Since IN·FLO·RES·CENCE launched two weeks ago I’ve had the chance to take a beat and reflect upon the learning of new storytellers, the listening to boundary-breaking rhythms, the talking about how to transcend distances and disciplines…
When approached by my co-curator and project commissioner Reece Ewing to help create a platform where sound and art can cross-pollinate, with The Showroom and our Director Elvira Dyangani Ose, I knew what a gift this project was. In a time when I was seeking ways to reach those I missed and ground myself in the healing power of sound, here was an opportunity to connect the two; to create constellations and conversations with a greater community.
In this Fortnightly Highlight, we are thrilled to present three of the ten international composers involved in this project, whom I’ve learnt so much from during the past few months. I’ve learnt from Pianist Thandi Ntuli how to anthropomorphise sound; from Vibraphonist Corey Mwamba how to embrace the limitlessness of time; and from Drummer Sarathy Korwar how to trust in others to interpret your voice, beats and ideas. Furthermore, from Artist-in-Residence Pianist Elio Villafranca and Journalist Kevin Le Gendre, how to actively listen and create both personal and socio-political connections across a global diaspora of jazz.
Indeed Reece Ewing initially imagined this platform as an art initiative whereby jazz could be shared and discovered in a context focusing on gathering, communion, critical discussion, provocation and joy. The structure of multiple voices at the core of this project is inspired by an inflorescence: a complicated cluster of flowers arranged on a stem referencing the budding of blossoms – the process of flowering, a moment of unfolding, the stage of development full of possibility and production. This anatomical concept is also eponymous with the 1989 avant-garde album by American Pianist and Poet Cecil Taylor (1929–2018), and in thematic reference to the Alone / Together performances that American Violinist Jennifer Koh has digitally commissioned to help rebuild her musical community. A call and response. Sonic power.
I hope that through its multiple voices, portals for active listening and opportunities for resonant responses, IN·FLO·RES·CENCE will create a space for us all to breathe, listen, create and connect.
All my best,
Assistant Curator and Communications & Development Manager
Main Image: IN·FLO·RES·CENCE, 2020. Design: Sungtae Will Kim