There’s a long connection between art and free improvisation.
Abstract Expressionism had a profound effect on the early progenitors of the form. When we started the London Experimental Ensemble in 2016 one of our objectives was to explore this relationship.
The work of Canadian Sean Bokenkamp was brought to my attention in 2017. Sean is also a musician and I could hear his animations “speaking” to me. In 2018 he put together “Collected Abstractions” for us to improvise to but it was only during this COVID-19 lock down that I was able to take a pass at it personally.
His work is so moving to me that only one take was necessary. I played straight through with no breaks for the entire one hour and seven minutes. It was ultimately exhausting but very rewarding. There are no edits or overdubs.
You are hearing it as it went down. It was recorded live in stereo with two tracks, one left and one right split. Just me, my 8-string lap steel and my pedal board.
I thanks Sean for the honour and opportunity to play to his amazing work.
Sean Bokenkamp is an experimental filmmaker, musician, and animator living in rural southeastern Ontario. He earned his MFA in Film from the San Francisco Art Institute and received a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts for The Walking Project (2004) and from the National Film Board of Canada for Ghost Light (2018). The films included in Collected Abstractions were made by scratch animating and hand-painting directly onto the emulsion of 16mm and 35mm filmstrip.