STATE OF THINGS
It feels like I’ve plagued myself mercilessly with a rather fatalistic nihilism. Because of being figuratively thumped repeatedly on the head with a lead cattle prod by the Belgian government, I sort of gave up. Recent events, however, would seem to suggest that there are further changes afoot. In my last State of Things declaration I suggested that I had no reason to explain my sudden artistic inspiration which resulted in the Zachar-o-meter rising to 6. Frantic. Well in truth that came to a pretty sudden end when I received a further fine from the city of Ghent for the same crim : leaving a property (the one I live in) vacant and allowing it to fall into disrepair (something attributed to the last owner). Since then, however, the first 15 thousand euro fine was completely revoked, and I assume that the city of Ghent will have to follow suit. Not only that, there have been real changes to the immediate environment. A room downstairs has been completely renovated giving me an immediate respite from the attic room I was using to isolate myself from what appeared an enormously unfriendly and largely indifferent world. And although this may not appear much to people who don’t know what a nightmare it is to have Bulgarian plumbing zig-zagging willy-nilly across the building you live in, today saw that nasty long and winding link to the sewer replaced with a hygienic route direct down a single large pipe which will be hidden behind false walls. Perhaps the most surprising thing of all, however, is that I suddenly decided to start swimming, i.e. do exercise of my own volition and for no purpose other than knowing it would be good to do so. After swimming a few laps at a public pool, practicing all the styles I could remember, I got quickly exhausted and stumbled home in the late afternoon heat happy that I’d done it. Now we just have to see if I’ll keep it up: as if to encourage myself I bought a ticket valid for ten visits. So who knows – maybe I’ll actually do it. The remarkable thing is that I went outside at all.
When I recently was served a notice for an official interrogation by the police for the misdemeanors of the previous owner of the property I recently bought (which the court has already decided I’m not liable for), I thought things couldn’t get any worse. Then the seemingly impossible happened: I received letters informing me I was liable to pay more than 15,000 euros for matters concerned with the aforementioned crimes which I’ve already been cleared of. I’ve had to contest this fine officially. The obvious reasoning for the contestation is that I can’t possibly afford to pay it. Aside from that, it’s ludicrous to be fined for not living in a property when you clearly are, and worse that you’re not only fined once but three times. For reasons which seem unfathomable I’ve actually received three separate fines (each for more than 5000 euros), one for each property which can only be explained by an administrative error. Even on paper I’ve only purchased 2 properties, and the city of Ghent has officially allowed me one address despite the fact that I pay yearly property taxes for two.
I’m unfortunately not coping well despite the fact that everyone is doing their very best to provide support and help me question a clear bureaucratic blunder. Hence the recent inability to get myself into action and feel enthusiastic about anything in particular. The writing of this depiction of my affairs, however, is a clear demonstration that things could be on the mend, but until I have confirmation that I’m no longer being unjustly persecuted by the Belgian juridical system and the unpayable fines are forever stamped into non-existence, I’m not sure how and when I’m going to escape this impasse. The reality is that things are probably not anyway near as drastic as I imagine them to be; it’s just become hard for me to tell the difference and to actually enthuse myself to do anything about it.
You’d think that things weren’t getting better if you knew that my irregular sleep problems remained all but unchanged. But you’d be wrong: at least I’m not sleeping for the right reasons. After finally accepting that there was nothing I could personally do to either improve the terrible privilege assigned to lawyers, notaries and the wealthy in general to the expense of everyone else in this country, I decided to make a move on producing architectural plans of how my acquisition actually looks and endeavor to work with the other owners to have the criminally written and for 12 years illegally perpetuated purchase deeds changed. It seems that this is all possible, and this current change of attitude has been accompanied by a relatively positive enthusiasm for life which for me means lots of creative impulses. Hence the irregular sleeping patterns; the desire to create evidently overrides the desire to either sleep or eat. At the same time I’m getting a lot of satisfaction out of rediscovering where all my material actually finds itself. I bought this enormous living space to encompass my increasing amount of artistic endeavours and eccentric possessions. The last year of inactivity, lethargy and depression has led to a total lack of interest in keeping track of all those things that used to be so important. Luckily, the advantage of radically replanning your living space means retailoring it to your individual means as I build up spaces for music composition, film and photography. Knowing where your cameras are is one example of this. A couple of weeks ago I wouldn’t have thought any of this was possible or that I would have the desire to achieve it; now it’s hard to imagine anything else. Controlling hard-disks and glitterlamps from my attic bed by remote control and finally cataloguing the clocks that I’ve pulled out of the dust, things are starting to look good.
