'The creative process: A true collaboration...'

ANAGENESIS - Animation by Salomeja Marcauskaite, Music by Freya Waley-Cohen
Interview with composer,
Freya Waley-Cohen:

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What approach have you taken to this collaboration?
Salomeja Marcauskaite and I took a very organic approach to making this animation. We allowed ourselves to be inspired by what we were most struck by in each other and in each other’s work. A true collaboration requires an openness to another persons thoughts and ideas, and it is rare to find someone with whom you can have this sort of communication. There is also a huge amount of trust involved, as the visual images associated with a piece of music have a huge effect on how we hear it, and vice versa.

Once we had discussed what mediums we wanted to use and the direction we wanted the piece to take, Salomeja drew up a storyboard of the images, colours and movement in the three minute piece. This dictated everything in my piece from tempo, structure and timings to the mood I wanted to evoke. I then recorded the music I had written, and she disregarded her storyboard, using my music to give her the details and colours of each moment in the piece. This process, along with meetings and discussions along the way, has ensured that we have had an equal role, reacting to each others creative ideas.

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What appealed to you about working with film?
Humans are visual creatures, and film is the perfect platform for the marriage of visual and aural arts. It gives the audience a new way of experiencing music, especially modern music, which is often thought of as inaccessible and difficult. We remember sounds more clearly when we can attach them to our other senses, and interact with music more comfortably when it is put into the context of film.
It also brings new challenges and restrictions for me, finding ways to integrate the two art forms. It often seems strange to me that different arts occupy such different cultural spaces. They are essentially different forms of human expression. Allowing film and music to work together and complement each other has the power to enhance both of their expressive and communicative abilities.

What do you think the live aspect of ANIMA brings to the project?
The fact that the musicians will be there, on stage, for the audience to see brings the two arts into balance. It is very easy to watch a film and let the music play a supporting role. Having the musicians there on stage brings the film to life, and makes the entire experience more vibrant and engaging. We are so used to interacting with recorded material at home and on the go, that having live music turns the event into a performance, something vivid and alive. A performance asks the audience to give their complete attention to that moment. They can’t re-watch it.
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What do you feel your project is trying to communicate?
Both the film and the music leave this up for interpretation to a large extent, and I am reluctant to say that it is necessarily trying to communicate something specific. Perhaps if it could be summed up in words just as eloquently, it wouldn’t be necessary to write the piece or make the film. Having said that, the idea came from our discussions of the internal process of creating something new. Salomeja and I work with different art forms, using different mediums. But in any art form, it starts from an idea that exists only in your mind. This was where we found our connection, our way to understand each other, and our inspiration for the film.