Concept for Project

coat of scars, soil of wounds

A journey into personal trauma, the echoed sounds heard from within it, and the scars that are its signature.

The project:

Coat of Scars, soil of wounds is a multidimensional creative work that emanates from a new composition by the world renowned musician ……………, in dialogue with two other creative artists, one, the distinguished modern dancer ……………, the other, the Madrid-based visual artist Marvin Liberman.

Together these three explore the nature of trauma, personal, familial and communal, in our contemporary world, its immediate effects, and the long-term wounding and scarring of those who have suffered from it. It seeks to understand how these wounds embed themselves not only in our bodies and in our psyches, but equally in the social fabric in which we are enveloped, and then, through very divergent paths, re-form themselves into a metaphoric woven cloth wrapping each of us … individuals, families and communities alike, from those moments forth – forming in the end a … Coat of Scars.

A coat implies not only a covering but a protection, no longer the skin we once knew, but something ‘else’, something rewoven and marked by the gashes of these deep wounds, whose scars are transformed into a thread of barbed, broken, rough-edged fiber from which each of us alone and each of us as a group weave ourselves a covering, a wrapping, a coat, embedding within it all that we have known, all that we have suffered, all that we cannot yet speak of, and who it is we have become.

Soil of wounds then reaches beneath us to the nature of that substance … the soil, in which we all are rooted, both as an individual and as one who is part of a larger group. This material out of which we grow and form our lives, and the self (and selves) we become, are forever altered by that trauma. In time each of us comes to recognize that we have beneath us, and within us, an altered soil, transformed by the wounds we have endured.

The project’s origin:

The premise within which we work is this: pain inflicted and internalized, be it through emotional collapse, cruelty, crime, secular and ethnic hatred or war, strikes each of us first in the dark aloneness of our own self. We know it, suffer it, live with its anguish, lose ourselves within its warped, secluded, other sense of time, alone. From within this imposed internal retreat, without means to protect ourselves, often without means to even understand, many of us, slowly, begin somehow to recognize those close to us who, in equal measure, are ravaged as we are, and a bond can form between us. Through some process, these connections, these initial bonds solidify, making it possible for us to find the means to be nurtured in this soil and survive.

This communal effort may, in time, form a real community, a woven-together entity that knows what others do not, and shares in the act of surviving … and later, rebuilding. From this, over time, such a coat of scars may surround each and every one of us, wrap our skin and self and hopefully provide a mantle which goes with us wherever we go. That mantle is our outer covering and it is our witness. Then, as we also root ourselves in this soil of wounds, as it lies beneath us, it may provide nutrients for growth that can sustain us wherever we go. This soil and this coat are then our companions and our witnesses. Both hence have become a part of who we are.

Reasons for pursuing the project:

The realities underlying this joint effort are those of the nearly daily onslaught of terror, cruelty, emotional collapse, factional fighting, irrational hatred and murder that make up our epoch at a scale that is often hard to bear and painful to witness. In a more personal sense, each of the artists involved has journeyed through some aspect of these realities, and so is marked as well by them.

The project has, as one of its reasons for being composed, a need on our part to mine something of this endlessly recurring nightmare and to use our own creative languages to voyage within it from its onset—solitary trauma, to trauma inflicted on many, to the forming of a means to hold on to one another, survive and form a life once again … expressed in part through the evolving metaphor of coat of scars, soil of wounds.

The approach and staging:

The work is conceived as a public presentation, a stage experience, in front of a live audience. Sound, slow movements, textures and changing imagery are its key components. Ms. ………… would perform at center stage, towards the front; her composed work and her physical presence seen as the voice of the work.  She may be clothed in a coat that helps to place her within the central context and texture of the work. Below her and covering the entire stage is an uneven covering of earth, mixed with plant matter, shreds of cloth and shards of industrial material; the soil about which we speak. Behind her, during transitory periods in the work, Ms. ………… would perform, draped in a simple, bare cape or coat, for similar reasons; her movements an appearing and disappearing presence in the work, the body itself, reflecting its passage among sound and image.

Further back, a large, shaped, floating mantle of material, suspended and kept in extremely slow yet constant movement. The material would be worked to sustain its own particular surface quality and tonality, the basis for the metaphoric coat or skin; its slow, constant undulation a reflection on the inherent instability of traumatized lives. On this coat would be projected in whole, in detail, or at times manipulated, the images of Mr. Liberman’s work, moving onto and across the surface in relation to the music composed by Ms. …………, and the dance choreographed by Ms. ………… .

These four elements, voice, body, soil and coat serve together to form an intimate, dynamic exchange, where voice is constant, body appears & disappears, soil spreads out below and coat floats onto its unsettled surface visual metaphors for the realities being sought in coat of scars, soil of wounds.