Proposal: Archives as Muse Performance Art Project
Arthyve, Denver
September 11, 2019

Hello! We are Elijah Perdomo and Leah Mack. Elijah is a 21st-century singer songwriter and Leah is a mixed media visual artist who specializes in collage. We are responding to the 2019 Archives as Muse call for performance artists. 

 

We began exploring the archival library at the Museum of Discovery in Fort Collins and are utilizing the online archives of Fort Collins History Connection as well. 

 

As new residents of Fort Collins, we are intrigued to learn about the farming history and its connection to the immigrant population. So far we have learned about the sugar boom and the resulting influx of immigrants from Germany, Russia, and Mexico in the early 1900s, and how this has shaped Fort Collins and Northern Colorado today. 

 

Elijah is a first generation American whose mother migrated from Armenia, Colombia in the late 1970's. The stories of immigrants working to create a better life are not only compelling; they are also Elijah's heritage. There are stories of immigrant farmers in Northern Colorado that we would like to help tell through our artistic mediums. 

 

We will use oral and written accounts to create songs that highlight immigrant stories. 

The live musical performance will include vocals, electronic drums, keyboard, bass, and guitar.  The live music will also collaborate with live visual art. The visual art -mainly collage- will incorporate historic images to help visualize these immigrant stories. ‘Live’ visual art means that Leah will create collaged art, projected for the audience, during the live musical performance. 

 

Elijah's Statement: I studied classical composition for my bachelors degree, and once I left school I wasn't really sure what my voice was; school was wonderful and taught me how to write, but I was disoriented, I no longer knew what to write. I had a major breakthrough when I re-discovered an old recording of my mom telling a story about her estranged relationship with her father. Using autotune, drum samples, and synthesizers, her voice became the melody of a piece titled "Soy Amparo" (I am Amparo). As Leah and I began researching and exploring the archives, I immediately felt a pull towards the history of immigrants in Colorado. After concluding that I wanted to write specifically about immigrants, "Soy Amparo" organically felt like part. As I brainstorm pieces for this project, I want to utilize oral histories, writings, and hopefully past melodies to tell these stories.

 

Leah's Statement: My work always starts with collage. I am most inspired by other artists' photographs, especially those that represent people and the natural world. I start by collecting and compiling images. I then draw and paint to create cohesion among the different images. I scrape off parts of the surface of magazine clippings to create texture. I build up layers with paper and acrylic medium to add topography to the surface. I believe in using photographs to inspire and propel my process so I can then make unexpected connections. I find that this process is just as interesting if not more so than the finished work, which is why I want to use this process as a live performance to help tell stories. By using this process, I will create a collaged piece from archival images and writings, projected live on a wall or screen, to encourage the audience to visualize the stories told through Elijah's music. 

 

We will need a screen (tv or fabric/wall for projection), space for desk for artist, and stage/space for musicians.  

Please visit our website to see/hear examples of our work: www.leijah.art

 

 

Thank you for your consideration!

 

 

Leah Mack and Elijah Perdomo