In 2017, I worked as a live-in caregiver for a woman suffering with dementia. Despite the progression of her memory loss, each day she played a song on her keyboard that she had composed fifty years previously. This project begins with an audio recording (made on my phone) of her playing one day. There are moments in the recording where she strays from her composition, eventually hearing her way back into the melody. The following year, I worked with a musician to translate the recording into musical notation, preserving each irregularity or “slippage” faithfully to her playing. While her memory continued to wane after the recording was made (eventually obstructing her ability to play), the score preserves her performance of the song on that very day, at a midpoint in her forgetting.
Working in collaboration with with pianists and keyboard players across the internet, I ask musicians to record themselves sight-reading the score, transcribed exactly as she had played it. The resulting collection explores the speculative potentials of memories to be passed, held, translated, shared, improvised, and bolstered through community transference and engagement. “Rehearsal” speaks to the process-driven nature of this ongoing work: a cumulative practice that simultaneously refutes and accepts the loss of a memory.