5 Follow-ups : 014 : Yara Travieso : Philip Glass, Psychedelics & Poltergeist


It’s your chance to ask the questions. On Twitter, write a follow-up question for the latest guest to Prologue Profiles (@prologuepros). Five will be picked to be answered by the guest. There’s still time to tweet for this week’s guest, The New York Times social media producer, Daniel Victor.

Yara is a Julliard-trained multi-media artist. She’s currently working on creating her own Opera about Japanese ghost stories.

1. What art exhibitions/performances going on now or coming up are you interested in?

There is a show at the Meulensteen Gallery titled Young Curators New Ideas that is closing on August 24th.  Artist Brookhart Jonquil has two amazing works showing in the front room of the gallery, check it out–it’s worth the trip!  Also, the renowned work by Robert Wilson and Philip Glass, Einstein on The Beach has been revived for BAM in September.  This collaboration between director and composer is one my composer and I model a lot of what we do after.

2. Where did you get your inspirations from in general? How do they come to you? 

The best way I could answer this question is by answering question 4. below.

3. What’s the latest with your Opera project? Is there a name for it yet? 

We were just awarded a prestigious residency in NYC to work on the new opera for nine months in an incredible facility.  We will literally be gestating this thing in some-kind of brain belly/womb…  The award has yet to be formally announced, but I will make sure to send P.P. the link once it’s up.  We will also be fundraising during this time. The tentative title of the opera is Kwaidan, which translates as weird or horror tales in Japanese and is also the title of the Lafcadio Hearn book we are basing the work after.

4. Why Japanese ghost stories? 

For a while now, we’ve been interested in creating a work that allows for the viewer to dig deeper and farther into their subconcious, while still feeling the thrill of cinema in immersive environments.  Something like ghost stories around a campfire, but on psychedelics…

One of my major fascinations are Japanese horror films. These films have their origins in ancient storytelling, yet bring western themes of tension building, ghosts, poltergeist and other psychological worlds into the fabric of the tale.  In addition, the book, Kwaidan, embodies particular themes that associate the mysterious with the macabre and the morbid. These stories also suggest a faith in the ancient gods of all parts of the world based on the concept of the collective memory of humankind, so its not culturally specific by any means.

Through their deep roots in ancient myths and natural sense of tension, the stories can dig deeper into the gripping and exciting cinematic world we were after.  It’s as though the haunted house experience was transformed into a night at the opera….

5. Who are your role models? 

Throughout my entire childhood-adolescence my role model was my older brother, Chat Travieso.  He is unlike anyone I’ve ever met.  As a young boy, and still today, his talent and knowledge is more than evident and his humility and sincerity is part of everything he is and does.  I’ve learned a certain work ethic and how to critically care about ideas and understand them in every way they could be understood through our conversations.  Chat and I now collaborate on various projects, including Kwaidan, our newest adventure.  I think we really influence each other with our very different voices and approach to our projects.

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