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A multimedia song cycle that uses music, sound and imagery to plunge us into our oceans and fill us with wonder, outrage, and hope.
A multimedia song cycle that uses music, sound and imagery to plunge us into our oceans and fill us with wonder, outrage, and hope.
333 backers pledged $43,502 to help bring this project to life.

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$43,502

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“Black Inscription keeps breaking my heart… Every single moment comes from a place of truth… it is a journey both devastating and exhilarating! “  

— Osvaldo Golijov, composer

WHAT IS BLACK INSCRIPTION?

Black Inscription, from Carla Kihlstedt, Matthias Bossi and Jeremy Flower, is a multimedia song cycle that follows a deep sea diver on her Odyssean journey. Written with guidance from experts at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and brought to life by a seven-piece band fronted by three singers, the immersive world premiere is a symbolic, scientific, and emotional plunge into the ocean where wonder, discovery, and reckoning entwine. 

In Black Inscription, a free diver inspired by the late and great Natalia Molchanova, descends into the depths of the ocean, never to resurface. As her terrestrial ties dissolve, she encounters a mystifying underworld with billions of bioluminescent creatures, endlessly inventive structures of coral, gyres of human detritus, and abandoned nets still fishing for no one – sights both awe-inspiring and devastating. 

WHAT DOES THE TITLE MEAN?

The name Black Inscription comes from pioneering ecologist and writer Rachel Carson’s description of the line of microplants that universally signifies the place where water meets rock. It is “…a message only partially legible although it seems in some way to be concerned with the universality of tides and oceans.” 

Black Inscription deciphers some of these messages through music, sound and imagery, and plunges us into our oceans, filling us with wonder, outrage, and hope.

 “With lyrics about coral spawns, dislocated aquatic creatures and the water cycle, [Black Inscription] reads... like a love song to the changing sea... “ — Zara Abrams, The Huffington Post 

Join the Black Inscription crew and help bring this project to life in January, 2018 in New York City at the Prototype Festival, described by the New York Times as “...the city’s most important spotlight on contemporary opera, broadly defined.” 

IS MY CONTRIBUTION TAX-DEDUCTABLE?

YES!!!! All contributions go through HERE, a non-profit and our fiscal sponsor. HERE is the venue in NYC that is presenting Black Inscription. Soon after the end of this Kickstarter campaign, HERE will send you an official letter for your tax records.

WHAT WILL MY CONTRIBUTION FUND?

As we dive deep, your contribution will provide the oxygen for two big projects: The release of the album, and the creation of the live performance.

The Black Inscription album will take 2 forms: 

• For those of you with an insatiable appetite for vinyl, we’re creating a gorgeous 180-gram double gatefold LP. 

• For those of you who prefer their music digital but have a deep love of tactile fine art, we’re creating a dark blue envelope that contains a set of hand silkscreened prints by Lisa Carroll, one for each song, with the lyrics on the back… an instant exhibit for your living room! 

(Both formats will include a CD of the album as well.)

Your contribution will also give life to our rehearsals, artist fees and the transportation, housing and feeding of our artists. That's 7 band-members, 4 theater designers, a visual artist, a graphic designer, 2 engineers, a writer, a voice actress!  And last, but certainly not least, it will fund the creation of our immersive theatrical world, including a video installation created from both sourced deep sea footage and from our own underwater video shoots... that includes an underwater videographer, a suba-certified dancer, renting the accompanying gear... and much more!


WHO IS INVOLVED IN BLACK INSCRIPTION?

COMPOSERS Matthias Bossi, Jeremy Flower & Carla Kihlstedt / BAND Carla Kihlstedt (voice, violin), Matthias Bossi (drums, voice), Jeremy Flower (guitar, keyboard, electronics, voice), Kristin Slipp (voice, keyboard), Ariel Parkington (voice, viola), George Ban-Weiss (bass for the live show), Jon Evans (bass on the album) & Michael Abraham (guitar) / LYRICIST Carla Kihlstedt / DIRECTORS Carla Kihlstedt & Mark deChiazza / Environment & Video Designer Mark deChiazza / Sound Designer Quentin Chiappetta / Lighting Designer Mary Ellen Stebbins / Costume Designer Sylvianne Shurman / SPOKEN TEXT Hannah Silva / VOICE ACTOR  Tatyana Gessen /  Visual Artist Lisa Carroll / Visual Artist Anna Singer

WHERE AND WHEN IS THE PERFORMANCE?

Our premiere is a 6-night run at the PROTOTYPE Festival on January 11-13 and 18-20 at 9:30pm At HERE's Dorothy B. Williams Theatre:

145 6th Avenue, New York, NY - Entry on Dominick St. 

Tickets are on sale HERE!

WHY DOES IT MATTER?

Your contribution will help us to connect the scientific and arts communities, and spark wonder and curiosity about the importance of the ocean and its health. We've learned so much about the oceans while writing this piece, and we're excited to share it with you. Once you are a Black Inscription donor, you'll never think of the oceans in the same way again.


WHAT IF YOU RAISE MORE THAN $42,000?

Our entire budget, including the fulfilling the kickstarter rewards and the fees, is actually $64,500. I haven't posted the full number as our goal because of the high all-or-nothing stakes of a kickstarter campgain. We have had a few generous contributions outside of kickstarter which have gotten us started. $42,000 is the absolute bare bones figure that we need now to support the many elements of both the live performance and the album release. 