As 2013 gradually winds itself painfully into a past I'd like to quickly forget, the possible sale of a quarter of my enormous but impossible to renovate living space suggests more positive developments in the future. The recent discovery of court orders and other problems hanging above the property I bought was unsettling enough. On top of the sudden appearance of 4400 euro additional costs for roof repair (after just moving heaven and earth to pay the first 4000), the unexpected appearance of a 1000 euro bill from a bank for administration costs a year after a 'bridging credit' was proved entirely unnecessary and did not take place, pushed me over the edge into a state of total panic. That the necessity of the application for this entirely unnecessary credit was the fault of the notaris who blankly and illegally refused to sell my apartment his client had already signed to buy for reasons which are still entirely unexplained also made me angry. That the bank who was responsible for the sudden appearance of this bill, without forewarning and directly from a debt collector, a year after the loan didn't take place, knew about the sale of my apartment and the document I had legally signed, still put the property I wished to purchase and now live in up for auction making me homeless for a year and forcing me into a court battle for reasons which are still unexplained, enfuriated me further and forced me into responding in the typical Zachar fashion: apart from writing a number of extremely detailed, lengthy and threatening letters which would seriously upset anyone who actually took the time to read them (but which are entirely ignored by the people they're intended to intimidate), I otherwise entirely withdrew from the world. I have to improve this way of coping with painful, depressing and/or stressful situations: withdrawal from the world and complete isolation from anyone who could help me combined with writing long and detailed letters which may boost my own sense of being right to myself (and upsetting people who care about me and inadvertently receive a copy, and otherwise ignored), proves itself time and time again ineffective. I finally decided to take the offers my friend has been making over the last year to help me seriously; he really does want to invest in my property by buying for himself one of the apartments within it which take up about a quarter of the space. This should give me the funds to make the property less of a danger to live in and get the Belgian court off my back; in fact I should be able to make it into a great space to continue working as an artist; I'll certainly have enough room for all my tools and my growing collection of erudite objects (i.e. junk). At this stage, things are therefore looking better but are still precarious, although the debts are still hanging over my head, I have no guarantee that my friend will go through with the purchase and if my complaints to the ombudsman for financial affairs are ignored I'll have debt collectors seizing my goods. I can only hope that 2014 is more promising than the relative misery of the last two years. At least I know things can't get any worse.
August and September have been busy months and the sudden biting coldness combined with a sleeping problem has made it hard for me to get into action and have the attic cleared out so that it is no longer a fire risk and a potential nest for mice, rats and cockroaches. Because of the increasing popularity of my absurd sex films set in a non-existent place, time and with a language of my own invention, people are coming from all over Europe to participate in them. This is putting a lot my creative energy into something which I sometimes fear could be time better spent; sex is never as much fun anyway if you have to think about make-up, lighting, whether you're on cam and the language that you wrote and no-one else understands is spoken correctly. Still, I was surprised as well two nights ago when I started writing an epic poem and the first chapter of what was intended as a short story but has already developed into a novella. I've also learned what it exactly means to have a Minipiano 'Pianette' model to repair and tune. Fascinating subject in itself which I've created a CURRENT PROJECT for to display photos. From what I've been able to find out about it on the internet, it's been largely forgotten which is a pity; it shouldn't actually be seen as a piano but as an instrument in it's own right; a piano it most certainly isn't; it doesn't have as many keys, functions differently, sounds unusual because of the contrasting use of stringsand if you buy it and expect it to sound like a piano you'll naturally be disappointed. More of this will be included later.
