Waking Up, Waking Down

August 18, 2016

Waking Up, Waking Down is a montage of sound and image that exemplifies generative outcomes as consequence of collaborative play. My daughter, Lucy, was learning pentatonic melodies (tunes generated from 5 note scales) on the recorder at school. The melody emerged after several months of me listening to her learning these simple recorder songs.


We began experimenting together, integrating notes from the scale with more sophisticated rhythmic meters (moving between 3/4 and 7/8 time signatures). We arrived on a tune and then practiced it over and over until the song was as much a part of our bodies as the instruments we were playing.


The real fun began when we decided to record the melody. You can always count on the open, unencumbered mind of a 9-year-old to come up with the most novel ideas. We sat together to lay down the first track, which was the tune performed on the recorder. The melody rang so true that we decided to keep things simple by replicating rather than harmonising the tune, overlaying the violin track and adding rhythm instrumentation to ground the mix.


Much time was spent listening for the spaces between the notes to discover the story wanting to be told and the instruments that would do the telling. In the end, the mix combined live and pre-recorded samples with natural sounds that could help tell the story.


What began as an 'in house' collaboration rapidly turned into a global one as we began reviewing stock footage from a reputable website for which we paid a membership fee to join. Here we had access to the artistic brilliance of others and began layering their visual narratives on top of the musical one that was emerging.


Abstraction is of course open for interpretation, but we did have a storyline in mind. We felt the tune itself reflected the beauty we regularly experience whilst frolicking in Wilsons Creek, a favourite rainforest locale up in the Byron Bay hinterland of northern New South Wales, Australia.


I am pretty certain that Lucy's class teacher had no idea she was part of a design process that would have far-reaching, unintended and novel outcomes. She planted a seed, which is a fruitful reminder that we are all in a constant state of collaborative co-creation, whether or not consciously aware of when and to what degree it is taking place. This brings to mind Einstein's most elegant Theory of Relativity - matter curves time-space, and time-space moves matter...


To complete the collaborative cycle, we invite you as audience to share your interpretations of what you hear and see in this short piece. Lucy and I will sit down together and reflect on what you share, and then use your insights to inform our next co-creative endeavour together. To share your coordinates in our 'time-space continuum', please add comments below…


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