The pandemic, the shock that has hit the health of our global community, has led to some drastic contractions of our economic processes and is also inspiring an expansion of our emotional practices. Like many artists I have experienced the cancellation of gigs and, seeing the diary empty out, has resulted in a couple of opposing personal responses.
One initial feeling is the immediate sharp intake of breath when considering the loss in earnings. But, and I think this more important to me at the moment, the other is a feeling of empathic and raw emotions in response to the human cost as the virus sweeps the globe.
Once I’d emerged from the initial panic and the locked-down feelings that induced me to organise my working from home, to help my students, and to sort my shopping and exercise arrangements for the household, I began to take stock. Although works that had been due for performances had been cancelled, they had still been completed. I’d still had the opportunity to work through their creative process and followed them through to a virtual realisation. Tale Of A Great Sham(e)Text was due to be performed at Sonorities in Belfast and, Mrs McNamara had been booked to appear in MOLI, with Bernard Clarke’s Scribbledehobble and Kaleidoscope.
There are also works that need to be written, works that will help me adjust to this moment in history and that will be in response to this crisis. These works started flowing after I’d organised the everyday coping strategies.
In the practice of immersing myself in the process of opening up to the emotional and economic feelings I was able to keep doing what I do best. I knew the only way I was to get through this time was to give myself permission for my brain to uncover pathways of empathic creation.
Social Media has been a grounding in reasoning and emotion for me. Reading articles shared from around the globe, learning about the virus, becoming aware of the people treating the sick and the people who have suffered, has become part of my routine. Reading and participating in the outpouring of community conversation has inspired and consumed my thoughts over the last 36 days. On the 5th April I began creating a graphic score The Claque In A Time Of Corona. It was my first work to emerge during the lockdown.
During Christmas 2019 I received a gorgeous set of pencils and paper from my sister. She told me it was time to ignite my childhood love of sketching.
From these pencils, and the times we are in, a title appeared:
Then a series of instructions, directions for a virtual performance:
I started recording and processing sounds in response to the emotional pain of the news stories, the tragedy unfolding over the Social Media waves. The brain fog manifesting from the sounds of pain and fear, the heard and unheard responses to the pandemic, the noises of governments and corporatists who are controlling what we read and see. I began loading sounds into the game audio middleware, FMOD.
Then, in creating a game score project using the game development environment of Unity, I added materials, sound events and scripts to build the final browser version of The Claque In A Time Of Corona
This process is in progress, using iteration and creation to test the function of the score and sound work. Eventually I’d like this to be a game score, a graphic score to be available online. The performance can be facilitated using Zoom or Jitsu.
The work is not finished yet. I need time to reflect and process more. I’ll come back to it. This commentary is part of the process of reflection.
In the between time I started revisiting other works.