Dreamerfly, & other stories

“Dreamerfly, and other stories,” is a 45-minute interdisciplinary performance combining multi-screen animation, live camera and contemporary/jazz music. It is a multi-sensory experience that explores human intellectuality, suspended in the fascination between what is real and what is fiction. Dreamerfly is inspired by a Chinese philosophy story, about a dream between an old man and a butterfly. The performance relays this story in five movements which examine struggle, loss, loneliness, balance and rebirth. It is intended for curious audiences interested in searching for meaning.

Two tracks, recorded remotely in our homes, mixed by Dan Blackett and mastered by Sam Baldwin of town studios are available on BandCamp. This music was used for an 8-minute installation which was exhibited at the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum since October 2020.

I’m the logistics coordinator for this project. It is Shiyi and I’s second major venture since Minister of Loneliness, and began with an idea from a podcast. Listening to Stuff You Should Know’s “How Galaxies Work,” I was intrigued by the description of elliptical galaxies… chaotic, dark, unpredictable, making up the majority of the universe. Sounded just like life. On that first listen, I was walking by James Owston’s flat in Birmingham and called him immediately – we brainstormed this idea for a project with animation. James was the perfect person to collaborate with as I had just witnessed his masterful compositions based on aspects of particle and astro physics. This was his piece to write. I spoke about the concept with Shiyi when we were in Bangkok, spending our nights fantasizing about what we’d do next.

Shiyi was commissioned for the “Thirteen Ways of Looking…” exhibition curated by Dr. Sylvia Theuri, a New Art West Midlands and International Curators Forum Curatorial Residency in partnership with and hosted by Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, in association with Coventry Biennial. We brought Daniel Kemshell, London-based guitarist, and Lindsey Eastham, American contemporary percussionist (London-based) on board and have been working remotely to make this project a possibility.

Above: full installation animation & audio
Above: installation excerpt with musicians overlaid


The Guardian
The List
The Herbert

Sounding Eye Collective


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