In June, in order to help me fight the gnawing fear that everything wasn't gong to turn out, I was lucky enough to receive an invitation from friends ...in Amsterdam who were interested in participating in a crazy surreal film in an artificial language. They did enormously well and we got a lot out of the experience, and I went home feeling like I'd really made a connection... then as I was recording the films I had to watch myself bossing these kind Dutch volunteers around, embedded in painful make-up on a hot day for more than six hours long. I had no idea that bossing people around and asking them to repeat the same scene endlessly until it was perfect was a natural part of my character. But the time spent in Amstrdam was wonderful, keeping my mind off the imminent sale (which didn't go through as expected, but has finally come through in the end). So as far as that's concerned my worries are over. I just have to face up to dealing with the worries awaiting me, although they seem far less threatening and I feel no bitterness towards the past.
On the 25th of March 2013 the decision was made to grant the court order to sell me the house I’ve been waiting a year to purchase. The lawyer for the owner of the building was present, as well.as the lawyer for the bank applying for the court order. The bank, who had arrested the sale to me because of loopholes in Belgian legislation which require that a property be sold by auction if a bank renders a mortgage debtor unreliable and attempts via a court order to have the property seized from them, finally realised that they would lose the least amount of money by selling the property directly to me seeing that I am not in debt and have access to the complete sale amount which they'd never be able to recuperate in case of auction. How it was possible for me to get into the sale of such a property that resulted in me being made homeless and then being forced to pay thousands of euros in legal costs, hotel bills and other unnecessary expenses, remains a mystery that needs solving. But in any case, the proceedings at the courthouse went well and it appears to my advantage. Although I wasn't invited to these proceedings, I was present there at the advice of the lawyer representing the Bulgarian man selling the property, and also to serve as a translator and a friend for the said Bulgarian who hardly understands a word of Dutch and has come to rely on my knowledge of Dutch, German and Russian. In any case, the judge recognized my presence there as the buyer of the property, meaning that he obviously must be aware of the complete situation regarding my finances. At the end of the proceedings, the Bulgarian's lawyer explained to me that since the two extra parties also invited to these proceedings who could possibly have questioned the approval of the court order didn’t show up, it is practically impossible that the court order will not be approved, sealed and sent out. The documents to finalise the sale will finally be signed within about a month, if all goes well. I've ensured that evidence relating to the corrupt and incompetent notary officials and the organizations that represent and protect them are available for public perusal when this whole affair becomes a national controversy, I feel I can finally leave the fear, confusion, anger and bitterness behind me. All of my problems haven’t been solved; there’s no guarantee that the path will be at all easy from here on in. But the decision to view things positively and to leave the negativity in the past is one I’m glad about. I am, however, going to be sure that the people who have caused me so much misery are forced to explain their incompetence and I'm currently seeking legal representation in this regard.
After a year and a half of almost unbearable misery, stress and insecurity about whether or not the sale of my house would take place. It was held up by arrogant and/or incompetent notary agents who insisted on making stupid mistakes and paying no attention to what sort of affect that would have on my life. One set of notary agents told me to pack everything into boxes and dissassemble all my furniture, but on the day of the signing they suddently decided that it was 'illegal' due to the absence of a certain document. They were proved, four months later after the vacation when I was at complete wits ends without any support or advice from these bastards, completely wrong. At the same time, another notary agent has proved itself even more problematic by being not only completely incompetent at handling the most basic of operations on time, but acting completely indifferently to the suffering they cause becaue they know that they will be protected by the organisation which takes complaints from the Belgian public concerning dissatisfaction with the notarial system. I sent in two separate applications and they were both ignored; worse of all, the notary agent Poppe is still causing enormous suffering among his clients who he is too inept to serve properly. For this reason, I've set up a special homepage were my ignored complaints can be easily downloadable by anyone with a gripe at either the individual agents or the system itself, which is inherently corrupt from within. When the veritable shit hits the fan and it becomes a national scandal, all of the people who've been informed about my web-pages, all the complaints themselves, tranlsations of some basic terminology into English for non Dutch-speaking readers and names and addresses of the organisations clearly at fault will be easily accessible to the general public. Other victims of the notaris Poppe have already contacted me, are similarly shocked by the way their valid complaints have been ignored. Now that this information is even easier to access, I hope that this will help in some way change within the system. Because personally I've had it up to here with the inexcusable behaviour, greed, threats and general sense of fear I've been forced to live in thanks to the stupidity of the notary agents and the corrupt organisations that protect them. A link to the 'MALPRACTICE AND CORRUPTION IN THE BELGIAN NOTARIAL WORLD' homepage can be reached by clicking the icon below, and although I will keep updating it with complaints from other Belgians who are similarly dissatisfied, I myself am withdrawing, completely alienated that I can do anything to help to change a self-protecting system of lies corruption which finds its home at the 'Kamer der Notarissen' in Flanders and the 'Benoemingscommissie' in Brussel, both of whom know about the positing of the homepage and my disatisfaction with the clear misery their self-protection brings into the lives of innocent Belgians.
