Merging Video, Theater, and Drawing

The ideas for this Falling/Shaking project are continuing to pour out at an incredible rate.  I have an overwhelming amount of nervous energy that I’m trying to keep under control so that I can write everything down.  It’s a feeling which is exhilarating and nerve-wracking at the same time.  I feel like my brain has been on fire for the past 2 days and I can’t stop thinking. As I type this post , I can feel that my hands are clammy from the intensity of these thoughts. I think the last time I felt this strongly about a new project was back in 2004 when I started working on my MFA thesis project, which was such a major shift from my previous way of working. I see my previous projects Digging, Waiting, and Wading as being very closely related to each other, while Falling/Shaking would take themes from those previous projects and make a major push in a completely  new direction.

Last night I was on the treadmill at the gym, again with my mind racing through various ideas.  It occurred to me that perhaps the way to indirectly bring time-based media into this process would be for me to actually shoot raw video footage that I can observe and use as a reference to make drawings, very much the way that I create sculptures to draw from.  Immediately my mind accelerated to thinking about my friend Marianna Bassham, who is an amazing stage actress and who commands an extraordinary range in terms of the physicality in acting. You can read my blog post about Marianna’s award-winning performance I saw last March in the SpeakEasy Stage Company production “Blackbird”.

Two people (Bates Wilder and Marianna...

(above) Marianna Bassham in her award-winning role in  SpeakEasy’s production “Blackbird” from last March.

Then it all flooded together: I would write a “script” of body gestures for Marianna to interpret and film her performance from multiple angles. I would take the video footage and give it after effects similar to qualities in my drawings that I look for: black and white, grainy, atmospheric, and textured.  Then I would create drawings from the video footage; this part of the process seems the most unclear as to how I would go about doing it, but just thinking about it has me energized and inspired.  In the past I’ve always worked with traditional media, and I have to say that I’m a little shocked that 1)I’m thinking about using time-based media and 2)I’m thinking of collaborating with someone in another field. I feel like I always read about artists who collaborate with other artists in other fields, but this is the first time I’ve ever genuinely had the desire to work this way.

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