Focusing Agents, the Interconnected Web & the Necessity of the Individual…

I believe that art is the discipline of being –  it can be recognized in every aspect of daily life, and utilized to access a deeper connection to oneself and the world/environment that surrounds us. Music, as a medium, can be created out of anything, anytime, anywhere, and used as a tool for communication, compassion, understanding, and the instantaneous transmission of complex experience.

At our core, resides the legacy of our connection to our family, and through it, our connection to the rest of existence. We are all children – it’s one of the many things we have in common.

Life is a series of experiences, that no one else can experience, that everyone is experiencing simultaneously. We are shaped by people, events, activities, places, emotions – everything is constantly sculpting within the human.

Sculpting the individual’s life – the individual’s reality.

Within each individual resides an entire galaxy of experience.

Entire worlds – collisions – births –and every single one of these experiences is mapped in our brain and tattooed on our soul.

It’s living within us. Things impact our being, mark us, and we continue to transmit them into the rest of our lives….to the rest of the people in our lives…

Those experiences become our stories, and we have limited characters or symbols to describe them. When you distill the information, the words are the same for vastly different instances…

The words are just symbols, charged with meaning through activation. Symbols that act as microscopes to look deeply at a many part system….to try to make sense…to clarify, communicate, and share, the many part system.

At the root of the system, we each have an individual voice – an individual vision.

It is completely unique, unlike anyone else in the world. A voice that is shaped by the cumulative experience of our individual existence.

Humans – all humans – we need a way to process our authentic experience of that individual existence. We need a way to deal with ourselves – each and every one of us – a way to deal with all of it – to release the immense complexity of consciousness.

We need opportunities to process both the negative and the positive, the difficult and the joyous. We need to let ourselves explore all of it so that we can catch up with ourselves and move forward from a present state. A state of activated awareness.

To aid the release, we need focusing agents – symbols – rituals – a form…they are a means of balancing what is inside with what is outside. A container to pour the emotional experience into. For certain happenings we have culturally tagged them – “funeral” “wedding” – but there are millions of experiences each day….the weight of all of that must be released through the individual, with each breath. 

So that’s the score you’re working from – these marks, gestures, phrases – they are shaping what you do….how are you going to use them? what can you do with that material, with that information, with that matter? How can you weave it into a fabric that supports you, that amplifies your authentic voice?

Life is a form, and we’re always improvising the content – all of us are – all the time….

Just interacting with matter, with the elements, with the experiences that come….

and improvising with them – dancing with them.

Humans shaped by all of this, have built everything surrounding you.

But no one in the world sees the world the way that you do. No one has your voice.

Everyone needs to be seen.

Everyone needs to be heard.

Everyone needs to be received.

I believe in the power of sound to clear the body and cleanse the soul.

Please let me hear you…I want to hear you…I need to hear you

so we can listen to each other…

Thank you for being here.

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a beautifully understood, and beautifully written review of Mother May I – Work in Progress Phase 1

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(photos by Paul Budraitis)

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(my weapons of choice)

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(wave 1)

(wave 2)

(wave 3)

(wave 4)

(wave 5)

Mother May I learn from you, but find my own voice, transforming difficulties of the past into opportunities for the future?”

Mother May I is an organic installation that explores music, craft, heritage, communication and expression.

Individual sound waves, generated through pre-recorded ensemble works, have been recreated through cross-stitch – one of the world’s oldest forms of counted embroidery – into exhibited panels. The panels are in turn used as graphic scores to create new audio works.

To create the cross-stitched waves, Fleenor has been working alongside her mother, a 3rd generation cross-stitcher, creating the panels as a way of working through their differences, similarities, and past relationship.

This work in progress performance/installation features one component of the multidimensional work – a genetic and environmental map that includes a collection of wave panels and experiential processing tags. The tags are intended as an anthropological excavation and distillation of emotional, psychological and sociological experiences, that imprint and transmit through the individuals they affect.

Mother May I is made possible, in part, with support from the City of Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs, 4Culture, Jack Straw Productions, Advocates for Abundance through Action in the Arts, and The Frank Agency.

More about Mother May I

For me personally, Mother May I is about reconciling the relationship I had with my mother (and the relationship she had to herself) as I was growing up, how it shaped me, and how it has shifted over my lifetime. It is a means by which to embrace rather than reject our culture, similarities and differences. Learning from our similarities and differences offers an opportunity to grow – I have the opportunity to learn from her setbacks to better understand my own inclinations and difficulties. Every obstacle is an opportunity…. “Mother May I learn from you but find my own voice, transforming difficulties of the past into opportunities for the future.”

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(blindfolded soundcheck for opening…a tool for building and unifying collective awareness)

November 4 (opening)

Beth Fleenor (clarinets/voice/electronics)
Michele Khazak (voice)
Paris Hurley (violin/tape players)
Samantha Boshnack (trumpet)
Michael Owcharuk (keyboard)
Paul Kemmish (bass)
Tom Zgonc (drums)


November 7-11 (activation):

Space inhabited from 1-5pm daily performing solos and duets generated from the wave scores.

Featured artists: Craig Flory, Stephen Fandrich, Michael Owcharuk, Paul Budraitis, Double Yoko, Evan Flory-Barnes, Paris Hurley, David Moggia, Nate Omdal, Brian Bermudez, John Teske, Whitney Lyman, Sarah Burgess, Kevin Nortness, Paul Kemmish, Michele Khazak, Ari Joshua, Stephen Parris, and Brad Hebert, among others.

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Once the boards or “spine” was hung, it was time to go to town on the web….nails were placed around the spine marking a 6 foot x 13 foot sprawl (the spine is 2′ x 12′) and the stringing began….from every nail point on the double helix outline on the spine, connecting to each external nail point. Using chance connections – pouring all of the processing tags into an envelope and pulling them out at random – each point was marked with a combination of word distillations and small boxes from the transfer rituals.

Notes from the program:

“The tags are intended as an anthropological excavation and distillation of emotional, psychological and sociological experiences, that imprint and transmit through the individuals they affect.”


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