“Was it alright? Would you change anything?” he asks.
Yes, more than. No, not a thing. I think. But I cannot express myself. I am dumbstruck. I could not create this // I want to create this.
“He” is Steven Feigenbaum ’11, composer and director, and “it” is “Sic Futuristic,” a collaborative arts endeavour that merges Feigenbaum’s compositions with co-director Ellis Ludwig-Leone’s ’11 electronic compositions, dancing and video art, a project that has been in the making almost a year now.
Sick. (Or should I say “Sic”?)
“ ‘Sic’ is short for “music,” but it also implies that we know we’re misspelling “music” and the word “sick,” Feigenbaum explains. Is the Latin pun intentional?
The stage (designed by Diana Mellon ’09) is artfully sparse, a quiet space of screens and scaffolding, invaded by the almost elemental force of Feigenbaum’s music, Streeter Phillips’s ’10 videos of urban nights, rain and fragmenting light specks and David Rudnick’s ’09 three-eyed skull, what he calls “a memento mori of the future, but a ridiculous future.”
The atmosphere is relaxed. Musicians not playing hang out on stage, chat quietly, dance perhaps. The performance (What is it, is it a narrative? Is it a concert? A dance show? A happening?) is divided into seven pieces with an intro and an outro; and, while it is definitely divided among pieces, the whole experience is an access to an unpretentious community of the artists, their art and their sense of humour.
“We show all our cards,” explains Ludwig-Leone before the dress rehearsal. “We’re all just here, we’re all just in this together, we want to take the mystery out of it.”
The group of 21 performers, dancers, videoartists, sound-tech managers and stagehands huddles.
They introduce themselves. They throw ideas out.
“I think it would be really cool if we were crawling, not walking,” exclaims saxophonist Stephen Chen ’09.
People agree, disagree. This is how the creative process works. Throughout the performance, the performers jump up and freestyle, whoop, encourage their friends.
“That’s so flippin’ hot!” exclaims double-bass beatboxer Kevin “KO” Olusola ’11 at the end of the third performance in which playful dancers creep, twirl and twist, jumping into star shapes to the sounds of sax, piano, cello, violin and contrabass.
It is “flippin’ hot.” Perhaps it be more.
At moments, “Sic Futuristic” accesses the sublime: the violin rhythms of Kensho Watanabe ’09 in the seventh performance and the Tchaikovsky/beatz outro, and Scott McCreary’s ’11 maniacal cello solo hit you artistic. You are forced out of your head, out of your thoughts. Over and away. Into the future?
The dancers, Michelle Coquelin ’10, Lisa Sun ’10, Amandla Ooko-Ombaka ’10 and Ashley Douglas ’10, provide the icing to “Sic Futuristic’s” perfectly formed cake. They are the forms of the evening, moulded by the music, melded into the lights and video art; at times they push wheelie bins of trash-trees and at others they are bent like origami over the sound waves.
It’s to describe exactly the effect of “Sic Futuristic” — something between a creative orgasm and a mellow outpouring of the most innovative undergraduate takes on classical art forms you’ll see at Yale.
Perhaps. All I can say is that it makes you want to create. It doesn’t crush you; it inspires you.
It is current; could we say it is the future?
“Concert music doesn’t have to be presented like it’s in a museum,” Feigenbaum explains after the show. “This is exactly the opposite. We want a show that can be like a rock concert, something where people can get genuinely engaged, especially young people … This music doesn’t have an audience right now, and it can have an audience.”