for their permission to interview them about what their dreams in life are. I immediately got on the first order of business and interviewed about 8 random people and marked the spot in which I interviewed each person. We decided we would pick our favorite 5 and go from there.
In order to really get the full effect of the dreams of New Brunswick, specifically George Street, Truman and I decided the best way to embody these dreams would be through music. To really personify these random New Brunswick dreams we needed to find some sort of system by which the dreams had some input on the outcome of the music. I could just as simply have solely played whatever each dream made me feel and personally convey it through any means of music, but the challenge of this project is to relinquish control and thus allow collaboration between Truman, the actual dreams and myself.
The most challenging part of this project was deciding exactly what system we could utilize that incorporates the free will of each dream. We had no intention of creating a product that wasn’t in some way shaped by the will of the dreams. We decided that the most effective way of doing this would be to take any keyboard and put the letters of the alphabet starting on the high end of the keyboard in succession to the low end so it went in order from a to z. However, I decided while executing this that it would be more suitable to keep the succession of letters strictly in the key of B. This would allow for some confinement to make sure each song produced a feel or emotion instead of straight chaos, which we wanted a bit of. The system or plan would be that I could only use the keys with the letters that correspond to the current dream. For example, if the dream was work with dogs we would isolate the main subject, in this case dogs, and use the keys on the keyboard that spelled out the word dogs to create an original song for each one of our highlighted dreams. Our dreams/songs included Dogs, Law School, Sail Around Europe, Chemist, and Create.
We knew that the execution of these songs would be vital to the outcome of this project. Since it was my job to create these songs I made sure that I had a full 24 hours to lock myself in a room and produce. Luckily, 2 of my best friends decided that they would love nothing more than to lock up and create until we had finished the project. After explaining the importance of strictly sticking to the keys that spelled out the dreams, we immediately got to work. Using only what we had around us for percussion, a keyboard, and a MacBook we spent hours fidgeting and fumbling with the series of dreams and notes that the dreams had themselves called for. By sticking strictly to this system I was able evoke not only a mood, but a song that I created that was ultimately governed by the words that came out of the mouths of the people interviewed on George Street, New Brunswick. We came up with some short yet sweet little sounding songs that each has a completely different feel. As soon as I had realized that I was pleased with the material, it felt like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. I instantly felt that the project was really beginning to build momentum, it was going to be exactly what we had set out to do. And judging by the yardstick of collaboration, we seriously succeeded.
We had succeeded not only in collaboration with New Brunswick, and us but also in uniting us all under the umbrella of humanity. By walking the class to each interview spot and asking everyone individually what their dreams are in comparison to the ones gathered by random New Brunswick citizens we succeeded in revealing how similar we all really are and how important it really is to accept people for who they really are, where they are from, who they are from, and even what they are about. I think people saw how similar their dreams actually seem to be. It also speaks truth about our lives and puts in perspective what we are really trying to accomplish. For example, what does it mean to get pay if your not happy at the end of the day? To me the songs speak volumes in the absence of speech. To me they say, “ Life is too short, live for what makes you happy. Any dream is possible. It just takes passion”.
Monday, March 29, 2010
So far, I would say this is most definitely the most fun project to execute that Hannah has given us and I was pretty excited to try it out. Unfortunately, my sister came home and I had to go to New Hampshire, but as soon as i got back i went to get started on this even though the weather was pretty terrible. The first car i followed a white suv made its way to the mall and so i followed. It was a dark young woman that proceeded to enter the mall through barnes and noble. Now i knew i had to be very careful about exposing my cover and concealing my camera so i waited until she went out into the hallways of the mall and started snapping away for about 20 minutes. Turns out this woman came just to walk around and get a work out so i could tell she was starting to notice me when a bit on the third loop around the mall so i pretended that my camera was just a big cell phone and pretended i was lost. She took a turn down a hall that was an old food court and i knew it would be too noticeable if i followed so i stalled on my phone until she made her way back toward me at this point she was super close to me and the picture I will post shows how close i was and the funny part is that for some reason when i turned my cam on for that pic the flash must have come back on because it flashed all over her hahha and she definitely knew i had just took a pic of her and she turned around and was like wtf??? I pretended I didnt mean to take it and she started asking me all these questions and I finally told her it was an experiment and bolted. That one was the most fun out of all of the people i followed. Anyway, aside from getting caught I decided to approach this in the same way that Sophie Calle originally approached it. I simply decided I would follow anyone that caught my eye for any reason that i felt plausible and when i get tired of it I will move on and completely forget them. I enjoyed the excitement of the voyeur but i still felt i needed more control then to actually follow one person and let them take me by the leash wherever their day chooses. I found that following multiple people however was not very exciting or interesting although it allowed me to feel like i was in control. What I discovered was that people in this town are boring as shit. I definitely need to do a part two where i pick one person at complete random and follow them unconditionally for a while and really see where it takes me. I thought doing multiple people would be exciting but I think what I realized is that in order to get the full effect i need to build more of a connection to this someone the way that sophie did. She was talking about how she almost felt obsessive and consumed and when I did my own stalking i realized that it needs to be one person. I also realized how difficult it can be to actually follow someone without being noticed, the one person i originally decided to follow noticed me so i definitely needed the practice.
Posted by Stife at 6:57 AM
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Monday, March 8, 2010
So since Hannah wanted this project to have some personal significance i decided to try something that had to do with my passion for music. I happen to enjoy music in every way possible way from creating it to simply being an avid listener. Nothing puts a smile on my face like music can when I stumble across a new sound or something original. When thinking about how to do a musical installation, I naturally came across some terribly difficult ideas like a listening booth or just like a pair of headphones, a play button, and a response book. I thought it would be neat to see what kind of emotions I could evoke through some of my own small scale recordings, but then I decided I wanted to have people really participate in the creation of the music so I decided to strategically place a blank piece of sheet music that says add a note...any note.. and so now we wait to see what will happen. I need to wait a little bit so my next post will have the pictures and the sheet music.
Posted by Stife at 8:15 AM