Introducing “Solar-Lunar Transcriptions” by Tina Seligman

Photo by Dan Rubin.

The following blog post was provided by Tina Seligman, who will

 exhibit Solar-Lunar Transcriptions in our first floor Gallery from April 7 to 15, 2018.

I’m excited to invite everyone to become part of an ongoing mixed media series, Solar-Lunar Transcriptions, by submitting original haiku inspired by the moon and/or sun, and by interpreting the music for the September Suite project (for details and instructions, please visit www.solarlunarmusic.comsubmission deadline is March 25). 

The work studies patterns created by solar, lunar and tidal cycles in relation to the Gregorian calendar, one of the many man-made formats to describe cycles of time.  Although we all experience the sun and moon daily, I became curious about the shapes of their movements over time and what they would sound like. One project compares shifts of phases for September over four years. Another tracks patterns over four seasons in one year.  I translated those patterns into visual collages and music. At a time when the world is so fractured, shared experiences of the moon and sun remind us that we are all profoundly connected through nature.

Photos by Amos Chan.

My process often begins with graphing moon rise/set, sun rise/set, high and low tides, and/or moon phases from one or more locations within a time period.  Pitch, note value, and dynamics are then assigned.  “Transcription” in music relates to writing sounds as musical notes, as well as rewriting for other instruments.  For some projects, such as September Suite 2009-2012, I created visual variations for the same patterns.

The Solar-Lunar Suite for Four Seasons music was recorded by flutist, Jo Brand, whose unique, creative approach had a tremendous impact on me.  I realized that we all experience the moon in a unique way and I became interested in how different people would interpret the same rhythms so I decided to open the September Suite project to the world.  There is sheet music for those who read notation, and for anyone who hasn’t studied formal notation, the visual patterns of the artwork can be used to inspire music. All instruments are welcome, whether acoustic or computer software (my music is created with Garritan instruments on Sonar x1 program).  Participants’ recordings will be added to the site with the name of the musician.

The haiku project was inspired by Joan and John Digby who had invited me to create monotypes for Joan’s booklet of Moon Haiku translations for the Feral Press. Reading the poems made me think more deeply about haiku and the poetry of the moon and I wanted to share this experience. Submitted haiku will be posted on the site and also written on small round papers to be installed in the exhibit with each writer’s name.  

The work includes other interactive projects, such as the Hawaiian Moon Phase Percussion Cups.  Each cup contains the amount of beads related to that phase (1 – 30) so you can hear the sound of each number.  The colors are related to activities associated with each phase according to traditional Hawaiian beliefs, such as fishing, planting, and harvesting.  I transcribed the phases into music by assigning pitches to the colors.  Viewers are invited to create their own rhythms by playing with the cups.

There will be two free events.  Following a lively afternoon of storytelling about the sun and moon on April 7, there will be a haiku workshop to express our own thoughts. That haiku will also be added to the installation. Photos of the exhibit will be posted for anyone who could not attend.

I have always lived in Jackson Heights, only about 20 minutes from Flushing Town Hall.  My parents, Irene and Max, inspired and encouraged me to be an artist my entire life, and most importantly, to enjoy the journey and what it reveals. In 1994, my mom found a listing about Flushing Town Hall which changed my life. I became a member that year and in 2000, began working as a teaching artist which has become a great passion.

The staff, other teaching artists and member artists have become my extended family and I thank them as well as all of my family and friends for their caring support, especially last year when I lost both of my parents after long battles with illness. This exhibit is a tribute to them and a celebration of their extraordinary spirits.

To learn more, visit www.solarlunarmusic.com.

Tina also will lead several free events:

Saturday, April 7 Storytelling about the Sun and Moon,  1:00 – 2:30pm – Limit of 30 people.

Saturday, April 7 Haiku Workshop,  3:00 – 4:30pm  – Limit of 30 people.

Reservations for both can be made through Flushing Town Hall’s Box Office at 718-463-7700  x222.

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