In anticipation of Liquid Music’s Double Header: New Music & Dance Duos on April 17 & 18, Liquid Music blog contributor Nick Lanser interviewed composer Dustin O’Halloran to learn more about his collaborative project with dancer/choreographer Fukiko Takase, 1 0 0 1. Here they discuss inspiration, creative process, and the animating concepts of 1 0 0 1, a half-evening of new music and dance exploring territories of technology, humanity, and mind-body dualism in our electronics-forward existence.
Nick Lanser: How did you and Fukiko come to work with each other? What about each other’s art or practice made you want to collaborate?
Dustin O’Halloran: Fukiko and I first met when we worked together for Wayne McGregor's contemporary dance piece ATOMOS. I was so impressed with her instincts and intellect toward dance and felt that we had a connection in this way, and we planted the seed to one day do something together.
NL: When composing for dance, do you have movement in mind? As you create arrangements to support movement, do you have a different approach than you would, for say, a film score?
DO: Film is very much a box in some ways; it has defined borders, and timelines which can be restrictive. Dance is a much more open concept of working for me, and I approach it how I would write for myself, like a blank canvas that needs filling. I think its one of the purest ways music and visuals can connect as its completely organic. I learned from working with Wayne McGregor that music for contemporary dance doesn’t necessarily have to support movement in a traditional sense as much as it needs to create an atmosphere and environment that can evolve and shift and give space. This freedom is fundamental to me and its an area to be very creative and explore new ideas.
NL: Your Liquid Music project is about technology, humanity and mind-body dualism as we “approach the age of AI.” How did you and Fukiko arrive at this concept? Did another piece of artwork or literature inspire it?
DO: We're inspired by the concepts from the Japanese anime classic The Ghost In The Shell and also this new frontier that seems to be coming soon with AI and what it will mean for humanity. There are so many questions about the soul and technology and where it will lead us. We found these concepts inspiring for us as we both wanted to explore taking organic materials and transforming them with technology and how this could be interpreted through dance and to search for new languages in our art forms.
NL: What has been the most significant moment in the creation of this work, thus far, with Fukiko?
DO: It's always incredible how creative connections can inspire you, so for me each time seeing pieces of the choreography gave new light to the music and the directions it could go. It was helping me be more open and deeper into the process and take bolder steps where perhaps I would not alone. Also the conversations we had with our lighting designer, which were very inspiring as we discussed concepts of the soul, new languages and technology.
NL: Your body of work as a film composer is substantial. What has been your favorite film project thus far and what do you have coming up?
DO: Its been a busy few years, the highlight being the film Lion which I co-composed with German composer HAUSCHKA, it's rare when all elements come together like this. We just finished a new film entitled The Art Of Racing In The Rain which will come out this year, and I’m also completing a new record with Adam Wiltzie my partner in the ambient/drone project A WINGED VICTORY FOR THE SULLEN.
NL: What is the biggest non-musical influence on your work?
DO: Paintings and books are always a significant influence on me. A great book will stay with me like a dream, and these subconscious thoughts still find themselves in the music. Abstract painting for me is always how I experience music, inexpressible colors and feelings that are visceral.
Purchase Tickets for 1 0 0 1, part of Liquid Music’s New Music & Dance Duos double header April 17 & 18, also featuring Mike Lewis and Eva Mohn’s When Isn’t Yet.
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