Though my first post election instinct is to start making anti-Trump work, railing against all that he stands for and the ugly underbelly of this nation that his assent has surfaced. I keep thinking that whatever I do with my work won't have any effect. I appreciate Beyonce, Green Day and others who have the big stage and are in a position to influence, especially young folks. Their messages may be simple but they are starting conversations. I grew up on the Clash and the Minutemen, whose political songs tended to bring complex issues from the margins into the light. I'm not sure if the folks I mentioned above are operating on this level politically, but I believe I was receptive to the Clash and the Minutemen because of earlier, more simple protests by better known artists from the 60s on.
So, even given the current state of affairs, I have decided to stay the course with my work. But even when I am consciously making content-free work, things do creep in. The first work I started and completed since the election was a short piece of music from my "In C" project. This project, I am using sections of Terry Riley's 53 part piece called In C. The piece in composed in the key of C, hence the title but I randomly chose through sections which happened to slip into E Minor. The piece features one main figure and two shorter figures. They begin at the same point but the shorter figures fall behind. The piece plays until the shorter figures come back in sync with the longer one.
certainly wasn't thinking about the push/pull of conservative/progressive when I randomly selected these short figures but it does appear to be a metaphor of sorts. I have called the piece A Simple Phase because the idea was based loosely on Reich, or more accurately, Eno's interpretation of Reich's phase technique in pieces like Thursday Afternoon. I am considering subtitling the piece An Elegy For America. I purposely write in major keys and didn't even think about the fact that this was in a minor key until playing back the final mix. (You can hear the piece here: https://soundcloud.com/stephen-boocks/a-simple-phase-in-c5)
I started a new group of paintings which I had decided to make as an homage to Brice Marden. I was going to use a red-puple-blue palette for the grid and a yellow for the dots. But as I mixed the paints, they stayed pretty dark. Since I often allow things to just happen, I went with these colors. On one hand they are fairly bright and intense but together, in the grid pattern, they are certainly darker than anything I've done in a long time.