haptic: three essays on Brutality
Instrumentation: string quartet (violin, violin, viola, cello)
Information: haptic: three essays on Brutality was written in response to the killing of George Floyd and depicts America’s historic and current police violence crisis through collaboration with poet (and general genius icon!) Lua Powers. haptic also deals with subthemes of communication, specifically the use of touch and force and their implications on the feelings of love, comfort, and safety. Police brutality and mass incarceration have long upheld systemic racism: they must be addressed immediately.
Lua Powers on her poem, Flinching: The written poem was inspired by Boy Breaking Glass by Gwendolyn Brooks. I enjoyed how much of a visual I could get out of reading it so hopefully that is what people can get out of Flinching too. I like the use of repetition happening throughout the score because I like using repetition when I make visual art as well. Ari and I wanted to center the piece around the sense of touch, because in this day and age it’s something people both miss and fear on really intense levels. I fear both me and people I love getting touched and getting hurt, either by sickness or mistreatment by authorities trying to uphold white supremacy whether they are aware of it or not. I also started thinking about generational trauma, something that is constantly being felt and exploited but not often talked about.
Now I trek my hungry fingers over the fuzz of a television
pretending it can hug me back
My mother clung to her children with nails and teeth
because their touch was never scarce or sacred
I’ve been trying to save you
Because touch is a genetic punch, snatched up, stolen, and sold
And progress is not the blood on your hands slipping in our palms
while every day we need to learn to walk, hold, breathe, squeeze, talk, call, cry all over again
Blood is no longer in our veins, it leaks out of the television