Tippet Rise is a metaphor. It is an intersection where art, music, land, sky, and poetry can weave together into an algorithm which is greater than the sum of its parts. Music isn’t about notes, anymore than poetry is about words. Notes and words and the angles of a sculpture are just the shadows of the essences which hide behind them. As someone said of the pianist Artur Schnabel: music was just the start of it.
There’s an electric grid which underlies the universe, which allows energy to be exchanged across infinite spaces, which provided a base through which the big bang coursed. This grid touches and combines different forms of matter. As Hamlet said:
Alexander died, Alexander was buried, Alexander returneth to dust, the dust is earth, of earth we make loam—and why of that loam, whereto he was converted, might they not stop a beer barrel? Imperious Caesar, dead and turned to clay, Might stop a hole to keep the wind away. Oh, that that earth, which kept the world in awe, Should patch a wall t' expel the winter’s flaw!
Painters, poets and musicians work with meta-artifacts (easily understood stand-ins for more complex truths).
It’s the way we compress a file into shorthand to make it easier to work with and then, later on, apply that shorthand to a larger file. We compress the world into a metaphor so it can then be applied to the larger emotional world. The part is translated into the whole.
An adjective, a note, a color thus unwraps an emotionally vast fundamental truth. As Claude Lévi-Strauss has said, everything is influenced by everything else. One small key unlocks an entire skein of locks.
With Tippet Rise, we’re hoping to provide an environment on the land where these transfers of energy and knowledge can take place.
Metaphor is the linguistic process through which identities and essences are interwoven. It can also be a physical transmigration, where the unearthly light of Montana storms is absorbed by the audience, by the musicians, as they play under the large dolmen of the Domo, the structure of landscape devised by Ensamble Studio of Madrid and MIT to act as a wormhole through which music and sculpture could enter into the spirit of the land.
Music and sculpture have abstract vocabularies which aren’t always apparent, but we hope that poetry has the ability to transform those languages into a more accessible parable. As the Irish poets understand, poetry is a state of mind interwoven with the spirit of place.
We chose the surreal mountainscape of Montana, just north of Yellowstone, as a territorial metaphor where we sensed that the sky was especially present on the earth, and that a certain stone age magnetism was evident in the volcanic nature of the moraines, eskers, coulees, cirques, bowls, and canyons which would support the metaphors with which we engaged it.
-Peter and Cathy Halstead