Meredith Monk and Ann Hamilton are in town studying, exploring and rehearsing in the McGuire Theater, preparing for Songs of Ascension. One key challenge — transferring the magic of Hamilton’s eight-story concrete Tower sculpture, on a private ranch in Geyserville, Calif., into a formal theater.
Bay Area public broadcasting power KQED documented the creation of Tower — from Hamilton’s first conceptual meetings with the ranch owner who commissioned the piece, Steve Oliver, to the foundation pour to, eventually, the tower’s christening in 2007 through the vocal chords of Monk and her ensemble. It’s a beautiful, illuminating video, well worth watching for, among other reasons, the sense of Hamilton’s task at the Walker.
In an interview earlier this year about Songs of Ascension, Monk told WALKER magazine she might use the stairways and balconies of the McGuire to recreate the distance and verticality of a tower. Hamilton is likely thinking beyond that, to other (im)possible physical and metaphorical manifestations. One thing is certain — Songs of Ascension, a Walker co-commission, will go where neither Monk nor Hamilton have gone before.