‘Secrets of the Night Air’
During my last few days in Timor, before heading to Australia, I realised I knew what I wanted my ‘theme’ or compositional starting point to be for the Lospalos project. Secrets. What are the things about Lospalos that only people from there would know? What are the stories that get told? Already, the two teenage girls that live with me have talked about magic, the magic of the land… I have heard the olohoto quarter-tone birdsong that everyone there recognises as belonging to the local environment… what are some of the other things about Lospalos, the people, the language, the traditions, that could be classed as secrets that can be shared?
Secrets have a kind of power. They are often shared in dramatic or clandestine ways. They invite emotional attachment.
Children’s secrets will be different to adults’ secrets. I also like the fact that in asking this question of the people who work with me, I am putting them in the position of Expert. There is no way that I already have this knowledge. This is important, because the education system here is one that works with a very teacher-centred model, where teachers do all the talking, and students must write down what they say, memorise, and repeat back. Very little applied learning, collaborative work, problem-solving, constructivist environments. It is a big thing to introduce these sorts of notions to a group for the first time, and I think they will make more sense if the context in which they are explored is one where I – in the role of the teacher – clearly don’t already know the answers.
Our working title for this project is ‘Secrets of the Night Air’. It’s open to the public – Lospalos, 7pm, Saturday 22 January 2011. You can track its development here of course!