As Musician in Residence at St Mary and St Nicholas Church, Associate Lecturer Malcolm Atkins has been trying to engage the local community in the creation of and contemplation of sound and song and continued his own research into the nature of sound and song within different communities. This year, Malcolm attempted to initiate work around dreams as a reflection of a collective local unconscious that could link the diverse cultural experience of the community to the geography of the area and be a ground for a musical and motional response. One of the outcomes was this film – created through a collaboration between Malcolm as composer/performer and a dancer/choreographer Michelle Azdajic and film maker Chris Atkins. It started from dreams gathered from local people which reflect aspects of the area they live in as well as the cultural diversity of the area. Dance and music were combined with image to create a commentary on the supplied texts. A write up on the film and its use in a live performance is located here.
Apart from gathering and displaying dreams the group also considered Newman’s Dream of Gerontius as a text with a strong local connection (Newman built the church Malcolm works for). The title of the film is taken from Newman’s text and reflects the way dreams transcend physical boundaries and allow a depth of non-verbal communication – much as the metaphoric metalanguage of the words of poetry or any authentic artistic expression can.
Malcolm sincerely believes that this is a valid form of research within the digital humanities despite the fact that it is qualitative and not quantitative . It also facilitates a reflective debate from the local community who can start to experience the value of danced and sonic commentary on their dreams and their locality.