THE PROJECT: SEEN (formerly MOON.STONE)

 

SEEN - A multidisciplinary movement song cycle including portions of contemporary opera, solo/ensemble dance, and R&B music with text from the composer's Mother.

SEEN is an experience of identity. The moonstone holds magic and light within it, that appears ever trapped inside the smooth, glassy surface. What happens when a moonstone is cracked open? Does the light flood out? 

An album didn't make any sense to me...I couldn't conceive these songs and works being in one place. There were long art songs, queer love songs, club tracks about empowerment and throwing shade...but perhaps they are a song cycle. I was doing it to myself...too afraid to let these songs exist outside of my head…boxing myself in…bringing my creative walls closer and closer. 

In August of 2014 a group of artists went to Wisconsin for a retreat. Those few days in the wilderness changed my artistic life forever. Weeks went by and I had no idea what I was going to present. A few days before we left, the idea struck me...create an electronic score to an art song (possible opera), I had composed years ago. 

 

This piece holds a sacred place in my heart. It was the first piece I had written specifically for me to perform in my voice type. It was my Mother’s poetry that my Aunt had translated into French. I danced and sang on the edge of a lake where the black mystery of the night met the water without pause. In place of an overture there was an electronic dance beat before twinkling out and leading us into a French romantic soliloquy to the moon. It was 'YES YESYES' from that moment on. Creating work like this takes from all the worlds I discover and lets me explore the stories and narratives that I want to tell. 

INSPIRATION I have always been inspired by the presence and power of femme in art. Drawn to the psyche of the femme artist & performer…that play between human and otherworldly powers…captivating mystery that accumulates beyond the stage, between those ears, even when the lights fade out…legacy… Everything about these women influenced my art and questioned my own gender identity and my place in the universe among creators. Occupying many spaces and ideas of what performance and gender are & gender as performance. The dynamics between powerful femme forces and their relationship with society. 

 

VISIBILITY & VULNERABILITY are two themes that are close to my work. I think very successful art is a union of both. Visibility/Vulnerability and truth  for my community. There are creative spirits that desire to see themselves represented in life, in media, in performance to be seen by their own communities and by those that exist outside.

While labels are extremely limiting they occasionally offer some clues into self discovery or can be used as a jumping off point to investigate a topic further.

my art is my identity...

 

SEEN is in its middle stages. A few of the songs and a music video on the album have been recorded. The expenses associated with memorializing this journey on a recording include: recording engineers, mixing/mastering, film/video, printing of album, artwork, and marketing materials.

This video song cycle sets out to explore the articulation of desire and the desire to articulate vulnerability -- vulnerability as empowerment and the seat of non-dual realization. 

 

What happens when a moonstone is cracked open? Does the light flood out?

 

Thank you to...Contributing organizations from conception to realization:

Salonathon 
Salondawega
High Concept Labs
JRV MAJESTY Productions
CQAMP - Chicago Queer Artist Mentorship Program
Steve Abrams/The Abrams Group, LLC
Links Hall + Poonie's Cabaret
Mozawa (Y Portraits 2.0)
The Inconvenience
The Fly Honey Show
Chicago Performance Lab

Other contributors

taylor m.
Irvin Almonte
Connie Edgemon
Valerie Edgemon
Grayson Elliot Taylor
Erin Kilmurray / Projects
Keelan Rogue
Darling Squire
Jessie Young
iamKIAM Studios
Nando Espinosa Herrera