With this internship in Japan, I came with the focus of working on the marketing side to my double major at Illinois Wesleyan University.
However, an unexpected opportunity opened up for me during my time here at the art residency. One of the performance artists, Aurora Lagattuta, asked me to collaborate with her in a contemporary dance piece for the exhibition. I accompanied her, singing the Rachmaninoff Vocalize blind folded while she danced — an experience I will be forever grateful for & will never forget.
So for my last exhibition in Onishi, I was not just an observer, but an artist myself. The piece we did was durational with a set done 3 times, each slightly different and titled Itako: The Human Body Time Machine Archive Performance.
If you are curious about the title, it comes from the Japanese word Itako who are blind shaman women who train to become spiritual mediums in Japan.
Through a contemporary format we interpreted what it was like to be an itako. And in this piece, I was able to serve as more than accompaniment. Together we explored the overall concept of time; the influence of water with sound; the relationship between sight (or lack there of) and sound; and sound and movement. Within each set, I was able to build up the vocalize from humming to whistling and half voice and finish with full voice.
For me, this moment where I got to experience the raw exposure yet safety of singing with no view of the audience has changed my perspective on performance and given me a new found confidence.
The feedback I received from the community was so heartwarming and it reminded me of why I choose to sing and share my voice.
This past year I had run into the habit of shying away from many performance opportunities. To be able to perform for a community that was so appreciative and touched by what I can do was incredible and so reassuring.
I am so grateful for the IWU Asia Freeman Foundation for giving me this amazing opportunity to intern across the world for an organization that catered to both my interests and talents.
Thank you to the amazing, Sarah Dale, who sent me the accompanist recording of herself on the piano when I asked her for this favor. You are a gem!
Thank you Aurora Lagattuta for giving me a chance.
Thank you Kjell Hahn for such a great internship and exhibition experience.