Music is often known as a “universal language” uniting people of all backgrounds and walks of lives. Although music is an abstract language and invisible form of art, it holds tremendous power and impacts people’s aesthetic experiences. What if music interacted in real time with words, and visual movements? If there are levels of consciousness? is a multi-media, experimental and interactive audio-visual cinematic performance exploring the profound intersection and synergy between digital storytelling, music and sounds, and visual movements. In doing so, it combines a variety of mediums, such as digital storytelling, non-linear poetic prose, video art, electronic sounds with the live improvisation of violin and cello performance. The sound of live improvisation of the string instruments impacts the progression and movement within the video in real time. Instantly, the sound I am improvising also simultaneously interacts with the texts on the screen. Contrary to the common understanding that humans’ minds exist in conscious/unconscious/subconscious categories, If there are levels of consciousness? examines the notion of multiple layers of consciousness and explores what the implications might be specifically in everyday lives, and further pertaining to musical improvisation. Drawing from personal reflection and experience, this work includes poetic prose, philosophical essay, and personal testimony while further digging deeper into an artist’s psyche and inner world as it oscillates between universal consciousness. If there are indeed layers of consciousness, how does one access different levels of consciousness, when does one realize their consciousness is resting in a higher or lower domain? Does it travel back and forth? These are the questions that If there are levels of consciousness? addresses.
Unlike traditional film, video art, or music performances, this multi-media performance breakdowns a genre categorization. It defies traditional art films or movies because sound is what is driving the progression and movement of time-based media. It defies a traditional classical music performance because it blends acoustic classical avant-garde improvisation with electronics and sound effects. It also defies a typical audio-visual performance where the sound impacts the movement within the screen because it includes digital-storytelling. In other words, this work challenges audiences’ normative conceptions of genre specific artworks requiring audiences to actively engage with the words while music performance leads the narration and visual movements.