Two weeks ago things began to go dramatically wrong with all the preceding plans that I had so enthusiastically made with the thought of the immenent purchase of my new house. In a nut-shell, on the day my apartment was to be purchased providing me with the funds to finance the unusual new space on the other side of town, without explanation or any form of warning, the notary agents stated that my apartment was lacking an official document and that the sale could not take place. The purchaser of my apartment seemed equally surprised by this sudden move; these notary agents had pushed me to pack my things and take apart my living space making it literally impossible to unpack and go on living a normal life in my apartment. My own notary agent has proved to be either stupid, incredibly lazy or in some sort of criminal dealings with the man who has signed the contract to sell to me. He has been lying outright about trying to solve the problem of this missing official documentation which other notary official, home-owner or lawyer thinks should be necessary. How can something like this happen? I am now being threatened by both the Belgian man who is legally obliged to buy my apartment as well as the Bulgarian who needs to sell his house to sign a contract to free them from the obligation to buy and sell respectively. My own notary agent has proved his worthlessness by lying outright about his efforts to solve the problem, showing a complete lack of interest in the fact that every day I'm forced to live with only a few shirts, a few pieces of cutlery and sleeping on the sofa, and with constant threats by telephone or inopportune visits to sign documents without the advice of my own lawyer or real-estate agent. No one can believe that something like this has happened and the worst part of it is that it is on the bridge of a vacation and the only people who could help me have departed on vacation. I'm desperately looking for a new notary agent who is not dense or corrupt and my real-estate agent who is now regretting becoming involved in the sale, is being enormously supportive and can't believe that I could be treated so badly by the notary officials who are there to help proceedings like these to take place with as little trouble as possible, and to provide support to their clients. You certainly have to pay them enough for it. I have appointments with lawyers and banks to organise the provision of 'bridging credit' which if everything had been done as it should would never have been necessary. I live from day to day and my health is suffering enormously; all artistic progress has stopped and I feel completely helpless.
['strange stasis sucks', says surprised seller]
I'm currently in a strange state of limbo. In order to sell my apartment, I was advised to pack as many things as possible into boxes and put them in storage. We took apart all my bookcases and a lot of the technology I had set up here. People's first reaction on entering this space is still that it is very crowded, so you can imagine how packed the whole space must have been. Naturally we were all surprised when it only took a few weeks to sell. Now, however, the waiting game has begun for the notaris and the real-estate agents to get the official documentation set up. This tends to take weeks and weeks in this country. Without books and limited technology I thought I was going to suffocate for lack of stimulation but a sudden burst of positive energy has influenced me to start a whole series of projects simultaneously in spite of the factors which would normally hamper such an endeavour. This past week has seen me experimenting with time-lapse photography, the completion of a whole series of films based on the ZAUM new music-theatre recordings from 1993 (revamped and updated with digital soundtrack), an essay on the subject of fictive languages and how I used it communicate the major themes in The Painstaking Cycle (and ultimately what I've learnt from the project), and most importantly the first steps towards writing the script for the next major film in the Incessant Cycle series which explores the tense system of my fictive language and the way we have of manipulating our own past so that it suits our present. I can partially thank an unexpected gift from a friend for the impetus for much of this - one which I'm enormously thankful for. Glenn Winkelmann Jnr. took the time to watch my film and wrote a review that really touched me deeply (excerpts of which I'll include on this site). Its interesting that while stuck in limbo I've managed to get out of the rut that was keeping me from progressing with my life. A few months ago the idea of leaving Ghent was difficult enough; last week I organized trips to Amsterdam and Italy to meet friends and family. Curiously, I've also decided I want to have children, making the new living space (divided as it is into 3 livings spaces with 3 separate kitchens and bathrooms) ideal for whoever decides to want to bear my offspring. This revelation has already surprised a few. How things change!
