By Kevin Prokosh
The idea behind the inaugural One Trunk Festival is to send teams of artists to a Winnipeg site and create individual pieces that will fit into a larger collaboration presented Sept. 8 at the West End Cultural Centre.
Andraea Sartison, the artistic director of the fledgling festival, assembled three crews consisting of a musician, writer and visual artist, including the trio of sound artist Andy Rudolph, filmmaker Deco Dawson and author Melissa Steele, who were assigned to capture the essence of the Elmwood Cemetery.
"She failed to mention the cemetery was under lock and key and surrounded by this giant fence at least 10 feet high and very sharp on top," says Rudolph, 29. "I started climbing with my equipment and felt kind of weird breaking into a cemetery. All I was stealing was some of the sounds whistling through so I didn't feel too bad, although I was totally trespassing."
Rudolph, who calls himself a hired gun for weird musical collaborations, began wandering around the rows of gravestones in search of a location to record. The sounds of crickets, birds, passing trains and the odd siren were hardly inspiring. Then it hit him that his approach was wrong and that he should let silence speak for itself.
"I found a good spot along the river where there were two really big tombstones which acted like two perfect receiving dishes for audio," says Rudolph, whose recent project was an inter-species collaboration between belugas and humans in Churchill. "There was a ton of sound pooling."
His microphone picked up this unidentified sucking, creaking sound that intrigued Rudolph enough to return to the cemetery for another midnight visit.
"The sound was a little spooky," says the drummer. "There was definitely some groaning and shrieking but it was mostly coming from the neighbourhood across the river. I recorded a more immersive, environmental sound and put those exciting train noises to build over top and built a bit of a narrative."
Rudolph submitted his 15-minute soundscape with Dawson's video and Steele's 10 pages of poetry to theatre artist Grant Guy, artistic director of Adhere & Deny, and projectionist Jaymez, who together will fashion a presentation.
"The festival is mixing inter-disciplinary artists together, which is essentially what I do all the time," says Dawson. "It was one of those things that you couldn't say no to because it is everything that I believe in as an artist."
The other performances will be made up of the contributions of science writer Chris Rutkowski, photographer Kristian Jordan and Nathan's lead singer Keri Latimer, who all were inspired by the Louis Riel statue at the legislature while the threesome of graphic novelist Greg Chomichuk, writer Ariel Gordon and cellist Natanielle Felicitas went to Central Park.
"I was interested in how these different artists will interpret the same place," says Sartison, who directed the fringe hit Hamlet as Told on the Street. "The focus for me is about process and product and to build a community of artists who are interested in this kind of collaboration."
She would like the One Trunk Festival evolve into an event like the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival in Vancouver or Edmonton's Nextfest, which showcases the voice of the next generation of artists.
"It's not a final premiere performance but an interesting collaboration between some of Winnipeg's finest artists. It's about working together and building a foundation for things to come."
One Trunk Festival takes place at 2 p.m. Sunday at the West End Cultural Centre.