Instrumentation: solo flute
Duration: ca. 5:00
Together Alone was commissioned by Erika Boysen. Broken into two contrasting movements, Together Alone is a reflection on social media and its psychological affect on me. Although I believe in its power to connect me with other people, particularly with family, friends, and other artists and musicians—which is ultimately why I have yet to try to completely remove it from my life—I have become increasingly disillusioned by the way it sculpts, shapes, and distorts my time and my sense of reality. Movement 1, News Feed, divides time precisely into one-second ticks, using percussive sounds and an incessant, high, pulsing pitch that eventually bends and distorts, as time seems to break apart and slow down. The music is charged with quick rhythmic bursts, like the small, frequent releases of dopamine I feel when scrolling through my Facebook or Twitter Feeds. Stepping back from these addicting streams of information, I am increasingly left with a sense of longing: I have come to realize this this form of connection is not entirely real—not that the way in which it impacts the world isn’t real (it is!), rather, it is simply not the same as interacting in person. Although I am connected to a larger community of people than I could have ever imagined a decade ago, there’s an emptiness in these interactions that fundamentally leaves me feeling alone. I still need to share physical presence with others—I need to look at them, to listen to them, to watch their facial expressions and interpret their body language. I need to interact in real time. I need to try to understand them. And I want them to try to understand me too.