I’ve always loved water and fluidity in general. Fluidity of movement. It’s inspired by plates. Forms that define physical world is just based on a world of ideas that all physical material is not as real as the idea behind it. Wanted to be in a pool because in a pool, everything is in such a fluid state that everything is inevitably connected.
The water moves you and you’re inevitably connected to everything. And I like this because it shows that separation of things, of objects, of people, of energy, separation is just a myth. Philosophy always finds its way in.
If you’re an artist, then you’re inevitably someone who questions perception, understanding. If you’re an artist, you’re dealing with creativity.
And creativity automatically brings you to a deep place. What are your own beliefs about the nature of knowledge and perception? That’s a very large question that can be answered by the art that an artist makes. Never truly answered. It’s just expressed.
I think everything is perception. I think it’s completely perception. Everything that shows up for you, everything that you see, is something that you already have questions about deep down.
And I’ve learned that having a positive perspective, it’s not that something negative has happened and you’re having a positive perspective, it’s that you having a positive perspective is creating the positive reality. So it’s not just how you think about it, about the thing.
It’s that the thing is what you think about it. It is really amazing, the movement that is shown in your film, which you’re also performing in. Can you tell me a little bit more how you conceived of this? Very interesting choreography. Thanks.
Just for me, personally, movement always comes to me just seeing it in my mind, falling asleep at night or walking, or being on the train. And it’s a lot of that like just letting it be in the form of a mental vision.
And then when I finally go into actual movement, then it all comes out very quickly because it’s been waiting. But this film yeah, I saw the imagery and then I just was improvising and I asked another dancer to improvise. Can you tell us a little bit more what the unique challenges of filming and dancing underwater were like?
The number one thing is that you have to keep your breath calm. Because if you need to breathe more, if you need more air, you can’t stay down as long and you have to go up. So it’s not exercise. You can’t be exercising. Your body has to be completely calm.
Bring your breath down all the way down to the deepest level. When I was a kid, my family, we loved the water. So I think actually my dad or my brother taught me how to just sit on the bottom of the pool.
How long was the shoot? It was just two days. And the first day was just an attempt. And we didn’t use any footage from the first day, and then we did it all on the second day. Any time I got an idea, I would just tell Tyler, the other dancer, and we would just keep the camera rolling the whole time.
The videographer was a scuba diver videographer. He just sat on the bottom of the pool. It was a public pool. Luckily, no one was there. I think some people showed up at one point to get in the pool, but then they saw that there was a guy sitting at the bottom of the pool with a tank.
He just stayed there, waited with his tank the whole time while we did our thing. And then I would go down and I would communicate to him by making signals with my hands. Can you tell us more about the technical aspects? I remember once I presented this film and someone asked me how did I get it to look like I was underwater?
And I told him we went underwater. One technical aspect that was a lot of fun was searching for a robotic voice. And you can find a robotic voice, and you can type things in, and it’ll speak back to you what you typed. And I went through a lot of voices to find the right one, because I wanted to find one that was a woman’s voice that was robotic, but also sounding very sad, like there was a sadness when she spoke. Can you tell us a little bit more about your previous projects?
So I lived in New York doing a lot of choreography projects with some really great dancers. It was always inspired by the music. I was always interested in choreographing the camera’s movements.
I know that I want to get more involved with creating a choreographic structure that the camera would then travel through. The dancers are introducing a world to the camera, and the camera is following it.
Going to keep going with that, but with my own music. Would you say there’s any recurring fumes in your work or ideas that you gravitate towards? I love that word, gravitate. I always end up creating something that is as if to say that nature has a mysterious wisdom that it’s trying to present to us, and it’s our job to find it. One of my favorite quotes is Terrence McKenna, and he says that nature is speaking to us.
This is not a metaphor. And he’s just saying, like, the natural world is directly having a conversation with us at every moment. Can you tell me about what you’re working on at the moment? Do you have any new project? I’m in an enormous project right now, and it’s kind of like a conglomerate of music and film and dance all as one, which I’ve always wanted to.
I’ve always seen myself as being someone who presents music, dance and film as one expression. So I’m releasing an album and I’ve written it and recorded it, and I’m a little bit of a multi instrumentalist, but I’m not necessarily a master of one specific instrument.
It’s in the final stages. I have some dancers coming up from New York for one video, but most of these videos for each song, I’m creating an underwater movement film again. This time there’s going to be more furniture and even a drum set.
I’m inviting another dancer, which I really admire, to come down from Portland, Maine. Going back to this idea of being an independent filmmaker and artist, what kind of issues do you face? Finance. You just care about the art so much that you’re just willing to basically empty your pockets over it. Not seeing richness as something that is financial, but the richness of what you have to experience and put together.
Do you have any advice that you would give to your new young or new directors?
Yeah, I’ve learned a lot to slow down. I think it’s easy to just be so excited. I was in New York chasing all of the things that artists chase. Like, everyone was chasing the same things, seemingly.
What I learned, and it’s a great quote, and I’m very sorry I can’t remember the name of the artist right now, but he said, every project I do is the most important thing ever when I’m doing it. As excited as you are about the next project, don’t put your tools down until you’re finished. I think I was always just so excited about the next project that I would end up getting the basic idea out there and moving forward. And it’s like, no, but people don’t just get the basic idea. I wouldn’t make it clean enough.