“Is art a message packed up in a medium and then something we receive?” Colin Clark is sure that this depiction of art is too simple by far. For one, no one has the same feelings or the same thoughts when they look at an artwork. And when you try to tell someone else what you experienced, they may hear or visualize something totally different.
The idea of translation of art may therefor be ‘a hopeless thing’ as Clark points out, but an active, participatory experience has great independent worth because it creates new artworks through the simple act of doing, of acting, of experiencing. No, we may not all have the same experience. Listening to classical music may be different for someone hard of hearing or deaf.
Yet, we can all simply love the experience we do have; one we partly create ourselves.
Charles: “Even when you can’t hear or see, there is nothing redundant, nothing missing: a piece can be expressed by audio, video, vibration- you’re not always getting the information from one source.”
The participants in the workshop receive cards with which to make a musical composition. It is a layered experience. Making music isn’t necessarily making sound. Inaction counts as an action of some sorts. Anything, really, counts as music in this circle. You can scratch your nose, you can do a duet. You can breathe and walk around.
The cards tell the musicians to breathe three times, make their action, breathe three times, make their second action, breathe three times and so on.
Clarke tells them to read it softly, sing it, say it aloud, chant, move around… People pick up a variety of hand held instruments.
Someone asks what do we do when we can’t move most of our body?
Clark is ready for this too and Cathy explains that anyone can dance with their mind, dance with their eyes, dance with someone who *can* move and direct them. Everyone is included in the performance.
For the last piece people are asked to pick a partner, in their mind, and act every time their partner acts. The following piece leads to much hilarity as two people have picked each other and repeat their sounds in an ever quickening pace of laughing sounds and rattling little bells. When Spencer acts, it is to drag the chair away from Mohsen as he continues drumming, and they go back and forth accompanied by hysterical laughter that stops as the musician starts to get tired.
It’s truly a performance where musicians themselves, each on their own and together with their partner, construct a lively, beautiful, surprising piece of music. It’s a fun experience and a good end to a long week.