"We Were Like Those Who Dream," a beautiful video work collaboration between musician Joshua Stamper, dancer Lea Fulton, and video artist Ben Stamper responds to the theme of "Dancing" from Psalm 126:1.
Photography and Editing by
Artists Curated by
A Song of degrees.
1 A Song of degrees. When the Lord turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream.
Joshua Stamper, Lea Fulton, Ben Stamper
Part of what's always struck me about the first verse in Psalm 126 is the idea of renewed capacity to dream, to hope, to imagine--a capacity was there originally, but then lost, and now surprisingly, is being restored. I think in these situations, though joy is felt in the extreme, it's delicate; similar to the experience happening upon a deer in a field. Your breath catches and you suddenly stop, for fear that the animal might startle and run away; you drink deep this grace and beauty, but slowly...and quietly.
Similarly, in thinking about renewed joy, renewed cause for celebration, renewed capacity to dream--all the usual markers are there...laughter, dancing, levity, etc., but also an awareness of the moment, a desire to take it all in. You dance slower, more carefully, because you don't want to startle the joy that you're now experiencing. Add to that, the peculiarity and strangeness of being able to dream and dance again, stretching muscles in mind and body that have been unused for so long.
I'm influenced heavily by the shape of the space designated for my dancing and this other worldly setting definitely brought clarity to some early ideas for interpreting this verse through physicality. In the performing of the movement itself on location, I was asking myself a series of questions and letting the body's innate knowledge answer, or at least discuss. How does the body respond to liminality- the space between the original experience and the restoration of this experience which has become a dream? How does memory shape our body? How is our desire for God, and our knowledge of His quality of being everywhere and in every thing, shaped by our desire for our own contentment through the attainment of a personal vision? Can the body be at rest in its tension between two worlds, even when we let things slip through our own fingers?
Dreams owe their existence to reality
Hope is born out of displacement
Displacement has to do with unwilling
Placement has to do with here and there
In exile, time is a weapon used
to consume the generations it once
Place is now as large as the body filling
There are many in-betweens
but one here, one there
Joshua Stamper has been a restless composer and remarkably active collaborator for over twenty years. His work reflects a deep interest in the intersection points between seemingly disparate musics, and a profound love for the intimacy, charm, and potency that chamber music provides. He studied music composition and playwriting at Hampshire College and worked extensively with Pulitzer-prize winning composer Lewis Spratlan and Rome-prize winner David Sanford. Equally at home in the jazz, classical, avant- garde, and indie/alternative worlds, he has collaborated with hundreds of artists in both live and recording situations, in the United States and in Europe. He has worked with such luminaries as Sufjan Stevens, Danielson, Twin Sister, Robyn Hitchcock, Emil Nikolaisen (Serena Maneesh), Kevin Shea (Mostly Other People Do The Killing), and Rogerio Boccato (Kenny Garrett, Ben Allison). He worked as an orchestral arranger and session musician for Sony/BMG and for independent labels Domino, Dead Oceans, Important Records, Sounds Familyre, Smalltown Supersound, and others. In the past three years, Stamper has recorded two albums under his own name Wend and Interstitials, and his new album the skin, the sea, the sound is set for release in fall 2013.
Lea Fulton is obsessed with stories and the re-telling of them through visual and physical media. Originally from Southern California, she migrated east 10 years ago and finds New York City a stellar place to collect these stories. Based in Brooklyn, some of her storytelling adventures have included a collaboration with Ryan Ross that culminated in a piece of movable theater performed at the Philly Fringe Festival 2008, a dancefilm collaboration "Chloes" with dancer Stephanie Miracle and filmmaker Greg King that was honored in the Dance on Camera Film Festival 2010 and a multi-disciplinary interactive dance theater piece by a group of 13 artists in an old factory in Keane Valley, NY in summer 2012. Being consistently drawn to the medium of film, Lea has choreographed music videos for electronic music artist, Nadia Ali and indie-rock group, Apollo Run in addition to performing in Animal Collective’s video for “Summertime Clothes” and The Form's "Fire to the Ground". She has also created dance with Heather McArdle, Faye Driscoll, Christine Suarez, Kate Watson-Wallace, Laura Peterson, Deborah Karp and Jillian Pena. She's currently working with Motley Dance and Alexandra Beller/Dances. She has taught a dance workshop - "Community Building through Movement"- at Wheaton College and in Mittersill, Austria at the Schloss Mittersill Arts Conference and continues to teach through the medium of yoga in underserved populations and for non-profits in NYC, including Restore NYC and Our Place Wellness Cafe. She holds a B.A in Interdisciplinary Studies from Wheaton College and is in pursuit of a Master's degree at SUNY Empire State in Movement Therapy and Trauma Studies in conjunction with a Somatic Movement Therapy Certification.
Ben Stamper is fan award-winning independent filmmaker based in New Jersey.With a background in fine art and music, Ben's intuitive approach to imagery and sound has led him to a broad range of human interests, from exploring remote villages in the Amazon to the complexities of human trafficking across India. Ben is currently working on a feature documentary about an autistic artist and his transition into adulthood.