The Explosive Shock
I’m sharing my reaction to the current political and social situation in the form of two “narrative soundscapes”. We each have our own response to our surroundings, and we strive to find ways to communicate effectively with others. I am deeply moved by the many thoughtful, informed, concerned, and impassioned posts that I have seen written and shared on this platform. Thank you all for helping me to digest, process, and consider how I can offer anything of substance that hasn’t already been said more eloquently that I am likely to accomplish. These are two excerpts from my music soundscape for the dance theater company Off-Leash Area’s show Afterwind, produced in July 2016 in Minneapolis. Off-Leash Area Directors Paul Herwig and Jennifer Ilse characterize “AfterWind” as an exploration of the emotional and psychic repercussions of a terrorist bombing. It is simultaneously a sensitive meditation on the universal experience of facing our mortality and an examination of the personal, public, and political anxiety that arises from large-scale violence.
These sound tracks reflect my intense anxiety about the state of the country right now. “AfterWind: Present – Death Anxiety” depicts the character Death Anxiety in present time, illustrating how authoritarian figures play upon our fears to gain power and control over us. The text was collected by Paul Herwig, and is based on direct quotes from characters like Joseph Goebbles, Marine Le Pen, Adolph Hitler, Benito Mussolini, David Duke, Jason Rapert and Donald Trump. It’s frightening how close Donald Trump’s own words are to things said by his predecessors. Paul Herwig delivers the textual component in the track; I am the whisperer.
The excerpt “Coming to” depicts four victims of an explosion, coming back to consciousness as they go through stages of realizing what has happened. This is how I’m going to feel in the immediate aftermath of a Donald Trump win on November 8, if that were to come to pass. Maybe others will feel the same way.
I admit that I’m already feeling this way. The explosion has already occurred. Donald Trump and his cohort have already won, gaining more than I think even they ever thought they would achieve in this election cycle. Anger, hatred, resentment, loss, and deep sadness are already present at a degree of intensity and anxiety that I have never personally experienced before in my 63 years on the planet.
There is history of the impact of this kind of negativity, abuse of power, and brutality in my family in the last century, and there are current challenges in my family now in the Dheishah Refugee Camp in Bethlehem, West Bank, Palestine, where my daughter Maya is living with her amazing and wonderful Palestinian husband and his beautiful, generous family. They know only too well what life is like when authoritarian figures abuse their power over others to get what they want.
There is no turning back. Not there. Not here. The path forward is long and arduous, and will take enormous effort and initiative on all our parts to create a better future that takes into consideration the needs of all people, not just the favored few.
We are all anxiously awaiting the end of the election. We’re all hoping to take a breath, assess what has happened, and figure out what’s next. Let’s take that breath on November 9th, and a moment to reflect upon the totality of the explosion that we all have experienced together. Then let’s get back to the work. This doesn’t end on Tuesday. This is moving into overdrive, and we need to figure out how to transform the unbelievably intense and conflicting energies into a more inclusive, productive and cohesive community force.
Thank you for listening. I hope you find something in it. If nothing else, consider it an expression of empathy.
Some strong language is heard in “Coming To”. I would probably say the same thing.
Headphones are highly recommended. It’s a very layered sound realm, designed for a multi-channel sound environment, mixed down here for traditional stereo listening.