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FLEFF Intern Voices

The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival from the interns' point of view

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Posted by Isabel Galupo at 7:53PM   |  3 comments
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Blog posting written by Isabel Galupo, Cinema and Photography '14, FLEFF Intern, Towson, MD

I am currently sitting in the Igor room of Ithaca College's Whalen School of Music with about 40 other FLEFF interns. We are listening to Dr. Brad Hougham, Assistant Professor of Performance Studies (Voice), and Dr. Debbie Martin, Associate Professor and Associate Chair of Performance Studies (Piano), present about "The Concert for Microtopias," which will be held on Tuesday, March 27.

"The Concert for Microtopias" will feature performances by both Dr. Hougham and Dr. Martin, as well as outside musicians such as pianist Jairo Geronymo, and Art Jones, a VJ from New York City. 

Dr. Hougham's enthusiasm for FLEFF is extremely tangible from the get-go as he proclaims that FLEFF is his favorite event to participate in each school year.

He expresses the importance of FLEFF as a space of freedom for artists to pursue the pieces that they want to pursue. He touches on the interdisciplinary nature of FLEFF, expressing appreciation at how the festival forces him out of Whalen and gives him the opportunity to collaborate and brainstorm with professionals in other disciplines. 

Dr. Martin explains that FLEFF allows both performers and audience members to feel feelings at the most extreme and raw levels. In order to demonstrate how crucial these raw feelings are, Dr. Martin asked us to stand up and clap out a rhythm as she played the piano in tandem.

We felt, in Dr. Martin words, "some of the fun of the music."

Both musicians share with us some pieces that they are planning on performing at the concert. They discuss the ways in which these pieces will interact with and contradict each other, creating musical conflicts leading to intellectual experiences and insights. 

Often, Dr. Hougham and Dr. Martin stand back and let the music speak for itself.

Though I can often be seen walking around campus sporting ipod headphones, I do not consider myself a musical person by any means. Thus, I was excited to come to this presentation and really learn something about an unfamiliar field.

I thought that I would walk away with some tangible nugget of information about the ways in which music lends itself to film festivals. I expected to walk away with a handful of great soundbites from Dr. Hougham and Dr. Martin that succinctly explained the role of musical expression in FLEFF. 

Instead, Dr. Hougham and Dr. Martin challenged us to engage with the music on our own. We were left to digest the collision of tones, rhythms, and melodies ourselves, through our own lenses, just as FLEFF audiences will be expected to do.

The result, for me at least, was a more visceral understanding of how two extremely different ideas can collide and create a completely new, third idea.

And this collision and creation of ideas is what exists at the very core of FLEFF!

Are you all as excited as I am to attend "The Concert for Microtopias" and hear the sound of ideas being created during FLEFF Week 2012?


3 Comments

Your post, Isabel, repeats a word that provides an anchor for the concept of microtopias: tangible. Your post shares how Dr. Hougham and Dr. Martin rendered this complex music as an opening rather than a closing, as a way into the tangible rather than a way out into something vague. Words like tangible, visceral, interact, engage travel through this post---words that perhaps evoke the experience of listening to complex music. Your expression "the sound of ideas" should be a mantra for the FLEFF experience. Did you have a piece of music you heard tonight that emblematized the concept of microtopia? Or one you just liked?

I thought the combination of musical styles was great! I love all of the pieces they chose and also thought that, while different, they created an engaging collision of ideas.

Dr. Zimmerman- I really enjoyed hearing the three different renditions of "Wade in the Water" that Dr. Hougham played for us. It was neat to hear and feel how the tone of a single piece can completely change based on its musical and performer style (Big Mama Thornton v. gospel v. Nyahbinghi Livity Choir).

For me, it is not that one single piece of music could represent the idea of microtopias but rather the successful and interesting interaction between multiple different pieces of music. For when we aim to create microtopias, we must interact with other people and make sense of differences.



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