Music composition, photography, and video by Cheryl E. Leonard
Music performed by Tim Blue, A.L. Dentel, Cheryl E. Leonard and Patty Liu
Ruo explores the transition from day to night, blurs sky and underworld, and motion and stillness, and searches for vastness within visual and sonic microcosms. The piece was inspired by the Ruo Tree in ancient Chinese mythology. According to Shang Dynasty beliefs this cosmic tree was located in the far west near an ocean. Each evening the ten raven-suns would perch in the Ruo Tree’s branches before entering the water at its foot and traveling through a watery underworld known as the Ruo River or the Yellow Springs. “When the ten suns are on the tips of its branches, it illuminates the earth below” (Huainanzi 4/3a)
The music was performed on four prepared string instruments (violin, viola, and two cellos). Pieces of driftwood were woven through the strings of each instrument and then both driftwood and strings were bowed. The video was created from a series of still photographs shot in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. The photos capture the surface of a lake in which tree branches are reflected. As birds and wind disturbed the water the still reflections became dynamic, hinting at unknown realms.
Copyright 2013 Cheryl E. Leonard. All rights reserved.