ALLEGORY OF THE G/RAVE
The Allegory of The G/rave project is a completely indie multimedia community-building adventure which I have no business embarking on, am too shy to organize, and cannot afford to make. Regrettably, I am doing it anyway - and hoping to involve as many of you reading this as possible. While this project will branch into many interactive parts, the two large works at its core are an album and a short film, released episodically, in the form of the album's music videos.
I am a queer alt-pop musician who makes music about my experiences. My audience includes people like me - queer, neurodivergent, survivors, people in recovery, real or perceived outcasts - and people unlike me, for whom I am a digestible and entertaining liaison between worlds some have trouble relating to.
Like many on the autism spectrum, I'm quite good at finding patterns, and this manifests in several ways. Some are common and innocuous, like seeing faces in carpets or tree trunks. Others are troublesome, like number-based compulsions, or unfairly comparing peoples' behavior. Some, though, are artistically viable, like hearing music in white noise - not a hallucination, but a result of the human mind's innate urge to look for patterns, set to overdrive.
After my partner's mother died, he and I found ourselves incapacitated by existential dread. It turns out I personally am talented at understanding my emotions intellectually, but not so good at actually feeling them. So they fester secretly - sometimes even to me - then emerge later as maladaptive coping mechanisms. So, this is how the album works: I wrote down every ballad and harmony my brain gave me for a year, and I’ve been transforming them into the most visceral and upbeat tracks possible. Stuff that makes you move. Stuff that goes hard, gets inside your body, and pushes all the energy out through your limbs.
My goal has been to transform the emotions which usually thrive in secrecy and isolation (shame, rage, grief, terror, exhaustion) into opportunities for group catharsis. The only way to thwart the feelings that thrive in isolation is to connect - or we'll never get out of the cave, and never understand where the shadows on the wall come from.
THE SHORT FILM
My 2022 objectives - as an artist and as a person - are as follows:
1. To produce an episodic short film to accompany the upcoming concept album Allegory of The G/rave. The film will be comprised of music videos for each of the album's tracks, which retell the classic myth of Medusa.
2. To involve as many other artists, technicians, and storytellers as possible, across backgrounds and across mediums.
The infamous gorgon's image is synonymous with monstrosity, but history has told her story from the perspective of the real monsters. She was victimized, transformed, banished, and killed for the sake of others' power and glory.
Originally, I chose my name because I was attacked, made out to be a liar, and then outcast. But, I constantly find new reasons to relate to Medusa - and this is not unique to me. Many feel connected to this classic Greek myth for a variety of reasons.
Survivors of sexual violence relate to Medusa's survival and view her as a symbol of the reclamation of power. LGBTQIA+ people - especially the transgender and gender-diverse - see our own lives reflected in the way Medusa was turned into a monster, then exiled from society. Her story is in the process of being recontextualized by people fighting for the woman behind the 'monster'. What was once the visage of a sadistic hag is now becoming a symbol of power and divergence.
Medusa dies at the end. Most of you know that, of course. I'd apologize for the spoilers but the work has been around for thousands of years. But, with this film, I want to explore what would happen if she didn't. The transformation Athena cast upon Medusa after she was attacked by Poseidon gave the gorgon the ultimate power of self-defense. But it also left her isolated and unable to meet the eyes of any friend or foe, lest she turn them to stone forever.
What if, when Perseus eventually reaches Medusa to murder her, she doesn't die? What if Harpe - the sword gifted to Perseus by the Gods, for the purpose of killing the gorgon - strips her of her power, leaving her the same 'monster' but... mortal?
Who are we after we have been hurt? Can we ever be who we used to be again, or are we changed forever? I think of Medusa in her cave, alone, resenting the snakes she's made up of, wishing she could be anyone else. Wishing it would all stop. I want to explore what happens when we fight not only to stay alive, but to live again. How do we learn to live in our new bodies, with our new minds? How can we trust, and love, and be known? What does that look like?
This is the purpose of the album, and of the film. I don't know.
Let's find out.
want to help?
We need help affording resources.
The materials needed to create this project are beyond what we can budget for ourselves while still making ends meet. Any contribution would go toward building & adequately compensating a diverse team of storytellers, allowing us to directly support artists in this precarious time while we enrich those who need community the most.
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