A lot has happened since I last posted. I moved back to Montreal, started working at Concordia University and underwent the beautiful process of creating the project BODY OF WATER with my partner Veronica Simmonds.
The idea was hatched last year, after our short film WAVE LENGTHS was projected at Nocturne last year. We secured some funding from HRM Public Arts, and later Arts Nova Scotia, so that we could expand on our water-themed experiments and baptized our partnership part & parcel. We knew we wanted to work together again and make something in a different form than what we had made previously. We daydreamed about the lake from our temporary studio on Cornwallis and decided to focus our project on our most loved bodies of water. Lake life is the best freakin’ thing that Halifax has going for it. If you feel like going for a swim in the summertime, and don’t wanna make the trek to the ocean, there are so many gorgeous lakes within a super-short drive (or bike ride if you’ve got the legs and the guts) from the peninsula – many of them on crown land and without any development.
From the get-go we knew that we didn’t want to attempt to make a linear film, and were both attracted to the idea of creating an interactive website using parallax web design. We recruited the incredible Lukas Steinman to help us bring our vision to life. I can’t recommend Lukas highly enough! He was so receptive to our ideas and created a seamless product with all our various pieces of media and ambitious directions. All the while we used the mantra “this isn’t a map to the lake, but a snap of the lake.”
We invited illustrator Rebecca Roher onto our team because of her incredible sense of colour and her ability to capture the fluidity & majesty of the natural world. She met us in Nova Scotia in August and joined us on excursions to the lake during our production phase. She created our beloved logo and we incorporated her illustrations into our parallax website in order to help tie our media together, as well as a way to add levity and imagination to the final product. If you want to see more of her work, I’d recommend ordering something from her Etsy shop so you can own it forever! She is currently acquiring her Masters at The Center for Cartoon Studies in Vermont.
During Nocturne 2013, V and I watched WAVE LENGTHS for six hours straight and didn’t hate it by the end of it. 99% of that had to do with the gorgeous soundtrack that was created by composer Alex Melnyk. For that project, we threw a barrage of adjectives at him to kickstart his composing. “Bubbly! Repetitive! Meditative! Gurgly! Flowing! Floaty!” For this project, we wanted to work more closely with him. V created a rough audio track of interview excerpts and Alex composed on top of it, creating five separate and beautiful pieces that perfectly matched the tone of each one. The instruments you hear throughout the piece are his Rhodes piano, autoharp and glockenspiel. We are so lucky to know this guy.
Many other talented folks who lent their skills, voices and bodies to this undertaking. Thank you to all the friends and strangers who helped us along the way; especially Kira, Annie, Jude, Casey, Eva, Nick, Sophia, Rosalyn, Becca, Jayme and Zolk. And HUGE thanks to Jamie Maclennan from HRM, Enrique Ferreol at Arts NS, and the gang at CFAT. We honestly couldn’t have done it without ya! Halifax is the best place to approach people with a bizarre idea and have everyone offer to contribute in some way.
Okay! So we made some art on the internet. How could we show it to an audience in a live setting? This is what we wrestled with for a while. Me & V had a half-cracked idea to project our project onto the mist of the fountain in Commons. That would have been INCROYABLE – but for sanity’s sake, we decided to save that idea for another year. What did end up happening, which was equally amazing was that Jacinte Armstrong came on board, totally enthusiastic about our project and with great ideas about how to bring the screening to life. She recruited Rhonda Baker and Kathleen Doherty into the mix and here was the result.
You know who else was vital to this whole thing going down? Hannah Guinan. She is the new director of the Khyber Centre for the Arts at their new location on Cornwallis Street and she is doing a BAD-ASS job! We are so grateful to the Khyber and Hannah for being our gracious hosts for the event. The Khyber needs your support as much now as ever – so get a membership, stay informed and make a donation to help keep this institution afloat. I’ll leave you with some photos taken at the launch by Brandon Toomey. You can see the full set here.
And V – goddamn goddamn! This woman is driven & hard-working & SUCH a hilarious nut. She lovingly and supportively pushed me to see this thing through and made the whole damn thing FUN! She is a really solid communicator and an incredible project manager. Find her, follow her and give her all your money.