During the summer of 2022, with my schedule shifted from the regular school year, the afternoons felt expansive. I would take my bike and just ride, looking for interesting spaces and people along the Riverway, in Brookline, and along the Esplanade.
Having picked up the flute when I began the project, “Songs of Urban Ecology,” I also wanted to practice, and this gave the journey a goal: Which is the best acoustic space to noodle around and create music.
While my skills as a flautist are still re-emerging, not having played in more years than I’ll mention, my knowledge of music theory and tone quality are better than they were when I was young, so the experimental flute music I’ve been able to create has been growing.
Here is a first draft of one of my lullabies, dedicated to my friend Iulian Radu with whom I am often looking deeply at trees.
These photos of leaves were part of my embodied practice. To create them I took walks and documented trees through the spring and summer as buds emerged, then leaves, and as fall beset, some photos of the same kinds of trees in full autumn color.
After the walking practice, I continued to meditate on the leaves, to understand their structure by creating what I call process drawings. When I first started the practice, while living in Spain I was trying to capture the movement of water by layering oil pastels and would take photos to create movies out of them. The process was refined in a collaboration with Spanish artist, Curra Rueda. In our piece, “Candidam Nubem,” as she drew I would snap photos of each set of several lines to document the spiritual and ephemeral thought processes that disappear into her paintings behind her intricate images of enormous nets.
Now, with Procreate and other software designed for tablets, I simply draw, sometimes manipulating the process of doing and undoing, adding multiples, and creating the illusion of motion to make visible the discoveries that I make as I draw.