Indie-rock band Gardening, Not Architecture presents a unique, across-the-arts collaboration to produce a film, an album, and an art exhibit
by Keeley Harper
Gardening, Not Architecture’s lead singer Sarah Saturday had big plans for their third studio album. What began as a search for a director to film a long-form video for the album, titled Fossils, became a three-part anthology film with three directors and a producer. However, the expanse of the project doesn’t end there. Fossils and its creators have established a yearlong collaborative effort that attempts to span Nashville’s film, music, visual arts, and dance communities by combining work from each.
Dycee Wildman, director of part three of the film, describes how this transition and growth came to fruition: “For me the idea for part three sprang from the music, and then that required the paintings. It was the desire for the three pieces to feel connected—from the same universe—that led to the dancing. It was like a lily-pad effect, just jumping from one to the next logical lily pad.” So how does such a vast project with so many different visions come together?
For director Jonathan Rogers, establishing this cohesiveness throughout the project was one of the biggest challenges. “The slippery slope for this project was allowing the three of us directors to create something unique and personal for our own sections of the album, while at the same time incorporating themes, ideas, and art to create a cohesive film. The three of us shared various props like the paintings, and we used elements of dance choreographed by Rachel Tolbert for each section. We cast each film to create a particular arch throughout the piece, which in turn creates a sort of cohesiveness. And of course we had Sarah’s voice, thoughts, and music to pull together all the different stories we each tell.” And there are many stories told throughout the project, but all of these come together to create an overarching theme.
“Fossils is about so many things; it’s about love, loss, hope, self-growth, life. But ultimately, it is a unique tale of how we as humans often stumble, yet always find our way,”says producer Jennifer Bonior. For Sarah Saturday, the importance of Fossils is found within its namesake: “I’ve been writing these songs over the course of the past two years, which have been two of the most evolutionary years in my life. I’ve had to do a lot of digging, you could say. So the ideas of fossilization and discovery, the way we grow and change and keep searching for the deeper meaning or the true self, they helped us in discussing the overall storyline for the film—these glimpses back at moments that have become fossilized in our own minds and that process of self-discovery.”
Not only does Fossils work to span multiple art communities in Nashville, but also to create unique viewing and listening events that each serve as their own insulated art experiences. These events have so far included an online listen to the album paired with dance performances by the Numinous Flux troupe, and the Fossils Gala, which was held at the Rymer Gallery. The gala displayed visual art and sets from the film while viewers listened to the album, creating an immersive experience and bringing viewers into the world of Fossils.
Look for the Fossils album on July 10. See the exhibit at The Rymer Gallery through July 28. To learn more about the project and upcoming film screenings, visit www.fossilsfilm.com.