Led by director and co-composer Peter Power, In Clouds sees an award-winning group of artists come together to create a unique site-specific piece in Triskel Christchurch this June.
This new immersive musical experience invites the audience alongside the artists, to examine the human struggle to encompass and understand scientific theory, natural phenomena and human behaviour. Specially commissioned by Triskel Arts Centre and Cork Midsummer Festival to celebrate 40 years of Triskel, In Clouds blends original composition by Power and co-composer Michael Gallen, text by novelist Sara Baume, choral experimentation by the contemporary ensemble Tonnta led by Robbie Blake, choreography/dance by Stephanie Dufresne, and an audio visual installation by Sarah Jane Shiels and David Mathúna.
In Clouds ventures off course into a new musical world, which asks us to find comfort in a world of unknowns where we can abandon the notions of the clock for the cloud.
Peter Power writes for RTÉ Culture about the concept of the show…
"We love to reduce things down, to take a snapshot of something and divide it up into smaller parts so that we can fully understand it. It has been the mantra of our age; look up into the night sky, look down into the micro-cosmic, compartmentalise the unknowns into bite-sized pieces and figure them out individually. Once you do that, re-assemble and viola, no more doubts, a clock created from a cloud. This lego-brick surety of the world has propelled us along for some 400 years (although you could say far longer) at a ferocious pace, our appetites now for knowing fully outstripping our awareness of their consequences. We are as a species afraid of the dark, forever trying to turn on lights in places where light has never shone, propelled by the awesome fear and wonder of things our imaginations create to fill places we have not seen, have not been.
We are all in need of not just stories, but provocations; not just on-the-nose political commentary in art, but challenges to the very architecture of how we engage.
If you feel like blaming someone, you might do well to blame Descartes. But personally, I think it more likely to be the pattern processing evolution gifted you with, and the utterly appalling accident of our conscious mind realising one day, while it ticked along helping us discover fire and speech and painting and music, that we are finite, and this world we know will stop. That we die. That we are undone.
So in many ways, you can understand our need to be sure, our need to wrestle a world in chaos into submission, to break it apart and be its master. But I think, as we have gone along doing so, we have lost something, some deeper appreciation for the value of things we don’t understand. This idea is more than a musing though, it has real world applications. We see this issue all around us, in the industrialisation of education towards learning with measurable outcomes rather than learning for learnings sake; the over regulation of therapy methods; the placebo effect; socio-political movements that aren't flexible enough to accommodate the reality of community. We need more respect for the things with don't know, and the things we don’t know we don’t know. We need to become comfortable again in confusion, and having to work for our own answers together. Towards discourse.
I wanted to find a way to present people with an unknown experience, where they simply witnessed a different language of communication.
In Clouds in a way is an attempt to have a conversation about that, about us abandoning the clock for the clouds as I have been putting it, to become more comfortable in the nebulous. This is why the work is between disciplines; dance, literature, music, architecture, visual art. I wanted to find a way to present people with an unknown experience, where they simply witnessed a different language of communication. We’ve been researching it for a long time, each member of the team has created an entire story and meaning for their contribution. It has depth the whole way down; for instance Sara Baume has written a 5000 word piece on the whole world of the idea, we all know it and are using it to sew the narrative into our work. But to the audience, we will only present fragments of this. It’s a strange decision, leaving out things that might help you justify your rigour. But you can show and tell too much, and not leave space for people to find their own answers.
I trust audiences, I trust people. We are all in need of not just stories, but provocations; not just on-the-nose political commentary in art, but challenges to the very architecture of how we engage. Someone recently asked me is this work political, and I had to stop and consider it. What does that even mean? In Clouds is just an experience hung on the idea of shattering reducible ideas we can take charge of apart and sitting into the more real fog of unknowing; it’s asking people to stop being so sure, and allow in change into your life, not as a sign of failure, but asa sign of success. And its designed to be accessible to everyone, it is not exclusionary or academically aggressive. It’s just a feeling we’ve made from a big idea put to music and dance and visuals and prose we’d like you to sit into for an hour. It’s discourse, genuine discourse.
And if that isn’t truly political, I don’t understand politics.
In Clouds is at the Triskel Christchurch, June 15-17 (preview 14 June) - tickets are available now from the Cork Midsummer Festival Box Office, or online here.