Projection Designer: "Considering Matthew Shepard" oratorio
I was kindly reached out to by conductor and friend Josh Boggs to prepare projections for Craig Hella Johnson's oratorio "Considering Matthew Shepard".
It was important for me to capture setting and emotion of this work - I believe one cannot listen to this work through without being physically moved. I was thankful to, and credited,
the Shepard Papers Digitized Collection for providing a few personal items linked to Matthew - his early photograph, drawings made when younger, etc. When designing projections that include both still images and video, I'm always fascinated by movement in images and tying them to tempi in the music. A great example is the first movement of the work, how it shifts from the beginning Bach quotation, to the homophonic, unaccompanied, choral entrance, and then into the rhythmic and combined section of "these are the things that sway and pass". It was here that I made use of naturalistic elements - wheat grass swaying, the movement of clouds, water.. I do believe C.H. Johnson's oratorio also highlights the nature and landscape of Wyoming, and it was crucial for me to transform a recital hall into the prairies and expanse of Wyoming.
In creating content, I made use of painterly effects for nature, brought out a more angular, vectorized, edge for the protest, and made use of layers in revealing elements - as well as shifts in temperature and movement.
Overall, the evening turned out really wonderfully - and I owe that in a vast majority to the honest and skilled music-making. The faculty head of the program also shared with me her comments on "terrific visuals, growing organically from texts and music, not overwhelming, but underscoring in subtle ways to make meaning. Loved it!". And that is exactly what I hope to create for music - to become a visual continuo in service and partnership of it.