Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Voices of the Bayou: An Interview with Janice Van Dyke Walden about the Buffalo Bayou Project

Transcript of Conductor, Robert Moody's interview with Janice Van Dyke Walden at the ROCO Season Finale at Bayou Bend, April 18, 2010

Tell us, what is the Buffalo Bayou Project?
For me, the Buffalo Bayou Project started as just the documentary, in the traditional sense of one film. But over the last two years, it has grown to become a full educational program, including the documentary and a series of shorter videos.

What motivated you to do this commission?
A year and a half ago we thought by this time we’d have the film wrapped up, so this started as just one of the production commitments. But, as we got into learning about Buffalo Bayou, we found we had a lot more to learn, so the Suite has carried its own as a creative force. All along we’ve wanted the film to have a score with distinction, a musical representation of the bayou. And, we certainly got that.

What do you see happening today that make our connection with the bayou all the more important?
Well today, we spend our days in air conditioning under fluorescent lights in front of computer screens, or behind a steering wheel commuting a couple of hours a day. Our children are no less confined, scared of the “bogey-man”, learning in class rooms with no windows and in the case of public schools, generally learning just to take the test. There is no room for exploration. And, so it is no wonder that we have become disconnected from nature, which nurtures us, and actually has tremendous healing powers.

So, here is Buffalo Bayou, right in our own back yard, coursing through our city. What a natural asset we have, and one we can learn from.  I see a growing desire in many Houstonians to live more responsibly according to the laws of nature. That’s encouraging.

How can people be involved?
There are two ways people can be involved. One, we can become more bayou-centric in how we live. That means, in every lifestyle choice we make – how we build our house, how we plant and take care of our lawn, what car we drive and how we use water - we should consider, how will this impact the bayou? Because we all live in a watershed and our daily choices impact it.

Secondly, there is only so much you can put in a film. And the film will develop a narrative that excludes many other interesting stories. Houstonians have so much to say about this great bayou that affects our lives, and each person has their own story, their own memory; their own perspective. So, as part of the Buffalo Bayou Project we’re developing “Voices of the Bayou”, a kind of audio almanac where people can record their own memories or stories about Buffalo Bayou. If you are interested in contributing a story, email us at esmp@neosoft.com, and we’ll be in touch with you.

Monday, April 12, 2010