This is where things get particularly interesting. It seems so simple, but this act of combining this extremely modern medium, video, whose rewards are immediate and ubiquitous, with this old, laborious process whose rewards are painstakingly slow is so effective.
In this way, her very medium is infused with meaning, and the statements her pieces make is heavily enforced by the process by which they were created. This efficacy is evident in viewing these images over the Internet, but in seeing them in person, these large woodcuts are pretty astounding. I won't bother going into an exhaustive analysis of her work, breaking down the intricate double codings taking place, but I hope you look into exploring more of her work.
(A good interview with Baumgartner can be found here.)
In our piece exit crafting, Anna Weisling, Eric Sheffield and I hoped to create a piece that conveyed an effective experience to the audience. The process we used to develop the piece was one of performative collaboration--starting from some snippets of musical material I'd developed, we three sat down together and honed the segments of the piece into something that felt right, by playing through things together, giving each other feedback, and developing our own parts.
Here's a video of us performing for a class at UW-Whitewater in December:
Here are my 'formal' notes on exit crafting:
collaborative performance by
Ben Willis, double bass
Eric Sheffield, electronics, guitar
Anna Weisling, visualizations
The process for creating exit crafting was/is a collaborative one. That is, each member of the ensemble is responsible for their own part, and, in composition, responsible for effectively reacting to and critiquing the other parts of the ensemble. To those of us musicians who have been involved in musical groups within ‘popular’ idioms, such as rock bands, and, to an extent, jazz combos, this process doesn’t sound unfamiliar in the least. But in the world of Western Classical music, which is instilled with a separation of composers and performers--the idea that there is one composer, and the ensemble has only the creative liberty to interpret the piece--this process is rarely seen.
The compositional language of exit crafting is intentionally located in a space between ‘art music’ and ‘popular music.’ The harmonies created are largely consonant, often based around fourths, fifths, triadic and tonal-sounding material. Formally, each section works through a series of changes--the first a gradual evolution of the pitches ascending in the bass, the second a series of sections that treat similar material in several ways (a repeated arpeggiating guitar pattern with melodic bass sounds layered on top), and the third a sort of merging of the two: sections that are different and moved through gradually elaborated material, but based in a distended pop-song form of verse-chorus-bridge, but is stretched in a way that disallows the sections from being repeated.
The video element of exit crafting ties the material into a combined sensory experience. The video material was developed alongside the musical material, rather than sculpting one to fit the other, as when music is written for films, or music videos are made to complement pre-existing music.