Neon Alchemy

What is collaboration? The term is usually used when something or someone is needed by another and then they are asked to collaborate on a project that isn’t their project. Whether a dancer in someone else’s choreography, a creator of projections for a director’s vision, or even the motion capture entity in someone else’s computing system, I have been the collaborator that has ideas, movements, and skills to offer at the higher up’s behest. That sounds bad, but there is a lot of freedom with not being the final say on a project and I have also been the instigator or director as well. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with these types of collaborations, but what if there is no leader?

When tasked with the term collaboration, Kenny Olson (my partner on this project) and I decided to try a collaboration where there was no leader or follower. Upon deciding to collaborate, we talked. And we kept talking until we found something that both of us could get behind. We talked about other works and theories that we were working with and projects that we were interested in doing in the future until finally, Kenny shared an experiment he was doing using black light and neon colors. His experiments were looking into the different paints to see which emitted more glow. “I like to glow,” I said. “I also have a lot of neon cords from another project that might glow in blacklight.” And it began. We began collecting things we thought might glow in blacklight and that was the beginning and the middle. We talked, collected ideas and objects, and finally brought all our ideas and objects into a studio together and made some magic. Initially, we thought going into the studio would result in a film or something else. But we realized that being in the studio was the thing. The environment we created with our movements, light, and collections of objects created an alchemy that neither one of us could have imagined. Neon Alchemy is the product of that magic. An alchemist’s playground in a children’s science museum.