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A Tree Found Her Meadow


“A tree found her meadow.

There was, oh, what there was, or there wasn’t.
In the oldest of days and ages and times there was a beautiful wild beast that lived in a valley bound to the sun and bound to her shadow. One day of spring, a tree found her meadow, then another, and then another.
The sunlight became scarce as more trees appeared. By the time the sun was almost covered by the new forest, this incredible beast and her shadow climbed and climbed until the shortest trees were not in sight, then only the taller ones, then finally they found the crown of the biggest tree and the sun was beaming back again.”

Alex and I met in New York some years back but it was through the pandemic that we became close. Last year we began talking often over the phone and it was our need for new creative outlets that led to a spontaneous collaboration. Alex is an incredible dancer, so I suggested she pick a song and film herself for me to edit it afterwards. Although it was a very loose idea she was excited to have an excuse to return to dancing. She surprised me with a beautiful song that David, a friend of hers, recorded in his room at the start of the pandemic. The loneliness and longing of the music captured that time perfectly, when we were all trying to cope with staying home and apart. 

Watching Alex dance was magnetic. She filmed herself dancing three times from two different camera angles. The way she paired her body with the sound had a strong impact on my editing decisions.

I wanted to highlight how her body chased guitar ricochets in every corner, each time with unforeseen nuances. So I placed two Beaumonts on a paper canvas, a world they inspected and ruled.

Overlapping my art was difficult. I didn’t want to saturate her so I tried several iterations relying on the song as my guide. First, a room drawn, later my hand doodling around her moves, then cut-outs coming in and out. We discussed each version, always asking what it was evoking and whether that was the feeling and experience that felt most authentic to the project. Finally, I intuitively placed my old paper sculptures; vulnerable and transparent yet static and towering. The columns dance with her in a contest for space; they are in awe of Beaumont and want to absorb all the spaces she touches. Then Alex's spontaneous final moves close the dance effortlessly.

Our film started sparking new ideas for projects and it was Alex who then guided us to a closure. I remember she told me “organisms are considered mature once they can reproduce. When this project began birthing new ideas for other projects, it seemed it had come to completion.” So we put the video aside for a while, letting it sink in. One night I wrote a short poem about Alex and my columns; an ode to her dance and her friendship. That was my final stop.

In retrospect, this project volleyed across lonely distances allowing us each to find voice in the silence and isolation of the pandemic. We found a way to work together strengthening our individual practices and intuitions. More importantly, this project bound us together. This summer I sent her a paper piece and I asked her for silent recordings. This time as I picture my delicate art piece blurring into her movements, I wonder what kind of story I’ll end up writing about. I wonder how I’ll frame my work within her dance.