[Obscene 'Objets 'd'art' of Onan-obsessed Odd-one-out (or) Audacious Art Asking All Amelioration and Amicability]
After a successful run of about six-months I regrettably changed the art-work below which until recently has been viewable in all its 5 metre long glory at one of my two large windows which looks out onto the busy street below. I say regrettably for two reasons. The first one is that the intention was to keep it up until there was finally a new government in Belgium which is continuing its unbelievably long period of coalition negotiation. There was a major breakthrough with resolution relating to a final decision regarding the Brussel-Halle/Vilvoorde split which has torn this country apart for generations; I thought incorrectly that this was a sign that things were changing and that within the next couple of weeks (as predicted by the politicians) all the other problems would be solvable. I've removed the first, second, fourth and fifth panels; I did it gradually over a two week period. Fortunately the third panel is still there; I say fortunately because there is still no resolution and the large number of parties currently negotiating are digging in; the most recent problems being the liberals digging in for the middle-class vote. It's really sickening considering the clear damage this is doing to Belgians economic condition in a European crisis but typical of politicians anywhere in the democratic world. I really regret replacing the four panels, however, because of a letter I received from the syndicus. I was threatened with a fine of 50 euros per day if I didn't remove the work immediately, because apparently a hairdresser (who is not even situated anywhere near the work) complained because of its 'obscene' content. I told them clearly that their request would be denied because how dare they threaten me with a fine they have no right to impose when they could have just contacted me (among many other reasons, including infringement of my right as an artist to a express myself freely in a democracy, but I won't go into them here). Further I told them that it would stay until there was a new Belgian government; the work itself was a clear tribute to collaboration between the increasingly polarised sides of Belgium and was thus of cultural significance. I thus regret that it is not shown in completion because the ridiculously small-minded idiots who requested that I take it down may get the impression that I was intimidated by them. Otherwise, my third hamster has escaped and my pet rat (named aptly Ratticus) won't escape no matter how long I leave its cage door open.
[elegant energy enables ethernet extensions]
My silence for the last six months has been symptomatic of a general slippage in my own sense of self-worth. I turned fourty, all my goldfish died and my house started falling apart; that coupled with receiving devestating news over the future of my right eye put me into a right state. I was struck dumb with anger about the eye, but also for some reason embarrassed largely because the unfriendly doctors here treated me like I'd stuck a pen in my eye rather than had an operational procedure to lower vein infested conjunctival tissue over the cornea. This was four or five years ago to aid burst cornea which had left the cornea transplant which had previously taken place even more badly damaged. In any case, I'm coming out of that dip and have begun creating again, at least, things that are not directly connected to my eye (I made a sculpture of an enormous eye, made a video which fetishised the eye and I've also written some poetry which I'm planning to post soon). Writing, making graphic art, designing and even playing piano. I hope it stays like this. My creativity is also bringing changes to this website so that it better represents what I'm doing NOW as opposed to what I 'achieved' in the form of completed works in the past. I find that I may start many projects, but many of them will never get past the planning stage. I refer to these as the 'Corrupted Endeavours'. Very soon I'm planning to make a detailed SITEMAP that explains how the system works.
