Anastasia Clarke

sonic arts, composition & performance

surrounding the dragon


Recorded Fall 2014-Winter 2015
Released on Valerian Recordings 002 (as Silent Isle): November 2015
Composed, performed, and recorded by Anastasia Clarke

During the process of generating the work featured on this EP, I came down with shingles. I learned that shingles is caused by the varicella virus, which first enters the body and manifests as chicken pox. The virus never leaves the body, but is stored in the spine. Later on, it can take advantage of a weakened immune system, manifesting as shingles.

Surrounding the Dragon refers to the needling technique used by my acupuncturist to curb the spread of shingles as it unfurled outward from my lower thoracic vertebrae. Likening the path of the virus to the body of a “dragon,” she needled around the patches of vesicles on my skin, starting from the dragon’s “head” (the patch farthest from the virus's spinal origin, on my stomach), and working back to its “tail” (the patch nearest to the spine). The technique offered a useful metaphor for addressing systemic issues not only on the level of the body, but on the levels of mind and culture; suggesting that perhaps, by applying a series of gentle tactical measures where it counts, one can avoid conducting a comprehensive wipeout at the expense of other resources.