More space for thought

Astrid reflects around the second gathering of Borealis Ung Komponist 2022!

Astrid Solberg | Photo: Thor Brødreskift

In mid October the four participants of Borealis Ung Komponist met up for the second gathering, together with the ensemble TABULA RASA, which they are writing music for. The mentor for the second workshop was visual artist, composer, musician and performance artist Camille Norment.

We asked Astrid Solberg to paint us a picture of how the process has been so far!

Astrid: For the second gathering our ideas and sketches had become more specific to what we wanted to test out. I tested an idea where the choir creates sound for a video, which both works as instruction for the ensemble and as a visual element for the audience. Last time I worked with found ASMR videos, but this time I had recorded my own video material more suited to the idea. I am so impressed with the ensemble’s ability to swap between different methods and approaches, both with my project and the other composers’ ideas!

Camille was also an incredible mentor. She made me realise that I don’t need to know everything before diving in. The most important thing at this stage is to test out as much as possible, and to work physically with the material – and then the puzzle pieces can fall into place a bit later. There was a feeling of landing a bit during this gathering. I managed to let go of some of the performance anxiety and better let myself keep focused!

What might have made the biggest impression on me is how inspired I get by being present with the other composers’ projects. On surface level we seem like four very different composers, so I assumed our processes would feel more individual. But to follow the other’s progress has given direct inspiration to my own ideas, and this has enriched the workshops so much.

Also to get time together feels really good. I’m used to never having enough time to change much when I finally meet the musicians. Now we see flaws simply as a pointer towards what to develop further towards the next workshop! The other thing is the fact that time makes us get comfortable with each other, which always makes the collaboration easier.

Until the next gathering at the end of November I will be working on sound recordings from the ensemble. I hope to find a balance between challenging the musicians to create the sounds that I have already imagined, and to properly utilise their individual knowledge. From this material I will do a selection, and an attempt to assemble a draft for the final piece. And hopefully this will turn out great when we suddenly arrive at the time of performance during Borealis 2022!

Astrid’s compositions balance conceptually on the edges of performance art and instrumental theatre. Power structures and feminism in music and art is of great interest to Astrid, in addition to internet culture, mental health and dogs. Her recent work is focused around video, choreography and visual elements in different forms, often presented through satire and humour.