I am because you are
I recently participated in 2018 OtherLands.OtherSounds inter-disciplinary residency in Góis (Portugal) where visual artists and musicians collaborated over a two week period. A truly expansive experience that included innovative creatives hailing from USA, UK, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, France, Spain and Portugal.
Chloe Lam (Hong Kong) a vocal performer who has just completed her studies in Historical Performance at Guildhall in London collaborated with me on a project titled I am because you are. Early on in the residency we were assigned to smaller groups where musicians and visual artists experimented and improvised. The outcome of these mini-collaborations culminated in new work where musicians often performed live with newly created video pieces by visual artists.
Initially, I started recording Chloe's incredible voice whilst she was improvising with Bozhana Karadalieva (Bulgaria). Singing the word 'love' 'care' and 'compassion' in Bulgarian, I was immediately transported by her voice, sparking a new collaborative concept in my own mind. We proceeded to do a collaborative sound drawing of this (practice) recording on sheets of small paper sourced from an abandoned paper factory nearby. I translated the drawings into a 2-meter wearable skirt which I wore in the physical performance held in the same abandoned paper factory. The words ''love' 'care' and 'compassion' - previously expressed in Bulgarian - were re-translated into Chinese by Chloe onto her paper dress worn whilst singing.
As Chloe Lam circles me in the performance she repeatedly sings the word Ubuntu, a Zulu & Xhosa word which captures the essential essence of 'I am because we are.'
The performance comments on our global socio-political responsibility towards the environment at large. In particular, it points towards the fragility of the inter-relatedness that exists between humans and nature. This fragile relationship is heightened and exposed through both the visuals and sound of the 8 min/11 sec video piece.
I am because you are (2018) was captured as a video piece by Beatriz M. Barrio (Spain) with sound capturing done by Filipe Sousa (Portugal / UK).
View the full performance here on Vimeo