Memory – Introduction

QUT Industries logo

Context

The series of memory blogs that follow this Introductory blog are part of David L Page’s creative process – reflecting on selected significant events in the early stages of his life, and associating sonic and musical textures that best represent his memory of those significant events. The collection of associative memories will then be formed into a composition – The Dark Years: A Boy Who Was Beaten – which David L Page will produce as a fifteen (15) minute soundtrack of the first stage of his life. This cultural artefact is to make up one part of his Doctoral Project 1 submission. 

Doctoral Research Study Abstract

The aim of this Doctor of Creative Industries Research Project is to investigate both my DIY music practice and my self as a practitioner during the process of creating and producing a cultural artefact (EP).  My research study is designed to be a mixed-method qualitative study: a practice-based, ethnographic study that is to include a first-person narrative of my personal journey, critical reflection and reflexive practice, highlighting the co-constituted nature of my music practice. As an auto-ethnographic study, I designed the project for me to be performing the dual primary roles of being both the practitioner as subject, and the researcher. Such a multi-tiered examination represents a significant departure from current discussion of music practice, developing praxis of contemporary music practice. In this Project 1 research study exegesis submission I narrate the process to date, highlighting observation around my practitioner self, and my music practice and the emergent distinctions integrated into my developing music praxis.

Blog Posts as part of the Reflective Practice journaling process

Welcome to David L Page’s recollection of his story. 
These blogs are David’s attempt to share his recollection of the most significant events of the early stages of his life, as best as he can – events that David believes have shaped the development of his self, or the development of his musical self. 
The deep reflective practice process David engaged in as part of his creative practice, saw him over some time, situating himself back in time, delving deeper and deeper into the place and the event. Of course, as much as he could possibly do decades after an event, when so much distance has occurred in terms of time and place – David’s aim was to recall as much of the kinaesthetic, the auditory, the visual, the olfactory, or even the gustatory sensations of the particular time and place – of that particular significant event. This is not entirely a new experience for David, merely describing the process he has always intuitively put himself through in his creative practice endeavours, particularly in his music practice – creation, performance, or production. The difference in this research study is however, David had to learn how to more consciously focus in on the selected suite of significant events – at a scheduled time – to more deliberately situate him self back in time, whilst recording the data of each of his in-situation experiences.  
You will notice that the various blog posts – more often than not – David has included associated visuals or images, to accompany  the written text, along with the attached associative sonic and musical event. David’s intention was to be able to share his in-situation experience with his audience as much as he could.  David trust’s these blogs will appeal to either the kinaesthetic, the auditory, or the visual senses of the audience. With more advanced technology, or perhaps an alternative medium, David would like to – in the not too distant future – also share his in-situation olfactory and  gustatory sensation experience with his audience. 

