Houston Multimedia Group Launches “Graying Rainbow” July 17th

Annie Arnoult and Said Henry Pressley in “The Graying Rainbow” by Transitory Sound and Movement Collective

Photo: Lynn Lane

As feelings of social disconnection persist, the Houston Transitory Sound and Movement Collective envisions various psychological states in which one may exist.

On July 17, the ever-evolving group of musicians, dancers, vocal artists and visual artists, under the direction of artistic director Lynn Lane, will premiere ‘The Graying Rainbow’, a film project that explores three representations of a single character.

Commissioned by the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art in Wisconsin, the work – which will be accessible to a global audience as part of the institution’s online programming – will speak in a similar obscurity to that present in an exhibition-survey currently presented. “Unbound” covers a decade of designs by Brooklyn-based artist Natalie Frank that are inspired by some of the most controversial fairy tales, such as those of the Brothers Grimm variety.

Motivated by Jungian psychology and what the Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung called the “shadow self” or the repressed side of the personality, Lane wrote a libretto with a certain mythology of his own for his first collaborator Said Henry Pressley . The bass-baritone, who has appeared in several Houston Grand Opera productions, embodies a mental state of the protagonist while others come to life. through the dancer Annie Arnoult and a puppet designed by Afsaneh Aayani.

“There are three people who all function as the same character in the story,” Lane said, “and this person faces a lot of psychological difficulties related to the isolation, which is why we are at this point. pandemic.”

Through the 14-minute work, which Lane calls post-opera, the sound artist hopes to shatter common misconceptions surrounding opera, a 400-year-old art form often assumed inaccessible and incomprehensible. In a true collaboration, it offers participating artists the opportunity to contribute their own voice to the process, using a structured improvisation approach. When delivering the text to Pressley, for example, he also gave her the creative property of its materialization.

In the sound portion of the program, Pressley joins the musical conversation of three recurring collaborators – bassoonist Ben Roidl-Ward, bass clarinetist Thomas Frey and harpist Caitlin Mehrtens. The result, which was recorded live at the new Garza studios in May, was then infused with field recordings put together by Lane, who ultimately put all the pieces together in an order that best guided the narrative. While Arnoult’s choreography was filmed in Rec Room, the puppet was captured in Aayani’s own studio inside a complementary setting, in which she experienced the transmission of emotions through detail. minimalist.

“It’s really just a giant painting,” Lane said of putting the pieces together. “It’s kind of how everything works in the collective for me. Everything is a color in a palette, visually, soundingly.

Shortly after the release of “The Graying Rainbow”, the Transitory Sound and Movement Collective will launch their next installation in an ongoing project called “An Exploration in Emotion and Solitude”, the idea of ​​which took root in the midst of the pandemic. . Filmed in an abandoned train carriage, the fourth of five camera dance works will feature Arnoult moving throughout the stage while sporting the next custom garment in a series of five costumes specially designed by the based concept artist. in New York Cheryl Donegan. Ultimately, the collective anticipates that this project will culminate in a live performance featuring five dancers, each wearing one of Donegan’s creations.

After a year and a half of successfully embracing innovation in the digital world, the group is gradually returning to face-to-face meetings, and in doing so, artists are experiencing even more “firsts”.

“We never got together and never shot live,” Lane said. “Every time we did something together, it was a live performance. For that, we were not preparing to go on stage. We were getting ready to step in front of the camera, but it was wonderful seeing friends again, being in space and feeling all this energy and interconnection going on.

Lawrence Elizabeth Knox is a Houston-based writer.

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