About a year ago I was burrowed in the studio (aka my bedroom at the time) working on this project called "light.bread.name.life." I haven't shared its story in depth on the blog yet, and it came to mind recently as there is some early-stages conversation taking place about potentially expanding the project.
The concept/vision came from Matt Rawle (pastor at The Well UMC), my friend and collaborator. He was working on a teaching/sermon series based on some of the "I Am" statements that Jesus made as recorded in John's gospel. He wanted to incorporate short films set to original instrumental music that expressed the ideas, themes, emotions, etc. that would be highlighted in the teaching each week. The statements chosen for the month-long series were as follows:
- I Am the light of the world.
- I Am the bread of life.
- I Am the good shepherd.
- I Am the resurrection and the life.
My task? To converse with Matt on the content of each teaching, study and internalize the theology, then express it artistically in a way that would complement the teachings and be digestible for congregation members each week. I ended up making pieces in various mediums that work together to accomplish that goal.
- Short ambient song recordings (Listen or download with player above)
- Videos set to the ambient music as their "scores" (see below)
- Graphic art designs for print and screen display each week
LIGHT "When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, 'I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.'” (JOHN 8:12)
These sounds and images illustrate the most mysterious aspects of Jesus. The ever-present yet illusive light that simultaneously illuminates everything and blinds our human eyes.
BREAD "I am the bread of life." (JOHN 6:48)
These sounds and images act as reminders of the sacred nature of the mundane...the life that is providentially sustained in the most common, ordinary but necessary elements of our days.
NAME "The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen for his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out...I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep." (JOHN 10:3,11)
*choreography and dance performance by Anna Kirkes
The music and performance of this piece are essentially a prequel to the scripture referenced above. That tense, almost frenzied search for the one who knows you, is calling to you, and makes a home to share with you...the search for your true and identity and its Source.
LIFE "Jesus said to her, 'I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die...'" (JOHN 11:25)
Specifically, this is a sonic telling of the story of Lazarus, and generally it is a resurrection narrative. Visually the elements of abstract and concrete from the previous videos are combined. It starts slow and builds to a breaking point followed by silence that represents a death. Then the music and film bursts back to life and represents resurrection. The music ends with the same 3 swells with which it began, illustrating that we must be brought back to life again and again and again.
I learned so much during the course of this project. It became clear where I was on the learning curve for all of the media I worked in. Those limitations in skill that I encountered challenged me to focus on smaller corners of the larger concepts than I intended to, and to develop those with close attention. It is much simpler and more modest than maybe we originally dreamed up, but I hope still compelling, centering, and beautiful in some way. Special thanks to Matt Rawle, Anna Kirkes, and Grant Merritt for their assistance on this project.
I look forward to doing more work similar to this in the future!
Thanks, as always, for reading...