David L Page’s Reflective Practice process

David requested for it to be noted: the output of each reflection of a significant event arrived as a result of a range of catalysts. David found his deep reflective re-expereinces occurred as a result of a range of catalysts used stimulate memory recall. These included: a calendar date; a visual image in a photo album for example, a book – quote, passage, or once just the cover – , a magazine – with handwritten notes in the borders, the internet – pictures or articles, or his vast stock of past writings – streams, prose in working, lyrics in working.  On a few occasions the catalyst was something David saw in life that reminded him of a time or place; at other times a blurred visual image or colour that reminded him of a past time, place, or event; at other times, a sonic texture he heard in his head situated him back in time; or by a sound he heard as he conducted himself in his every day life.  At other times, an old song or piece of music, a musical phrase or motif that triggered a memory – something in someone else’s composition, on occasion something he played on an instrument ; at other times, it was a smell – weather, forest, water, toilet freshener, food cooking; at other times, it was a taste – some deliberate, others by accident; and at other times, it was a feeling he had, and recalled a past time, place or event. On many occasions, it was while he was working in another form of practice, something was said or happened that triggered a memory. David noted these down on a phone message or in iNotes, to return to explore them to a greater depth when he had the time to reflect, and more deeply drill down into the particular event.
However, what ever the catalyst,  it was unusual for David not to have reverted to the written word at some point in this deep reflective process.  At the base of all of David’s practice, lies writing in some style, form, or medium. More often than not in practice, David engaged in streaming his consciousness onto the page – physical or virtual.   This streaming could have been just ramblings from his mind, not quite sure yet of what he wanted to say, but trusting he had to get it out, and down onto the page for some greater future benefit. All writings after all,  were to make up the wide range of data to be collected in this research study Project 1. Therefore, David made a special effort not to judge the merit or worth of that data at the time – in the moment of performance of his practice, at any particular time. He gathered it all. Often, emotions accompanied these streamings, deepening the in-situation experience. Sometimes these emotions were easily tapped; but most often David had to draw his self in over many hours, days, weeks or months, in order to arrive at what he could finally accept was the essence of that particular significant event. More often, possibly than David would like to admit, tears flowed as his in-stuation experience intensified, reassuring his self of the value and merit of this significant event and the particular in-situation experience, at that time.  Sometimes a narrative flowed out of this streaming in the form of a tale; at other times, as prose; at other times, as song-type lyrics; and at other times, distinctions regarding his self, or any one of the forms of his practice – be it creative, research – reflective and reflective, or education and learning. [for more information about a multi-faceted/multi-dimensional approach to practice, see  Research Practitioner Part 16   blog].
In terms of this Research Study Project – and most particularly – this series of deep reflective memory blogs – he observed that there was no particular order of the stimulations. On some occasions  David commenced in the digital audio workstation (DAW), composing from whatever memories he held of the significant event at the time – associating sonic or musical textures that he felt best represented those occasions, and assisted to return him to the in-stutation experience. At other times, David began in an excel chart, reflecting on the significant event, and allowing thoughts, feelings, images and aural events to return him to the in-stutation experience. On other occasions, David used the writing process to return him to the in-stutation experience. 
However, irrespective of what practice or what medium David commenced the deep reflective process, David recycled through most of these processes and mediums – usually multiple times – in no particular order. With each cycle, David deepened the level and intensity of experience, in order to arrive at a deep reflective in-stutation experience,  to gather the range of data for this research study Project 1. You will therefore observe in the following sixteen (16) blogs, a variety of layouts, formats, writing styles, graphics or images; along with accompanying links to an equally wide variety of associative sonic and musical textured events.
David’s hopes, as you join him in his journey back to the first stage of his life,  you will start to hear his voice emerge through the multi-modal narratives of these sixteen (16) significant events. He trusts you will get a sense of how David gains clarity of his self, as he gains a better understanding of his identity, musical identity,  and how his musical self developed over the first twenty years of his life. This research study was always to be an immersive study; a a first-person narrative of David L Page’s personal journey, critical reflection and reflexive practice, highlighting the co-constituted nature of his music practice.
We welcome you to his journey….. 
[NB: Included in each memory blog is a link/s to the associative sonic and musical textures that David feels best represent his in-situation memory of each of the particular significant events].

Message from David L Page

~DLP Pro Image Fun 5b small.20141020

Overview

In the early 1990’s I returned home to Australia following a very productive period in creative practice overseas “performing and writing, including recording and experimenting in production. It was a wonderful period for me – one that I hoped would never end” (Page 2014). I recall I arrived home with a new self-image in terms of my creative practice.
In an attempt to develop my practice for my next stage of life, I undertook a number of creative writing courses. The outcome of these programs were a number of pieces of prose, of key moments within my life while I was growing up [see for example, Boy].  A number of the instructors and peers at the time noted my ability to re-situate my self back into the moment of a past event, in some way re-experiencing that experience, in order to then write about it. It was a technique I had developed and practiced, already using this technique across some of the forms of creative writing I engaged in – streaming my consciousness and song lyrics. This technique applied to writing lyrics aligned with my desired confessional singer-songwriter role. A really positive outcome of these creative writing courses was not only the prose, but perhaps more so, my acceptance of this practice as a conscious, deliberate process that I could now apply to another form of my creative writing, prose.
In early 2014, as I was re-considering the focus of my Doctoral Research Study (I had already been accepted), I began brainstorming my journey as a music practitioner. I was very keen on reflecting on more eras, to recall:
how had I arrived at where I was at as a music practitioner?
what life experiences had influenced who I was, or wasn’t, as a music practitioner?
I wanted to articulate these key life experiences into a fluid narrative – my autobiography – of my journey to date. I did return to some of the prose written in the early 1990’s as well as other pieces of creative writing I had done at other times across my life. This reflective exploration took several months, resulting in the narrative overview, Music Practitioner Part 1 – Beginnings (MP Pt1 – Beginnings) blog. I would like it noted though: when I first started writing this autobiography, I had no thought or consideration about doing a soundtrack around my life’s significant events. I had considered at this stage that I would write in the style that I had always done – in an acoustic folk pop song musical style.
Fast forward to 2016 with me now engaged in my Project 1, some 25 months after I had written the MP Pt1 – Beginnings blog, In my search for a thematic idea for my compositions (songs), I started focussing in on more specific events across my life. This then led to another event, and then another, and then another. This process spanned approxiamtely four (4) to five (5) months, arriving as some thirty-five (35) significant events. I then considered how I was going to derive a musical project out of these significant events, arriving at the idea of focussing in on associative memories of each of the significant events. I would – through reflection – associate musical and sonic events for each of the significant event;  and then craft the sum of these associative memory events into a soundtrack as the cultural production output for my research study.  A musical and sonic collage of my life, if you like.
I knew a challenge for me was going to be to contain the length of the composition – short enough to maintain listener interest; and yet long enough to authentically represent the sum of these significant events. But with thirty-five (35) significant events, it was going to be too long a composition for one Project. I however noted that there was a natural division within the significant events of two time frames that I could possibly divide between my Research Study Project 1 and Project 2: up until twenty (20) years of age; and post-twenty (20) years of age. I decided that it would be logical to have Project 1 represent the associative memories of the first twenty (20) years of my life.
I started experimenting with some sonic events, directly inside the digital audio workstation (DAW). Whilst I gained confidence with my vision, I found that I easily lost focus within each event, and could create some musical or sonic events that were less authentic, less congruent to me of an associated memory. The blogs evolved as a way to more specifically focus in on a range of highlighted events, drawing my self into each of them to determine the actual particular significance of the event. I found by immersing my self into each event via a number of written forms (prose, lyrics, narrative), I could deepen the in-situation experience, and better recall a range of kinaesthetic, auditory, visual, olfactory, or even gustatory sensations of the particular significant event. After experimenting across a number of these significant events, I learnt to trust the physical and emotional responses of these in-situation re-experiences as they occurred. For me, the actual sixteen (16) significant events narrated are real. Whilst immersed in this creative practice, I noted experiences including an inability to breathe, shortness of breath, nausea, headaches and body pain. I relived experiences that brought up emotional responses such as joy, sorrow, fear, sadness, nervousness, loneliness, loss, and feelings of abandonment and shame whilst in-stuating my self within these significant events, and writing these blogs.  My planned research study was always to have been a first-person narrative of my personal journey: an emergent study, revealing aspects of my life I had not previously considered fully, or perhaps fully understood. I expected this journey was potentially going to be revealing, and at times, confronting, True to my expectations, it has been.
I trust that you as the reader can in some way experience my re-experiences of significant events within my personal journey, that I now choose to share.

full-2

Re-experiencing the experience 1

Re-experiencing the experience 1 ©David L Page 2016
Just now,
I realise how much stress I am under
as I delve back into my past,
reflecting on,
and writing about
a particular significant event
in the earliest stage of my life…..

 

 

Whilst writing,
I can feel the tension within
my jaw is tense,
I can feel a pulsing down the side of my head
my forearms and fingers are cramping,
I note I am quite out of breath,
I can hear my heart pumping,
as though I have a stethoscope on
listening with so much intent

 

re-experiencing the experience,
of a particular significant event,
immersing my self back in time,
into a deeply reflective in-situation experience,
at the earliest point of my (life) time…..

 

All of my senses are heightened,
the visual,
the auditory,
the smell,
the taste
the emotion I feel within my body,
everything moving in slow mo (tion),
every thing around….

 

re-experiencing the experience,
of a particular significant event,
immersing my self back in time,
into a deeply reflective in-situation experience,
at the earliest point of my (life) time…..

 

 

whilst in the moment
– performing if you like –
deep in the in-situation experience,
deeply reflecting,
in many ways, re-living,
re-expereincing the feeling and emotion
of the particular time, place and event

 

“What is that strange taste?”, I thought
as I instinctively wiped my chin,
snapping back into the current moment,
I realised I had vomited,
mainly within my mouth,
but with evidence down my front

 

 I stepped back
– out of my painting as such –
for a split second,
and considered how I possibly felt back then
in that particular significant event,
such a  long time ago

 

re-experiencing the experience,
of a particular significant event,
immersing my self back in time,
into a deeply reflective in-situation experience,
at the earliest point of my (life) time…..

 

All of my senses are heightened,
the visual,
the auditory,
the smell,
the taste
the emotion I feel within my body,
everything moving in slow motion,
every thing around….

 

I had many similar in-situation experiences,
over the past six months time,
all whilst undertaking this research study,
into the significant events that made up my life,
from Age 3 to Age 20,
in the formative stage
of my growing
up…
I welcome you to my journey
re-experiencing the experience,
of sixteen (16) particular significant events..

 

immersing my self back in time,
into a deeply reflective in-situation experience,
in order for me to gain a better understanding of
my self,
my identity,
my musical identity,
and how my musical self has developed
over the first twenty years of my life…..
(Page 2016a).

 

In-situation re-experiences (aka deep reflective practice)

In-situation re-experiences (aka deep reflective practice) ©David L Page 2017
As you read…
I welcome you to feel…
But of all of the feelings that you can embrace,
please do not feel sorrow or pity …
it is not the point of this journey
that I am taking my self on…
The point of this journey – this process – is for me….
to work through significant events of my life,
to date
to reconcile what I have done in my life,
against what it is that I have wanted to realise,
but have not been able to succeed in,
yet…

 

It is perhaps not surprising
for those who know me,
you understand I am grateful for who I am,
where I have been,
where I have come from…

 

I am here,
as a result of all that has gone before me…
all that I have been through

 

I know my tales are not perhaps
what you’ve heard in other’s
worldly tales of their complicated lives,
some so horrific,
you wander how they lived to tell it at all…

 

I certainly do not want to minimise
those real life stories of
genuine pain, suffering and hardship

 

I have had the blessing of living a privileged life
though, living true to my self
in certain areas of life,
still evades me …

 

and so, I choose not to
let go of this investigation,
my self-imposed intervention process,
my auto-ethnographic research study
with me playing the subject,
and the observer
of the self

 

after all, what is a life for?
gain more understanding of who you are,
and perhaps learn better,
what you are here (on earth) for….

 

there is something in my journey,
that has caused me to be unsettled
for as long as I recall,
it is the point of this journey
that I  am taking on
the study of my self…

 

The point of this journey – this process – is for me….
to work through significant events of my life,
to date
to reconcile what I have done in my life,
against what it is that I have wanted to realise,
but have not been able to realise,
yet…
Without endorsing any behaviours or acts,
that you may realise along my journey,
I know that I am stronger
as a result..

 

Through this process
I am trying to understand,
what brought me to where I stand today..

 

Nothing more, nothing less…

 

So I welcome you to proceed..
I welcome you to reflect on what I have lived,
and where I have been ..
If this helps you understand a little bit more of either,
me….
perhaps you (your self)….
or perhaps someone else…
in which you have crossed paths,
then all the better …..

 

I believe we are all in this thing called life together,
whatever one experiences…
Hopefully others can benefit from our stories,
with lessons to learn,
understandings to gain
for everyone …
So without taking more time out of your busy schedule
I welcome you to engage in…
into any number of episodes in the early stage of life
of me
(Page 2017).

onion-layers

The next blog in this Project 1 series is Memory – Age 2.
References
Onion image courtesy of: Onion Layers Accessed 28th March, 2015
Page, David L. 2017. “In situation re-experiences (aka deep reflective practice)” ©David L Page 2017
Page, David L. 2016a. “Re-experiencing the experience 1” ©David L Page 2016
Page, David L. 2016b.  Research Practitioner Part 16  Accessed 11th March, 2017
Page, David L. 2014.  Music Practitioner Part 1 – Beginnings  Accessed 11th March, 2017
Page, David L. 1991 Boy Accessed 11th March, 2017
Page, David L image courtesy of David L Page. Accessed 23rd October, 2016
Pulsating image courtesy of: Image Accessed 15th January, 2016
QUT Creative Industries image courtesy of:  Queensland University of Technology  Accessed 23rd October, 2016
– ©David L Page 24/10/2016
– updated ©David L Page 31/12/2016
– updated ©David L Page 11/03/2017
Copyright: No aspect of the content of this blog or blog site is to be reprinted or used within any practice without strict permission directly from David L Page.
Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Memory – Introduction

Leave a Reply