I’ve been fond of flies for a while now. I first really noticed their beauty when three of them danced above me a little while ago. They gently interrupted me one day when I was sitting under a tree. I was trying to write a song to no avail. I had almost given up, but something told me to persevere. I lifted my head and there they were, three, free flies, dancing in circles and so they inspired me. With the help of my guitarist, the song took a life of its own.
I so often find that whenever I push my creativity beyond the freedom it needs I’m confronted with an automatic block. It’s something I particularly struggle with in music as I find myself desperate to write songs to share with others. Giving it the freedom it deserves is one of the hardest things I find in the creative process.
I take my three flies song with me everywhere I go on my ukelele. I’ve played it live, for countless audiences. However, this time I wanted to combine the visual arts and audio in an installation in which people could still feel my sense of awe and fascination without being present in the piece.
Perhaps I have a certain soft spot for flies as they are one of the only insects that ever visit me in London (okay, perhaps the occasional spider). Or maybe it comes from the awareness that flies are insects that we humans and most animals tend to dismiss on the first instance of their presence. We have been conditioned to swat them or flick them out the way without giving them a second thought. It’s true they can be annoying, at times, but so can we all. Did you know flies have been around sixty-five million years, disproving the theory of evolution. They have helped cancer research to test endless treatments and they eat and digest the remains of dead creatures reducing the spread of diseases!
This piece was also inspired by Alexander Calder’s Mobile (1932) whose work appears to give life to the sculptures themselves. With the subtle but constant movement in his mobile the space is constantly being redefined in response to its environment, the air currents. I like to think that the flies I have created take on a life of their own too and that flies continue to inspire others.
“Three Flies” was written and composed by Anna McAndrew. Recorded with James Sadras 2011. All Rights Reserved.