[on a decidedly devoted dandy's designs]
This rubric was originally added so that people visiting this site would get a quick slice of what is happening in my life. I haven't been at all good at keeping it up or in fact starting then. Looking below I'm embarrassed to see only one entry per year. I'd like to take this chance at last to confess what the real problem has been. In a burst of enthusiasm which probably dates around the time of the last entry, I decided to renovate my place of residence. In an almost bafflingly quick series of intense creativity I installed a mezzanine-floor, repositioned my workplace to be directed towards the process of creativity, repainted, built a set of bookcases, renovated furniture constructed an enormous eye on one of the windows, rewired everything to remote control devices at easily accessibly posts, constructed a set of artworks directed towards the street, among many other things. From that impetus, however, it has taken until only very recently to get over it. In other words, I must be the only person who has spent the last year doing little else than cleaning up. All in all, I'm lucky to be alive. As I did it all on my own without even a single bit of help my body is covered with scars; learning how to jigsaw a bathroom fixture into the right shape can really hurt if you direct it accidently through your finger. Discovering through an almost fatal fall from the mezzanine that the construction of a set of stairs needs a hand-rail taught me one of many valuable but painful lessons. There are many, many absurd and funny (but all true) stories to tell about this last year and in fact what I've done and am attempting to do, so my current emphasis is on finding a new way to present the structure of my website at a glance so that potential visitors can see not only that I do amazing things a lot of people are too scared (or too smart) to dare, but that the whole process of making mistakes and learning from them, and how this relates dynamically with how I make sense of my world through my art; how I try to get people [both real and virtual] to interact with me. I want this site to reflecf not only what I do but how I think. This involves some basic structural changes which are currently being brewed. In the homepage, in any case, each new rubric should show things I've done but also foundational concepts and ideas that may or may not develop into music-theatre compositions or films or art-works. This will not be easy; at the moment apart from a few innovations this site is basically a set of my collected works. From this week I've decided to do something about it. The first is to include a recent photo of me. This is important because the way my body changes or the way I change it can actively influence the processes I undergo in the creation of art.
[on the chillingly cold climate and also on covertly covetting curious clocks chronically]
- It has been extremely cold in Belgium but I find these two months during which the temperature often slips below zero that the weather has a contrasting effect on my thought patterns. Cold days, especially those with clear blue skies, make me think in a clearer fashion. Although the days are short, I find the hours spent outside in the open are more beneficial to my health and creativity. Unfortunately the cold weather seems to have no impact on dampening my obsessive compulsive habit. I am finally forced to reveal the truth to the world: I'm addicted to purchasing Art Deco clocks - this week alone I added five new ones to the growing collection. Each example a beautifully economic statement about temporality and the environment, these icons are also fulfilling metaphors to represent the irreverent way I look at life, and the inevitable consequence time renders on each of our lives.
- Although 2008 was tainted by the tragic death of my brother and periods of severe depression, I still have to admit that it has all the same been as equally fruitful artistically (if not more) than the preceding years which brought me from Belgium, through China and Australia back to Belgium again during which I developed a general loathing for travelling. Staying put has its advantages, and I feel that for the first time in my life, regularity will help both my state of being and creativity. but as the year has concluded and we move so very soon into 2009, personal developments in my own life have helped me get out of the difficult rut I'd found myself in. The tragic death of my brother mid-year came alsmost directly after I felt like I was truly back on track creatively as an artist. Personally my films were both intimate expressions of who I was but also a form to throw at the world and see if their could be some exciting cross-referencing of signification via the work of other film-makers/composers. For the first time I chose the film festivals - that was naive because although the films are at a professional level to say the least, they do require significant input from the watcher and create their own genre within the short film market. The sudden shock of my brother's death and my short return to Perth, Western Australia, to attend his funeral, was really difficult for me and I've been fighting to return again to the excited film-maker/composer I once was. I can honestly say today that an understanding of the reasons for my films not being chosen for the festivals has nothing to do with the quality of the work, still every rejection is like a dagger in my heart. All the events that occured around the death of my brother, including disturbances with the public transport system where I had to fight to have maltreatment recognised, lost luggage and of course the funeral itself, will one day be combined to create a story that brings into words the loss I feel for a brother I both admired and loved; the hard part is knowing that he had doubts about my true faith and love. I love you, Benjamin Laskewicz, and I miss you every day.
