Wednesday Aug 31st, 2016
Multiple-exposure photo by Thomas Carr
Kayla, Thomas and I were planning our trip to the Pacific Northwest a month ago, and everyone around us kept asking, “What are you doing up there?”
“Oh, you know,” we told them, “going to an abandoned mental hospital two hours north of Seattle to create a collaborative short film about transformation.”
The usual. The true origin story of this project was an open call from YoungArts a few months ago, inviting any and all YoungArts alumni to submit their personal work for consideration for a project called “Transformations.” In reflection of YoungArts turning 35 years old this year, this creative initiative has given 15 alumni – grouped into five groups of three – the resources and challenge to create a short film on the topic, however it’s interpreted by each group.
I’m too excited to be one of those 15 alumni chosen, and to be grouped with two other visual media artists with nerdy hearts (like myself) – Kayla Briët (2016, Cinematic Arts), a filmmaker, composer and interactive/virtual technology queen; and Thomas Carr (1982, Photography (#OG)), a photographer and badass archeologist.
We did indeed go to an abandoned mental hospital north of Seattle in early August, seeking inspiration on the theme of transformation in deteriorating structures which are now returning to nature – we spent two days in this vast playground of graffiti, mossy barns and overgrown blackberry bushes (aka built-in set snacks).
Photo by Thomas Carr
Photo by Kayla Briët
Seeing a place in the middle of a large-scale, natural transformation like this was surreal. It felt like being in the mind of someone who hasn’t decided yet what to be, where to go, what the future holds. I think the location, captured gorgeously by Kayla and Thomas, showcases the beauty and the messiness of that in-between – the fervor and uneasiness of transitions that I find relatable as a human – of the indefinite moment between the trigger going off and the result actually unfolding.
I ended up dancing/moving around the grounds while Kayla created music, and this gave us a human character to work with for our abstract narrative. Our film’s story is still unfolding (we have another work session planned for next week to further edit and manipulate all our footage) but we’re already rich with inspiration, curiosity and possibilities for depicting this universal theme of transformation.
Photo by Thomas Carr
It’s so amazing to have an opportunity like this, and we’re infinitely thankful to YoungArts. It’s unbelievable and rare – SO RARE, like, not even in top art conservatories – to reliably be paired with artists who are ultimately talented, generous, intelligent and friendly. This collaboration has been a breeze, with much love and support from YoungArts, and we’re excited to see the five final films from this “Transformations” projects in a few months when this wraps up. We hope you’ll gain new perspectives from our explorations and the opportunities YoungArts is constantly offering, as we have.