Andrew Reed Miller (Victor Szymanski/The East)

Open Arts 31: The Four Temperaments

The music mesmerizes, creating a transient experience leading listeners into non-linear moments. There is no distinguishing between our senses—they mould into one as the oscillators take their toll. Does my enjoyment come from repetition of theme and melody? Or is it the three drinks I’ve consumed already…I have been induced into a hypnotic state of abandon. The phlegmatic piece creates a melancholic kind of desire. The sanguine leaves me insatiable. The room is dark. The drinks are strong. My heart beat slows to meet the tempo of the music.

Open Arts emerged as the group Motion Ensemble wound down after fourteen years of touring the nation. Open Arts, directed by Miller, has been putting together experimental performances in New Brunswick since 2012. It seems the one and only common thread that runs from one Open Arts event to the other is the desire to see different artistic expressions enhance one another.

Open Arts (Victor Szymanski/The East)
Open Arts (Victor Szymanski/The East)
Open Arts (Victor Szymanski/The East)
Deanna Musgrave, Artist/Hostess (Victor Szymanski/The East)

Open Arts 31, The Four Temperaments, was an experiment in musical pairings. Crafty cocktailsman, Andrew George, provided the libations while Andrew Reed Miller and friends provided the soundtrack to a memorable evening (except for the parts I can’t remember…)

When speaking with The Andrews prior to the event, I learned that this would be their first experiment in combining cocktails with classical music. In the past, they’ve paired Slovakian beer with Slovakian tunes, and there’s been no shortage of wine.

Of course, they aren’t always in the habit of using alcohol to lull their listeners. Upcoming events range from a flute and visual artist duo to the twice annual event, Perspective, a laboratory collaboration between Connections Dance Works and various local musicians.

The idea is to engage the senses, to slightly distract so that one can truly pay attention. There’s a certain level of abandonment that one needs to embrace in order to fully appreciate post-classical music. A culture married to distraction needs help staying focused. In comes Open Arts—an ongoing experiment in multi-medium performances.

Open Arts (Victor Szymanski/The East)
(Victor Szymanski/The East)
Open Arts (Victor Szymanski/The East)
The Art of Andrew George (Victor Szymanski/The East)

When asked about the reception Open Arts has had in Saint John compared to larger cities, Miller replied, “in Toronto it’s all like-minded people, which is really a drag. There are no real people. Here we have to appeal to a broader audience.”

Open Arts’ experiments in artistic mergings continue to diversify as they seek to open the minds of participants throughout New Brunswick and beyond.

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