Truth and Lies
During our devising sessions a few months ago, we were exposed to a variety of images, articles, discussions and debates over the roles and repercussions of technology in the world. Then, we were asked to respond.
Each actor and designer was given the task of creating some sort of art that reflected a visited theme during one of the sessions or that contributed a new idea to the collective. For this activity, I chose to write a piano piece that I felt captured a theme of collapse that we had approached in our sessions. Throughout that process, I was exhilarated by the idea of drawing music out of dialectical concept. Once the school year ended, I began my summer job at a cherry packing shed in Stockton, California, excited to continue devising music for Forget Fire. But that creative drive was quickly silenced.
My position at the factory required me to work with a slew of various technologies: various computer programs, sorting machines, conveyor belts, inventory computers, sales orders. And despite this garden of technological inspiration, I found that none of the elements of the factory inspired me to create for our technologically themed show. My frustration accumulated throughout the summer without any fruitful compositions coming out of my month and a half at the job. Now, I realize that I had been trying to seek inspiration in all the wrong places. The truth became clear: technology cannot inspire creativity.
Of course, technology can be creatively inspired as evidenced by every snappy new smart phone, but try as they might, they cannot inspire their users to engage creatively. It is a product and a tool of creation, but not a muse. So why then can a beautiful painting, another created product, stir our emotions to create in the same the artist has created? The only reason I have discovered is this—the painting reflects real life. Even more, it highlights that aspect of reality that the artist found beautiful and emphasizes it to invite you to experience its beauty as well. The painting is (in a very rudimentary way) no more than a tool in the hands of the artist, but it is one that the artist uses to emphasize the life behind the painting. Technology is also a tool, but not an instrument of appreciative emphasis.
“Oh no,” I breathed at my realization. “Our show is doomed!” How could we possibly construct a dynamic story around something as lifeless and superficial as technology? But perhaps technology can be a tool of emphasis. When used correctly, it does emphasize life. We, the users, are the life behind the technology. The electronic world is living and dynamic in that it can illuminate the lives of individuals or whole collections of people, woven together in a wireless network.
Truly, our inspiration for Forget Fire is human life. We begin by observing the truth and lies coded into the world of technology. Through technology, we receive an imperfect idea of person—a delusion—that I can choose to “friend” and engage with only on a superficial plane. But technology also asks us, “Do you dare to engage with this person on a real level? Will you push past the superficial to something inspirational?” And that is where the music is.
Sadly, I do not have any compositions recorded for the show to leave with you, but I do have this. It is called Starlight, and it is inspired by a very real and inspirational friend named Chandler. I’m so excited to be going on this trip with her and the rest of our incredible collective, and I can’t wait for everyone to see the form Forget Fire will take as it continues to be drawn out of our creative endeavors. God bless!