In the path of self-development, we are trying to move constantly forward. Sometimes we try to push so hard forward that we get disconnected from the origin of our desires. Just the word “progress” implies a forward movement. Nevertheless, is there a way of progression in another direction? Can we progress backwards?
Last Monday I was doing some “Julian Sarmiento” search in YouTube (Yes, it’s nice to google or search yourself in YouTube), and I came across a relatively old But What About video. It was the live version of Cheating, Lying, Stealing by David Lang (see the video above). We did this performance around 2016. The same year we won the Grote Kamermusiekprijs in Rotterdam, performing the same piece. The big bang of BWA so to speak.
I decided to watch the video because I was curious about how we were sounding then. At the beginning, I realized how different we looked. How young and skinny some of us were and how different our hair looks (I’m speaking about me, not you Vincent). However, slowly I started to reflect in how we were different inside. We were also young in mind. Young in the romantic sense: believing everything was possible and how with hard work and discipline we will reach the Olympus. Also young from an artistic perspective: exploring every corner of conceptual possibility and allowing ourselves to dream of huge endeavors.
The music also sounded like this. Energetic, full of conviction and at the same time following the steps of our heroes. I can see, already at this point, that we wanted to be a different ensemble. Unique. The musical quality is there obviously. However, what brings out this little smile on my face is hearing and seeing how convinced we were that we were doing the right thing.
That brings me back to the question I stated before. Can we progress backwards? The obvious answer is no. Time is a one directional dimension. However, those of us with some years, scars and battles in our backs, we can all recognize how often evolution occurs tied to a re-connection with our identity. Like a satellite that advances in an elliptical shape, our progress continues orbiting around our most deeply rooted characteristics.
With BWA we will continue to move forward, as we have been doing since then. Like Confucius said: “Study the past if you would divine the future”. Every now and then, it is a positive journey to look back and reconnect with those energetic and powerful dreams and thoughts. Those drivers that fill your heart and muscles with very worm blood and your mind with pointy questions that need to be answered.