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Through writing of the 10,000 things we explored the idea of authorship, ownership and selflessness in creativity, challenging the concept of individuality and personal style. Our togetherness itself was an essential part of the working method on the piece. We began with an agreement about the composition’s instrumentation, its duration and we then created an overall structure, or architecture, which was both specific and open for each of us to interpret in our own ways. We have both had many experiences with other collaborators – choreographers, visual artists and poets – so the process was familiar. What makes this piece unique for us is that there was no hierarchy in how the work was divided or decisions were made.  If seen through a material art form, we imagined our work as a pure white canvas, and that at any time, either one of us could put onto this canvas any color, with any brush, at any location on the canvas and at any point in time (such as writing the ending before working on the middle section, for example). We had agreed on the “edges” of the canvas so whatever we placed within those “edges” was accepted. Leaving space for the other to fill in, or not, lead to each of us being inspired by the other’s ideas and lead to a continual coalescing process, the result of which is these “10,000 things.” We were aware that our individual musical languages would merge and welcomed the idea that they would create a new quality, a new language, intrinsic to the specific circumstance in which the piece was created, as well as its character, form, and emotional content. Essential qualities that we nurtured in the process of writing “10,000 things” were acceptance, trust, curiosity, imagination, openness, and joy.

 

Aleksandra Vrebalov and John King, August 2016