Meredith Monk: Inner Voice | 82 Minutes | ICA: February 19 + 21
After studying music and dance at Sarah Lawrence College in the '60s, Meredith Monk was struck by the idea that the voice could be like the body — it could move, it could have characters and landscapes, it could alter time. Using this insight, she developed into a unique, some say seminal, voice in the arts.
Babeth M. VanLoo's Inner Voice documents her career from solo performer to producer of films, chamber music, and operatic-scale performance pieces. In her loft in Lower Manhattan, her house by a stream in the Catskills, and her cabin in the New Mexican desert, the plainspoken Monk reflects on her extraordinary artmaking.
The film explores her evocative, wordless music, as, alone or with her companions, she croons, hollers, wails, quavers, and chants the experience of a hundred lifetimes. Archival footage suggests the sweep and surprise of dramatic works like Quarry (World War II seen through the eyes of a child) and Atlas (world travel as spiritual journey). And VanLoo follows Monk and company as they prepare Songs of Ascension, a kind of mobile cantata first shown in an eight-story tower in California with a spiral staircase, a well at the bottom, and open sky at the top.