We adore the temporary pavilion Sphaerae; but despite its reflective cover and large capacity air-conditioner, during the day it can get awfully hot and bright inside. With another Southern California heat wave predicted this week and most of our work focused on video imagery and live performance; the Sol Path team opted to work from our house in Eagle Rock during the days leading up to our premiere.
A year ago, when we relocated to North Carolina to work at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Bruno and I decided to hold onto the LA house for as long as it was practical. So far, it’s been remarkably good for us to have a place to spend time with our kids and to be able to commute back and forth for projects like Sol Path.
Today at “The Hive” as Bruno has nicknamed the house, Adam was in the guest bedroom editing video; Richard was in the dining room prepping a photo shoot; my assistant Kari ran operations from the kitchen; and Bruno was in the study working with Brett, our violist. Meanwhile, I bounced between all these rooms, depending on the task.
At mid-day my eldest son, Nick, arrived home from a meeting and offered to help cook lunch. As the aroma of warming tortillas wafted through the house, the Sol Path collaborators emerged and started fetching silverware, pouring iced tea, and rounding up enough seats to place around our big, tiled island.
As family and collaborators sat down together to share a meal, I experienced a synesthesia of sorts – as everyday life and art fused.
We were at home and we were also at work.
Integrating the personal and the professional may not be for everyone; but Bruno and I are working this way more and more. When we first founded L’Atelier Arts we hosted rehearsals at home out of financial necessity. Now, eight years later, we’ve come to value the trust, fun and really great ideas that come out of sharing our life with fellow artists who have also become good friends.
The kind of collaboration we’re experiencing on Sol Path and other projects over the last several years has made me question whether professional performing arts institutions really understand how to foster innovation in the arts. In my experience the bigger the arts organization, the more restricted the spaces, hours and people participating in artistic processes will be. Of course, innovation develops best when there is ample space, time and trust to take risks.
More and more artists are expected to bring their creativity, innovation and collaborative spirit to these institutions, but what sustains artists is still sorely lacking from the institutional cultures and structures of the American arts. I’m hoping that we will see more creative leaders doing their “homework” on this issue.