July 1, 2014
Liz Witham & Ken Wentworth
Location:Martha’s Vineyard, MA
The melding of music and film is nothing new, but two Martha’s Vineyard-based filmmakers are hoping to bring the concept to the next level with DocuTunes.TV, a grassroots Internet webcasting site featuring original documentaries about music and music makers. Their new – and first – full-length release, “Kate Taylor – Tunes From the Tipi and Other Songs From Home,’’ focuses on the life and music of Kate Taylor, a Vineyard resident and sister of James and Livingston Taylor. A screening of the documentary, plus a Q&A with Kate Taylor and the filmmakers, will be held at the Coolidge Corner Theatre on Nov. 17. We spoke recently with husband-and-wife team Liz Witham (Kate Taylor’s daughter) and Ken Wentworth, in the garden behind their studio off Main Street in Vineyard Haven.
Consenses Interview with Sally Taylor:
Your name: Liz Witham
Where you live: Aquinnah, MA
Where you came from: The earthship
Your Medium: Video
The name of your work: Sugar Trip
What made you want to participate in this project?
Ever since I first heard about Consenses, I thought it sounded like a brilliant idea. I love thinking about and breaking down the creative process. I was waiting and waiting for Sally to ask me, and she did!
Without going back to the art I sent you what do you remember about it?
I got rhubarb lemonade. I have not been eating sugar for a long time, so the taste of sugar really shocked my system. It tasted good, but it was a guilty pleasure. It was thick and I kept thinking about optimism and the color pink. And lemon.
What was your first reaction to the art? (thoughts, emotions, memories, tastes, smells etc?)
I felt like Alice in Wonderland trying a strange potion. That’s where my first ideas for the piece came from.
If you had to choose one word to sum up the art I sent what would it be?
What emotion did it elicit?
What was the art about in your mind? (Did it tell a story? Paint a picture? Etc.)
Well, as I was drinking it, I tried to imagine what piece of art the chef was interpreting to choose those flavors. I imagined a love story that was too sweet to be true.
Take me through each step of your process from getting the art to the creation of your work.
1) bottle was in fridge when I got home from 6 weeks in Mexico. What sorcery is this?
2) I am a documentary filmmaker, so my creative process went immediately to documenting this. So I set up the tripod, and filmed myself getting the bottle out of the fridge, stirring it in a glass, and taking a sip.
3) I realized that the sensation of taste cannot be documented visually, so I was going to have to come up with some visual metaphors for what the taste experience was like. I waited until after I tasted it to decide what that would be.
4) when I tasted it, the ingredients were really clear to me. I chose visuals that would elicit in others’ taste buds the same sensations I was feeling. Lemon was a strong taste, and it’s something that if you show a picture of it, it makes your mouth water. The sugar sensation was very strong – that is why I dumped the sugar over the “me” on the rock. There is a psychedelic rhubarb kaleidoscope in there. That’s because the rhubarb went all disco with that sugar and lemon.
So there are the literal tastes, and then there is what the thing actually does to you when you ingest it. For me – SUGAR TRIP! Things are speeding up. My synapses are firing too quickly. It’s like lightening. Sugar on the brain.
What did you title your work and why?
SUGAR TRIP <– because I felt like I went on a sugar induced journey into some wild flavors.
What part of your work came to you first?
I kind of let it happen. I wanted to document myself preparing it. Then I closed my eyes as I tasted it and let a bunch of words come to me, which I then wrote down.
How do you normally create? How was this experience different?
Normally I’m coming at something from a much more cerebral angle. This was different because I let myself be purely creative and I didn’t judge my process or the outcome, I just let it be what it was.
What techniques/tools did you use to help you express you’re interpretation?
I took time. I closed my eyes. I tried to be very present with exactly what was happening inside my mouth.
Are there certain choices you made which mean something specific to you that the observer might not know?
Well yes – since I personally hadn’t had sugar in a long time, my interpretation was heavily influenced by my relationship with sugar. At the end “I” am lying on a rock covered in sugar and the Buddha is waiting for me to regain consciousness.
Did you enjoy this project? More you want to say about your experience?
I loved this project. Thank you for including me in this great concept/idea. It was a lot of fun and I can’t wait to see the rest of the chain! Consenses! Consenses! Consenses!