We Have Taken & Eaten

Jun 23, 2016


On this episode of Arts & Letters, we talk with percussionist Kevin Sims, composer Scott Wollschleger and poet Abby Minor about their experimental monodrama, “We Have Taken & Eaten.” The piece is performed with an array of traditional percussion and non-traditional instruments, including cassette tape players, temple bowls and light bulbs.

Writes Wollschleger:


I tried to construct a musical language that was composed of sound materials that might have been left over in the dustbin of history. I imagined the soloist acting as the last human scavenging through the garbage heap of culture and then trying their best to construct a story from the fragments of trash. The story is about what we did to ourselves and the planet, and it’s also a story that attempts to create a new narrative for ourselves as we move into an uncertain future.


The collaborative work grew from questions and ideas raised from three sources: the origin stories in biblical Genesis, the journals of John Smith, and Englishman Thomas Hariot’s Narrative of the First English Plantation of Virginia, a 16th-century account written in support of North American colonization.


Writes Minor:


We think of this music as one impression of the intimate emotional traces left by these master narratives as they continue to move, glacier-like, slowly over and through us, as they continue to undergird our lives in perplexing and powerful ways.


What ensues is “a non-linear meditation” on the relationships among “relentless productivity and punishment/oppression.”


Support for this program was provided by the Arkansas Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities.