I've spent the better part of two weeks engrossed and enmeshed in the world that is the mind of Philip Bonneau. Philip is a visual artist that I have written about before as he has taken his art to a new level and becoming more of a mixed media artist by adding soundtracks that has has painstakingly crafted to his art shows. His latest project, Brave New Secrets has been something of a transcendental process for Philip as not only have the circumstances of his art changed but on a fundamental level, he has also changed. When he set out to create this project, he created the soundtrack that would interweave it's way through his photography with the purpose of where he stood in his life at that time. Now that he is geographically different as well as intrinsically different on a creative level, his vision behind the project is different as well.
In the first iteration of the soundtrack - which was created at the start of the project, there is an overall sense of deep melancholy punctuated with artists like Florence and the Machine, Faithless, Above and Beyond and Placebo. The direction of the piece has a listless quality that lazily pulls you along with it and it feels as if that can be translated to where he felt creatively. It feels like all the pressures from the outside world to create something bigger and better than what he had previously done was weighing on him and stifling his creativity. There are portions thought the journey where everything seems too heavy; too much of a demand to be the artist he needed to be, not only for himself but for everyone else as well but there are glimmering moments of hope peeking through as well. It's the idea that through all adversity, there can be triumph in which ever form we need.
The second of the two mixes; "Birth, Death, Resurrection Redux" was made sometime later and has a completely different aesthetic to it. Philip had an opportunity open before him and he took the chance and uprooted his life and moved to a new state, a new experience and a new chapter and all of that is reflected in the choices he made when laying out the musical progression from start to finish. You are still privy to his thoughts, emotions, and ideas in this version of the soundtrack; there's just a different underlying message and meaning of how the story is told. His intention has a different merit but it still expresses where he's been and what he's gone through to make him the man that he is now. There's less strife and turmoil and there is a much more expressive voice to his experience. Don't misunderstand me, he still as a full range of expressions that are being put out before you, he's just approaching his life and his journey with a different set of eyes and external stimuli this time.
In each of the versions of the soundtrack, he's having a conversation with not only the purveyors of his art but himself as well. He has laid himself bare for us to see. His insecurities are out for the world to not only see, but to judge him by as well. There are stories about disastrous relationships, the kind that you know better from the beginning but because our heart never listens to our head, we still dive headlong into the toxic cesspool of people that aren't there to help us be better people. We get to hear his successes and his hopes on top of his anxieties and fears and you really get to learn so much about who Philip is without ever uttering a word to him. He has taken his experiences and combined them ever so carefully with the music that will get you not only to where he needs you to go but to where you need to go as well. I dare you not to listen to these two mixes and not learn something about yourself in the process.
This man continues to amaze me as he shows continual growth and a desire to seek the truth in the art that he creates. For someone who's primary medium being visual be produce these mixes in such an elegant way speaks volumes of his understanding of the message he wants to impart and I think that it's one of learning from who we are and being at peace with where we've been and were we are going. To not rest easy on our laurels and to challenge our own expectations of what we feel is or is not part of our experience. To make sure that each day we step one foot in front of the next, we are doing it not for anyone else but for ourselves because at the end of the day if not for our own reflection, who are we?