When I traveled back to my home of San Francisco, I expected to experience a clear sense of rootedness when seeing my friends and family, in the significant contexts of a wedding, a farewell party, and a meeting between my significant other and family members. The latter was quite meaningful, but the other two events felt surprisingly casual. At the wedding, I was more preoccupied with the activities and emotions of the wedding itself than I was with the emotional significance of reconnecting with childhood friends. Similarly at the farewell party, it felt more like a normal party than anything else, with some touching moments of music and reminiscence, but the moments of transcendent connection I had imagined simply did not happen. I did sit down with my friends, teacher, and mother on separate occasions to record conversations surrounding the topic of rootedness, which yielded some interesting quotes that I intend to incorporate into the tape element of the set, but the experience as a whole inspired me to adjust my question slightly.
The primary lesson I took away from the experience of the trip is that the reflection I have been engaging in has more to do with myself than it has to do with the people in my kinship network. I am the person feeling fragmented, stretched across cultures, uprooted, and my questions about rootedness are more about my internal state and perception of relationships than the relationships themselves.
Transitioning back into life in London led me to a renewed question and focus for the set. The question is: how does transcultural experience fragment identity, and how do we attempt to weave ourselves back together?
Some songs I have been writing on the side took on a new life when I focused my ideas around these questions. As a result, I have decided to centre the set around a core of songs, which I will enhance with live processing and electro-instrumental improvisational interludes.
The structure of the set became clear after I made this decision. While the conceptual characters in the previous structure remain almost all the same, the development of the set is different now. The table below shows the new structure.
The set will be 45 minutes in total. "Revolution" and "Strange" I composed last year; "Garden" is mostly composed from last year but I intend to re-write parts of it; "Practice" I composed recently. Here are some samples of the new songs I have yet to write, "Battleground" and "Weather Balloon."
Quite simply, this set is my answer to the question above, as it applies to my life. As an artist, making music is the best way I can make sense of the complex and elusive challenges of a transcultural existence. My hope is that by animating these questions and my own reflections around it, I can inspire the audience reflect on how the themes intersect with their own lives.