What I mean by ready, is ready to sing, row, draw and talk in four discreet events. Each event will be progressively more public. The first of those events will be rowing to the Mississippi via the tributaries while I document fish habitat. The second will combine performing a game with an audience, leading participatory mapping and singing as part of the workshop at Crosstown Arts. The third will be several days of semi-publically creating an installation of drawings, photographs and other material at the Memphis College of Art. The fourth and final will be a live interactive live webcast with audience.
I take the singing part very seriously and it's often the most difficult part of my training because it requires the most disciplined focus. So no matter how tired or distracted I am, I begin my work day with 15 min of vocalization and then another 15-30 min of work on particular art songs that work the part of my voice I need to concentrate on, for example middle voice transitions this week. Most recently some new Gabriel Faure repertoire. I need to build that up with long sustained melodic passages.
Rowing the Wolf River to document fish habitat is the most intimidating to me. I'm out of shape and need to build my stamina and strength and requires the most willpower to be consistent in my work. I'm preparing for the canoe work by training at a local gym at least 3X per week. So, again, no matter how tired I am, I haul myself North to the Paris Gym above 96th St and lift weights for at least 30 min. Wednesday, I increased my reps and totaled 40 min.
|The show goes on no matter how tired I am. This shot after a gym work out, training to row the Wolf River in Memphis|
Finally, there is preparing for the webcasts. In some ways, that is both the easiest of all and the hardest because so much can go "wrong" and be out of my control for me to worry about. Besides the tech and people's availability & interest to participate on line, there's whether I can be on top of data, somewhat funny, a little glamourous, responsive and ready to swing with the tides when there are glitches. There will surely be glitches. I prepare by trying to be a rested version of myself, which is sort of like saying I prepare by making my brown eyes blue. I prepare by reading voraciously- not just for my dissertation, tho that will be relevant when the time comes but all sorts of things that help me put conceptual flesh on an exoskeleton of my thinking about why I'm doing all this. I prepare by digesting sorrow and hope about environmental events from the news. I prepare by trying to be warm and friendly and patient with people no matter how stressed I feel so that my empathy and acceptance muscles are exercised.
My basic motivation for these efforts, is to make those four performances a living paradigm, ten-days of enacting responses to the environment in Memphis, in the world, in the age of climate change, in the anthropocene. The paradigm/ parallel is how we must collectively exert ourselves in ridiculously demanding ways to make things happen differently.