Chaconne #37 – August 2, Art New England program

A live performance for a session at Art New England, “The Mark and Beyond…” taught by ANE faculty Timothy Hawkesworth and Lala Zeitlyn.

This performance for their painting students, is one in which we explore how the live performance of the Chaconne will facilitate the artists’ access to individual creative places in their own bodies.  (Teaching this access is part of the expertise that Tim and Lala bring to their students).  Performed in their teaching studio at Bennington College, VAPA (Visual and Performing Arts) center.

We anticipate that the results of the artists’ work (photos) will be posted here in the blog at the end of this week.  Please check back with us on Sunday August 7th!

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This was a breathtaking experience for me.  The sound of the two studio rooms was something close to perfection, and had a profound influence on my pace of playing the music  – more freedom in time, more freedom in inflecting the music with intensity, with “emptiness”, and colors of sound.  We collected many shots of the artists’ work, and once we get a chance to process them I will share some here.

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2 Comments

  1. Pearl Rosenberg
    Posted August 3, 2017 at 2:00 am | Permalink

    Dear Shem,

    It has taken the rest of the day to put verbal language to the experience of drawing with you playing the Chaconne in Lala & Tim’s workshop this morning. The first thrilling moments of the piece seemed to accompany me in my drawing of our very much alive and generous model who was dancing in response to the music—the music of Bach! Inspired by the good fortune to be present for such communion, I pour some drops of water onto my drawing paper and the rich, dark tones of your violin seem to take root within my drawing, making the marks of my sepia crayon move gracefully across the page. But this seemingly easy and blessed beginning was not to be sustained. Although I continue to make numerous quick drawings on multiple pages of my drawing tablet, I am at the same time aware that I am feeling more robot-like in my efforts. I soon become aware that my attention is being pulled between wanting to focus on your performance and needing to focus on my drawing. I proceed to move in closer to the drawing, but almost immediately feel pulled to attend to the music. The push-pull of listening and looking is making it impossible to keep eye, mind, hand, heart, soul and ears in balance. I then see an image in my mind of the un-centered clay beginning to fly off the potter’s wheel. My mind wanders to how the model is doing this, how you, Shem, are doing this, how my studio mates are doing this. At the moment I think I might not want to do this anymore, you move slowly away from where I am drawing in one studio into the connecting studio space, continuing to play your violin as you walk. You and your violin have now “turned the corner”—the music is now in the background and I immediately regret wishing it gone. Shortly after this loss, I realize that the music becomes difficult to “hear” (figuratively now as well as literally), for I am hearing strains of sadness and anxiety in some of the bars. I write in the corner of one small drawing “NO CLOSURE.” The music seems to be on a speeding train making no stops.
    Toward the end of the piece, as if by magic, I become aware that 3 drawings seem to have appeared in my pile. Without even realizing it, I had changed from water crayon to water pencil and now see images that look as if I had merely breathed them into being. Surprisingly, I don’t even remember making them. By focusing on the music once and for all, the drawings just showed up. Tim speaks often of getting out of your own way as an artist in order to “allow for the visitation,” where drawings show up unexpectedly. So thank you for this opportunity to be reminded of this art-affirming practice, as well as the opportunity to co-create with you—a life-affirming practice. Pearl

  2. sgwp_a1
    Posted August 3, 2017 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    Pearl thank you for your generous words. The process you describe, of getting out of your own way, sometimes by “passing through” difficult and conflicting thoughts and feelings, is indeed the sort of experience that takes us the the place of empty mind, through which Source can more easily flow.

    I encounter that sort of conflict frequently, as do many musicians, when there is too much mental effort, or too many distracting thoughts as we play. In this performance I felt something like that in the 4th section of music, the Gigue, when I was in the other studio – my mind wanting to control and direct the fingers to make sure I “did it right”. Once I got into the last segment, the Chaconne itself, that disappeared.