I am a singer-songwriter, a radio artist, a writer. A teacher, an interviewer, a dancer, a cook. Voice is a central theme and instrument for me, an embodiment of the human potential to resonate by interweaving our own harmonies in the world’s existing layers of sound. A much-migrated bricoleur, I am aware of many ways of being and aim to use what the universe presents as responsibly and beautifully as possible.
In my life and work I try to embody the fullness of human potential, drawing equally from reason, intuition, and experience. In this I have been inspired by Morris Berman’s call to re-enchant the world, Jean Houston’s urging for us to reach our full human capacities, and David Abram’s urging for us to renew our connection to ecology and the sensuous world.
As an interdisciplinary artist with an affinity for nonlinearity, I rely less on rules of individual disciplines than on feeling out the gray areas to give voice to that which is less often heard. Often, I use the technique of bricolage, improvising within the limits of what is available. Valuing and transforming existing possibilities in this way aligns with my belief in using our planet’s resources effectively and efficiently, taking only what is required. I believe that bricolage reflects an openness to what the universe presents, and a recognition of human agency as only part of the larger picture. My tendency to intersperse poetry with prose is an example of how I work within the confines of the written word to embrace sensory experience as well as analysis and combine styles that are usually kept separate.
In radio and writing, I straddle the line between art and journalism, seeking to communicate clearly with others but also rooting much of my expression in sensory impression and personal experience. I enjoy asking difficult questions and am always looking to clarify. However, I am not searching for a missing piece to a linear puzzle with a known outcome; I prefer to dig deeper, diving into unknown waters in the hopes of finding treasure.
Juxtaposing multiple perspectives is one way I forge connection with readers and listeners but also challenge them to see their individual viewpoint as only one of many possible ways of looking at the world. Leaving audio and written storytelling somewhat open to interpretation, I feel, allows for a more productive collaboration between artist and audience than straightforward reporting. It is this same possibility-opening balance between rules and freedom, fixity and flow, with which I approach my teaching. In the classroom, I prefer to inspire than instruct, to gaze outward with a wide lens than categorize or pinpoint. It is my hope that imparting in students, like readers and listening audiences, an appreciation of complexity and nuance, will help create more engaged, empathetic members of society.
I see the personal and subjective as richest ground for resonance with others, a lens to the universal. My experiences living in less developed countries on three continents have been influential in my understanding of cultural difference, my own culture, and myself. I consider different ways of life as lenses that help me to see my own culture more clearly and guide my choices for how to live. Travel has given me new understandings through different languages, divergent senses of time, and other, otherwise inaccessible experiences that have guided and continue to serve as inspiration for my work.
No longer bouncing between continents, I now seek to maintain my ability to shift seamlessly between modes of being, crossing boundaries of other kinds than the geographical and bringing the richness of the in-between spaces to light.
— Carla Seidl, December 2013