Processing Series

Lucy Dhegrae's artist residency at National Sawdust: a four-concert series exploring how music can address the aftermath of trauma.

You [the artist] are compelled…into dealing with whatever it is that hurts you…You must find some way of using this to connect you with everyone else alive…You must understand that your pain is trivial except insofar as you can use it to connect with other people’s pain; and insofar as you can do that with your pain, you can be released from it. And then hopefully it works the other way around, too; insofar as I can tell you what it is like to suffer, perhaps I can help you to suffer less.
— James Baldwin


How do we talk about sexual trauma? And can new music be an effective medium for the discussion?

The Processing Series began with a prompt to four composers: write a piece for voice + electronics, violin, and/or percussion that deals with an aspect of trauma recovery. We began in spring of 2017 reading and discussing the book The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk; then several months of composing; a workshop in May 2018; several months of revising music; and another workshop in September 2018. This resulted in four new pieces—one each from composers Eve Beglarian, Angélica Negrón, Osnat Netzer, and Katherine Young— each with an incredibly different aesthetic, practice, and perspective.

In the way that a universe is made up of galaxies containing solar systems and individual worlds, the aftermath of sexual assault is made up of perspectives, containing a multitude of emotions, physical realities, healing strategies, memories, and stories. Each concert of the Processing Series has one focal point—a new work— orbited by pieces that speak to the practice, atmosphere, approach, and/or questions therein.