Some have called it one of the world's most relaxing, yet exciting sports. Others see fly fishing as an artistic and scientific venture - one they are passionate about.
Such passions have inspired Kenosha-based composer Karel Suchy to create a multi-disciplinary performance piece about the art of angling called "Fly Box." Suchy's mixed-media presentation - which incorporates live original music, photography, video, poetry, textile art and actual fishing flies - will premiere during the Racine Art Museum's Meet Me on the Patio event on Friday, Aug. 12.
"Fly Box" is a very collaborative piece which also features the work of other artists, both local and from Suchy's homeland, the Czech Republic. It's musical compositions, for example, will be performed by Voices & Verses, a local group which features singers from the Choral Arts Society. And its photography is the work of Zdena Sumerauerova, an award-winning nature photographer who lives and works in Prague, Czech Republic. Another Prague artist, Eva Jandikova, has contributed her textile art, which represents insect life stages, to the project.
The overall concept for "Fly Box" was inspired by the book "The Compleat Angler," a philosophical exploration of fly fishing written by Izaak Walton and Charles Cotton, and first published in 1653. One of the most republished pieces of English literature, "The Compleat Angler" is a beautifully written discussion of the art of angling (and how it relates to life) as seen through the eyes of three men - a fisherman, a falconer and a hunter, Suchy explained.
"There is a lot of poetry in the book and I used some of that poetry in the text for ‘Fly Box'," he said.
In addition to its musical and visual art components, the performance will feature choreographed movement in the form of live tying of fishing flies, as well as a display of fishing flies made by Milwaukee-based expert fly fisherman Pat Ehlers.
"The audience will also be invited to participate in the performance on a certain level," Suchy said.
Being able to "erase the line between performers and audience" is something the composer says he enjoys. It is all part of an overall mingling of performers, disciplines and media that is at the center of most of what Suchy creates. The composer, whose other profession/passion is structural engineering, said that "Fly Box" is one of about 12 "crazy projects" currently occupying his mind - all of which he hopes may some day be part of a much bigger project that blurs the lines between art, literature and engineering.
Meanwhile, he is excited to share "Fly Box" with folks at RAM's August Meet Me on the Patio - a public event which takes place once a month during the summer in the museum's outdoor sculpture garden. His music for the piece - which has three movements based on the life cycle stages of a water insect - ties in to the RAM's current "All The Buzz" exhibitions, all of which focus on bug and insect life.
"Fly Box" marks the first multimedia performance to be featured at the patio series, which offers guests beer samples and food, in addition to its entertainment, according to Jessica Zalewski, marketing specialist at RAM. The museum had been looking for ways to expand its Meet Me on the Patio events, Zalewski said, and Suchy's project seemed like a good opportunity to bring other arts into the museum, where the focus is primarily on visual art.
"With this one project, he has brought music, poetry, drama and video to the museum," she said. "It is very different for us and we are excited to have it here."