Thursday, April 21, 2016

Creativity and Collaboration

While I was in grad school I wrote this post about a workshop we took with Alonzo King, the director of a ballet conservatory in San Francisco.  I remember him talking about the essence of collaboration being about intentionally working to bring out the genius in your creative partners.  When everyone is working at their best, the best work is done.

Collaboration has been part of my creative world ever since high school where I spent most of my after school hours working on the stage tech crew for events in our theater.  Together we created and crafted spaces for magical performances to come alive in.

After college I moved to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota to work as volunteer in the Red Cloud school district and I lived in intentional community with other volunteers.   Everything during this time felt like collaboration.  In the school we were all engaged in supporting the students and at home we all worked to support each other.  I learned a lot about the value of giving my best self while immersed in community.

During that phase of my life I got the word "is" tattooed on my back from a tattoo shop in Rapid City, SD.  A woman from Brooklyn named Shelly Jackson wrote a story titled "Skin" and had put a call out for volunteers to participate in getting each word printed via tattoo onto someone's actual skin.  My best friend and I share words next to each other in a sentence and I'm connected to over 2,000 other people who are also holding words.  I'm impressed how after over a decade I still find this collaborative writing process inspiring.

Collabo Industries ready for New Orleans Mardi Gras (2015)

Most recently my collaborative activity is funneled into Collabo Industries.  This is what my partner, Virginia Brisley, and I call our collaborative art adventures.  It began with a series of video collaborations which we would send to friends and family for holidays and evolved into a series of music videos, social documentaries and cat themed dramatic readings.

Videos we have available online are:

- Rivers - a video collaboration between myself, Virginia, Musician Brian Russ and write Lauren Belski which is meditative documentation of the ritual beginning of my MFA thesis project, Rivers.

- A music video for my song Little Birdie

- A moment of mystical reflection

- Dramatic Readings: Losing My Religion (the first of what we hope will be many creative cat videos)

- Jackson Square license debacle 2014 - documentary footage of my journey to get my Jackson Square permit.

- Seeker and the Stone Mason: a storytelling music video capturing a mythic moment of intimate country music.

Over the last few years we shifted gears and started recording our Sound Philosophy Podcast. We interviewed each other about our thoughts and experiences of the way sound interacts with our daily lives and creative process.  Then in our second season we expanded into Sound Philosophy Dinners where we invited people over for dinner and interviewed them about their sound experiences.

Currently our podcast is on a hiatus but we are still tinkering away and whispering about of new collaborations churning behind the scenes...

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