Currently I'm working on a number of poems, one about a little piglet called Bernadette who saves the life of its owner (parodying Charlotte's Web by using the pig as a human organ harvest. The other poem is surreal in style and is based on the existential notion of 'Stage-Fright' I've discussed in other works. Tentative title : 'That Awful Racket'.
- Recent developments have been in the direction of design; this has included most recently tailoring costumes on an antiquated sewing machine and also furniture restoration/sculpture. Although I'm really pleased with my new developments as a film-maker, the world has been almost completely unanimous in its total lack of interest of my experimental works : I have the dubious honour of being rejected by almost every major film festival held in 2008 all around the world. Largely because of this injury to my self-image, I've industriously involved myself with other forms of expression. Photos will come soon of the new clothes I've designed for use in possible film projects.
[on becoming more real on the internet than in real-life]
At the moment, working on my website has the highest priority and saving or revitalising works from the past is of the uptmost importance. I say this after the recent discovery of an article I wrote over ten years ago (in hard copy) and the capturing of the TV Brussels Interview and its translation into English (sub-titling) that has helped me observe how alhtough I've learnt a great deal and have become a more mature communicator; I'm certainly a lot less naïve than I used to be, still the basic themes underlying my work remain the same, whether that is as a composer, or a writer, or a performer or a film-maker. It is true that I feel a lot less serious about it all now than I did when I was in the midst of writing my PhD or taking my performance on tour to festivals in various unheard of places. Still with that said, now that I'm spending a lot of time rescuing and preserving older pieces, I'm getting more of a chance to stay at home and think about new projects, which I also find a positive development.
[On explaining the sudden interest in working with film and the saturation of films now available]
I've always had aspirations to work with film. Since the middle of 2006, circumstances for the development of this side to his work were optimal; access to camera's, musical instruments, props, costumes and a musician/composer to develop music-theatre projects. The early days involved period costume setting of early twentieth century works, as well as the training of compositions by Glass which give you a lot of time to move the right and the left hand around before crossing them over. These compositions by Glass, in fact Glass' exaggerated repertoire in general, brood upon romanticism, and it's only logical that making the connection between the piano, the silent-film era, the avant-garde in dance around the turn of the century and finally expressionism/symbolism all graphic and multimedia art, would cause me to be stimulated to write a series of my own compositions which use these ALL of the possibilities provided by the filmic and the musical, combined with the linguistic : I would write a new language based on one that was spoken somewhere in Europe between the world wars during that period of artistic ferment. It would be a Sanskrit-based language, but its references unusual and absurdist; many chances would be offered to me to create meta-narratives based on the structure of this language and the dramatic framing techniques I used in performance.
Currently I'm working on the opening chapters of a novel. Initially, while teaching multimedia music-composition in China, I gave my students an assignment : to decorate an existing ancient Chinese melody that had the simple title 'Music for the Emperor', providing them with many possible opportunities to see what could count as a 'decoration' - anything from a trill, to a variation, to an extension of the very idea. As an example I composed a number of works, which quickly extended from being just musical ideas to a whole narrative and linguistic concept for which I ended up writing a dictionary of sorts, a grammar and a cultural history. With the music I'd composed for a combination of western and Chinese instruments I'd planned to write a libretto which makes use of two languages: the langauge of 'the court' in which the emperor exists and which the audience can understand (English initially), and the language 'Umònatònmènatilànutàlitònolah' [or 'Umolah' in one of its shorter titles] which are spoken by the people who the 'emperor' is supposed to have power over. In the course of the narrative, one gradually discovers that the emperor, in fact, is trapped in a nightmare, and the process that he has to go through is the relearning of his native language in order to escape from the literal hell of the court in which he is trapped. I had a whole set of music-theatre scenes planned within this day in which the emperor must realise why his life in the court doesn't make any sense, but the ridiculous complexity of the language I composed and the impossibility of it every being performed left me with the far better idea of writing the story in the form of a novel, which is rich in content in itself and has the potential to work far better. Examples from MUSIC FOR THE EMPEROR can be seen at the following link:
HOMEPAGE - SITE MAP - STATE OF THINGS - SITE HISTORY- ACCOLADES