In ‘I Am’ I have tried to represent the feeling of not having an identity. The piece tries to convey a simultaneous multitude and lack of identity; of having no idea of who you are and having many ideas at the same time and not knowing which is right, or rather knowing that none is right. Not knowing which is right leaves you with a multitude while knowing that none is right leaves you with an emptiness.
While this theme is present in all parts throughout the piece, the vocal parts more or less deal with the question of what is owned by the self and what is not: ‘I am being done by the it I am doing’ (R.D.Laing). The narrator deals with the multitude of identities through portraying different characters consecutively.
For these characters, I have looked for (fictional) characters and creatures throughout history, myths and tales that have one of these features: they are unbelievable or obviously not real, they are shapeshifters, cheap references to pop culture used to please, or characters that I have personally identified with at one point. In the score, the narrator is asked to exclaim to be each character with absolute certainty. This illustrates the impossibility of the multitude: you can’t be all.
The text consists of fragments by R.D.Laing from his poetry album ‘Knots’ (1970, Penguin Books), to which I added original fragments.
2018, Liesbeth Decrock