Thursday, September 1, 2011

Introducing the SKULL KINGDOMS (a post mortem?)

About a year ago my sweetie Sam Holland and a mutual friend of ours (brilliant local artist musician producer mystic who shall remain nameless by choice) decided to start a band. The name is more forboding than most of our sound. So far, anyway. There are five of us, give or take, depending on the project. Most of us are untrained, and identify first as writers or visual artists. Our time playing together occurred mostly in the lovely reverb of the little bridge in India Point park, which is technically part of the east bay bike path. There were bucket drums, guitars, bass, cello, recorders & voices and an instruction: impriovise, listen as you play, go from soft drone to fuller sound and back. This description is written in past tense because we have not played together in sometime. The sound was loose. Perhaps at some point I'll post a clip of it...

This spring, I was interested in doing a couple of projects and I didn't want them to be solo ventures. They were of the art/ritual/installation/participatory sort and I thought working collaboratively would bring the energy necessary to pull them off and keep them interesting. I got the group nod to use the Skull Kingdoms name, and various members stepped forth to participate in their own ways.

Working collaboratively with what in the end were two friends from childhood who know me and who i know (or some earlier versions of them/me) rather intimately. Working together or beside eachother in what for all of us are almost always solo acts that we might even tend to think of as ritual rather than art making was unlike anything I'd ever experienced. Even just being in each other's presence daily, speaking on the phone and acting (or not acting) as a team... feeling eachothers rythems and patterns and flow was SO Different, so new, so informative and Transformative. Not everything that came of the project was good, I think we'd all agree on that. But we can't say we didn't learn.

The project I'm most refering to is our Wooly Fair Pod, which we called the Den of Divination. In the end we each worked very differently, flt through envisioning the space and occupying and performing the space differently. Wooly's theme was To The Moon, and in a strange way our pod was like a tent on the frontier- one where scavanged remainders of objects from the home planet were treasured for their relationship to our deepest sense of place... It bacame our cave for medetation, our alter for prayer, our fiery performance space. Alchemy was the goal. There were places for written reflection, there was an invitation to do your own devining--- let your eyes and sense travel the tent. notice where they settle, to what they are drawn. Nothing is a cooincidence. From this, what can you learn about yourself and your current state? Outside was a wild party, but inside, party goers dropped to their knees, rearranged the fountain, fell quiet and still. I was astounded.

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