Full Performance (Duration: 10 mins)
The final outcome was such an evolution from where it started. I have to admit that throughout the process, sometimes I got a bit blinded by the design of it all. I think for a while that I was so focused on the initial research and so intent on having technical elements and a set build and sometimes ignored what the piece actually needed: a sensory and visceral experience. This project taught me that less is more. More specifically, I learned that successful and effective design is a visual dramaturgy, not a technical show-off. When I think back, I was pushing for things such as the kinetic sculpture for the wrong reasons. While I did want to challenge my skills, there were better avenues for that such as the projection being a merge of the physical & digital spaces I have spent the year exploring in Unit 9 and Unit 8. In conclusion, by simplifying and cleaning up the different elements of our collective ideas, we were able to create something that layered to create the complexity. I think that was my most fruitful bit of learning throughout the whole year.
Secondly, this project was a true test in terms of collaboration. Luckily, my previous projects, such as the Opera Design, taught me about remote collaboration. However, this was on another level because it was our dramaturg, Maya, who was abroad. I believe that this greatly improved my ability to communicate ideas and benefitted the outcome in the end. One of my flaws in this development was that I was stubborn and only wanted to think of this as a live performance. So, it was vital that I had a collaborator who could see this from the position of an audience member and reel me back in when I strayed from the reality that this was a recorded performance.
Another critical moment in this collaboration was working with Zac, who is a movement artist and filmmaker. Especially with the filming of the video designs, e was able to take charge where my filmmaking skills fall short. I think another element of successful collaboration was that I was continuously learning from my peers. This allowed me to facilitate a flat hierarchy because we all had our own strengths and I got better at delegating tasks. This allowed us to be ahead of schedule, but also to feel like everyone got an equal creative input. As the project developped, we kind of all became the dramaturgs from our respective specialisms. While Maya and I had developped the concept together, I really wanted to make sure that Zac & Kristina were able to bring in their own experiences and had the freedom to lead the piece in a specific direction when it was appropriate. For example, Kristina ended up leading most of the narrative structure decisions based on how she was composing, and the sound became the cue for everything else: choreography, video, and projection. While I can reflect and say that I was the Lead Artist, if I had to, I believe that this was an equal collaboration. And thus, I achieved my goal.
© Jida Akil 2023