The Soul Finds Rest in Unity
installation for a domestic environment
The Soul Finds Rest in Unity is a mixed media installation for a domestic environment. It comprises a collection of drawings, sketches, sculptural objects, documents, sound & video works, each of which relates to The Bravery of Women, Nicholas Brown’s 2006 work for violin/voice after Plutarch’s Moralia.
The installation was originally presented in a hotel suite at The George Hotel, Huddersfield, UK, to coincide with Monica Germino’s performance of The Bravery of Women at Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival in November 2007.
The Soul Finds Rest in Unity explores what it means to play a musical instrument and have control over its physical construction. What trials must a violinist surmount for musical purposes? How must she adapt her body to master its stringed, wooden prosthesis?
The installation acknowledges that the skills performers present on concert platforms are skills typically honed in sequestered environments that are withdrawn from public visibility. The presentation at Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival therefore included a series of short, serendipitous violin performances of fragments from The Bravery of Women in the hotel suite. Any visitor to the exhibition, who happened to encounter one of these short acts of music-making, witnessed a form of musical performance distinct from the presentational nature of public concertizing.
Amidst the subjectivity of its domestic context, the visual and aural elements of The Soul Finds Rest in Unity also explore the tension between musical composition as pre-authored text and music-making as embodied action. They address the role of the notated musical score, as a vessel of a composer’s imagination that establishes difference between ‘rehearsal’ and ‘performance’; between ‘composer’ and ‘performer’. In addressing such questions, the installation explores the ‘distance’ between music as a public, cultural practice and individual, human concerns as basic as the daily need for shelter and subsistence.