Why are the project personnel only women?
When I began thinking about this project in 2014, I approached a male composer about collaborating. He asked me to create some text from my experience: to write what I imagined my assaulter's day was like before he assaulted me; what he had for breakfast, where he went, and so on. It took me several months of trying to complete this task before I just had to be honest with myself that this was not at all the angle I wanted to take on the project. So many men have written about women's trauma (historically); and while this is a project that illuminate its universality, it will still involve sharing (time and time again) my experience of sexual assault. In order to approach this devised work creatively, openly, and deeply, as the producer/performer/creative director of the work, I need to feel supported in my environment—which is why I decided to bring together this group of incredible artists together. I also wanted to get as far away as possible from the male perspective which continues to dominate the discussion about rape. Statistically, rape affects women at a much higher rate than men: 82% of all juvenile victims are female, and 90% of adult rape victims are female.
Why this instrumenta-tion?
There were three aspects I considered when thinking of the instrumentation
- Texture: instruments that could do things that a voice could not (i.e. not wind instruments)
- Mobility: players who could move around on stage; a small instrumentation to make traveling to college campuses not too expensive
- Community: amazing musicians who are interested in socially engaged art
Amy Garapic (percussion) was an obvious choice: we have been good friends and musical collaborators since 2011 when she was a fellow at Bard College. She brings her experience playing music all over the world (through OneBeat) and with prisoners (Rhythm on Rikers). Pala Garcia (violin) brings her new-music-knowhow from her trio Longleash, as well as her experience as an educator, and of course, her amazing chops (Juilliard).
What grants are you seeking to support this project?
New Music USA
Chamber Music America
The Gunk Foundation
Embrey Family Foundation
Silicon Valley Foundation
Rose Gold Fund
AOL Charitable Foundation Award
The Rosenthal Family Foundation
The Betsy and Jesse Fink Foundation
The Kevin and Donna Gruneich Foundation
What is the budget for this project?
The project is split into four phases:
- Phase 1: commissioning composers ($18,000)
- Phase 2: first workshop and public performance at BRIC ($11,500)
- Phase 3: second workshop and public performance at Mount Tremper ($6500)
- Phase 4: performance at Resonant Bodies Festival ($2000)
Total expenses for the project are around $38,000
How did you select the composers for this project?
These are all composers whose works I have known and admired for several years but with whom I have never worked directly. Their musical language and ways they approach the voice are stylistically extremely diverse; I am hoping also to have a range of approaches to the subject material (the neurology of trauma and healing).
Where did the title come from?
1. ready to face and endure danger or pain; showing courage.
I was called "brave" by many friends and acquaintances after publicly sharing my experience of rape and sexual assault. On one hand, it does take an amount of courage to share these details: so many women have their lives defined by rape, either by the PTSD that the experience leaves the with, or with the label of "rape survivor." But the danger or pain that I risk in owning my experience is shame; I should be ashamed that I was raped. Hidden in this word is potential victim shaming. In truth, I am neither courageous nor brave: I am simply doing what I must do to gain back my voice. I must speak my truth. I hope for a day when we see that trauma and PTSD are a widely-shared part of life, and no one's sharing of truth—of past trauma—should be considered brave.