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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 Jennifer Barish at 1:18PM
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Blog posting written by Jennifer Barish, Communication Management & Design ‘14, FLEFF intern, Skokie, IL

In my first definition of microtopia, I left out a vital part of the story.

I had only scratched the surface; you can have an individual experience within a microtopia, but it’s cooperation, collaboration, and organized chaos that creates a “different environment.”

With each improvised performance paired with silent film, Robby Aceto creates a singular microptopia from a diverse coagulation of sound. It’s all made up on the spot. Toy instruments. Mandolins. Cellos. Textured electronic audio.

The musicians in Aceto’s ensemble don’t have to compromise on creating one sound. Starting with a baseline of “respect” and trust among the artists, they’re equally a part of the process and collectively in control of their environment.

The exciting part, Robby expressed, is waiting for disaster.

As I watched clips from pieces of expressionist German film set to Aceto’s improvised melodies, my viewing experience created a profoundly “different environment.” Without an established soundtrack to comment on the film, I felt involved and emotionally invested. The musicians were not just “recreating” the notation of another artist’s vision, but interpreting the film—and welcoming the audience to talk about it, too.

It’s a beautiful, utopic thought—the idea that a group of talented musicians can successfully share an art-form while including a community of engaged onlookers.

But the moment is fleeting. The credits roll, and at the next performance, there will be new sounds, fresh reactions, and a different environment.

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