I have enjoyed a really productive personal and professional relationship with IDA Projects since way back in 2004. At that time, I was working at the School of Visual and Performing Arts at the University of Tasmania, and had - in a short time - became firm friends with one of my colleagues at the university, Malcom Bywaters who was the Director of the Academy Gallery.
Early in 2004, the gallery had a show going up that was part of the IDA touring program. A collection of predominantly print-based works as I recall, it shook my understanding of the visual arts to the core. Admittedly, my understanding was fairly limited coming exclusively from a music perspective, but nonetheless, it shattered whatever pre-conceptions I might have had...
Up to that time, I was narrowly focussed on writing music for instruments and the concert hall, a fair portion of which involved live or pre-determined electonics. In the IDA show going up in the gallery at that time, I saw distinct parallels between some of the conceptual, technical and methodological issues I was trying to solve reflected in the work laid out in front of me. I turned to the Director of IDA to talk about it.
And that is where my relationship with Steve Danzig began.
We discussed what it is to change something, what it is to meld, what it is to re-orient. Steve asked me to compose a work for the opening of the exhibition. I did. I composed 'ENKI' for flute, digital fixed audio and live electronics. It was performed at the opening by Daynor Missingham, who could really play.
This is the piece here:
Following ENKI, the connection between IDA Projects and me became solid, visiting Beijing in 2005, hooking up in Japan in 2007, in Australia in 2008, and the UK twice in 2011. I also wrote some conference papers; Steve plugged me away to anyone who would listen and we generally had an interesting and enjoyable time doing it. We've also worked together on a few pieces, including the rather fantastic Un_Place animation and soundscape, and something interesting yet to emerge from the vaults...
And now that relationship continues, as Steve and IDA Projects supports The Joy of Loss at QUT. As he always does, Steve has given me something of carte blanche in terms of concept and method - certainly something I am grateful for, as it allows me the time and space to consider, re-consider, reject, re-work, or even start from scratch.
In many ways, The Joy of Loss is something of a summative statement of our relationship - how strength and resilience can arise from difficult situations. Both personally and professionally, Steve has never been far away...and whilst we might not always agree on the best way to proceed, the strength of the relationship which has survived respective health problems and relationship breakdowns, is rooted in truth...
...which is just another joy made profound forged in the fire of loss.