If you help us go beyond our full budget goal, we'll use the funds to bring the show to other theaters and create a digital web presence for the project that connects it to oceanographic information and resources. If we truly shoot the moon on this campaign, we'll create a Virtual Reality music video for one (or more) of the songs! And, once that’s done, we’ll take the entire cast and crew out for a round of drinks to celebrate!

BEINGS OF LIGHT!

The depths of the ocean are far from dark. About 75% of all creatures in the sea make their own light. In honor of these bioluminescent beings, each contribution level carries the name of a light-emitting ocean-dweller.

Risks and challenges

The songs of 'Black Inscription' are already in the can. We're working now on the elements of the live show in January. I'm happy to say that, barring acts of god, uprisings of vengeful mermaids, or total debilitating natural disaster, there is no risk of us not reaching the goals set for this project!
The timeline of the 'Black Inscription' album release is a bit tight between sending the tracks to the press and getting it all back in time for opening night in NYC, but I have mapped it out and am optimistic.

The worst-case-and-somewhat-unlikely scenario would simply be having the album in hand a few weeks later than our January NYC shows.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    Dinoflagellate

    You may be small, but together with your community, you make the oceans glimmer and glow.

    You’ll get a download of the Black Inscription songs, and our appreciation for your luminous spark.

    Includes:
    • A download of the 'Black Inscription' album
    • Our undying gratitude
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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Nanomia Cara

    You are a colony, propelled by swimming bells. Together, you move us forward.

    You’ll get our undying appreciation and a download of the songs and the artwork created for each. And even though you are many, we will thank you by name in the NYC premiere program.

    Includes:
    • All previous levels
    • Your name in the thankyous of our NYC program
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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Comb Jelly

    You are translucent and magical with pulsating bells and long, trailing tentacles.

    In addition the music and a thank you in the program notes, we'll thank you by name both in the liner notes of our double gatefold LP of Black Inscription, and in the set of silkscreened prints that we're creating for each song.

    Includes:
    • All previous levels
    • Your name printed in the thankyous of the 'Black Inscription' LP
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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Sea Salp

    You are the most efficient in all the animal kingdom, connecting in a chain with your friends to move through the water.

    In addition to all of the above, you’ll get a digital peek under the surface of our watery process with amazing images we didn’t use and a peek at Carla’s notebook of lyrics which is as anarchic as you might imagine.

    Includes:
    • All previous levels
    • 2 digital images by artist Lisa Carroll, for BIack Inscription
    • 2 digital images of Carla’s Black Inscription lyric notebook
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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Luminous Sea Angel

    You light up the sea... an angel of the deep.

    In addition to everything above, you will receive a package in the mail containing three cds of Rabbit-Rabbit-related projects, and a set of 12 prints of Carla's ocean-themed postcards that she's been making monthly for Rabbit Rabbit bandcamp subscribers.

    Includes:
    • All previous levels
    • A set of 12 original ocean-themed postcards made by Carla.
    • A CD of Jeremy Flower's 'The Real Me' (w/ C.Kihlstedt & M. Bossi)
    • A CD of Rabbit Rabbit Radio, Volume 1
    • A CD of Tin Hat's album 'the rain is a handsome animal'
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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Coryphella Verrucosa

    You are a most beautiful of sea creatures with sparkling tentacles.

    In addition to everything above, we'll send you your choice of the gatefold 180-gram double LP of Black Inscription, or a set of fine art prints by artist Lisa Carroll - one for each song.

    Includes:
    • All previous levels
    • Your choice: The double gatefold LP of Black Inscription
    • Or the set of original fine art prints for each song.
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    Pledge $800 or more About $800

    Atolla Jelly

    You light up the bathypelagic, or midnight zone of the deep sea with your gorgeous display of colorful lights.

    Come shine your light on the Black Inscription team as you join us for our final dress rehearsal, with cocktails and conversation after.

    Includes:
    • All previous levels
    • Come to our dress rehearsal in NYC with drinks to follow!
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    Pledge $1,200 or more About $1,200

    Bioluminescent Octopod

    You are one of the only species of octopods that can make their own light.

    Come and be our guest at opening night (or other night of the run, if that’s better for you).

    Let's also have a skype date (or in person, geography-dependent)... ask us anything! It can be a song-writing lesson, or just a friendly chat.

    Includes:
    • All previous levels
    • 2 tickets for opening night (or another night of the run)
    • Let's have a date. Ask us anything!
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    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500

    Bobtail Squid

    You are one of the most expressive bioluminescent creatures of the deep. You make your own light in endless pigments and patterns.

    Come and visit us in Woods Hole, and we'll cook you dinner, and give you a tour of our favorite local beaches, which figured heavily in the writing of this piece. We'll introduce you to some of the people who helped us along the way, including some of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution scientists. (Travel and room not included.)

    Includes:
    • All previous levels
    • Dinner in Woods Hole, MA, and a tour of our favorite beaches, etc
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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    Etmopterus lailae

    You are a newly discovered species of shark. And you glow in the dark. You are a marvel to behold. In addition to everything listed above, Matthias and I will give you your very own tiny desk concert, from our living room to yours, via Skype.

    Includes:
    • All previous levels
    • Your own tiny desk concert, from our living room to yours.
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Funding period

- (32 days)