Michael Stipe Is Working on a Photographic Memoir
Even though he has said he wants to "work in music again," former R.E.M. singer Michael Stipe has a different artistic project that is also taking up his time. He's in the process of producing a book in which he tells his story via his own photographs.
"One of the things I’m working on now, with Jonathan Berger, is a book that will come out later this year. It’s the first in a series of books I’m releasing," he told the Creative Independent. "This one focuses on my timeline, on the work I’ve done all along, all through the band and back to my early 20s. It’s all photo-based, but some of it’s just documentation of things I’m obsessed with and that I focus on to make new pieces from. There are also certain things I’ll take, recontextualize, and present as something completely different."
Stipe added that he got into photography when he was in his early teens, when he took a course in it, and his love of the art form continued throughout his life. "I’ve taken pictures my whole life," he said. "It was always a kind of diaristic thing. I shot the things that I saw that were interesting to me, but it eventually became more and more surreal as my life became more and more incredible. I had these really amazing experiences and relationships, and I’d find myself in these very odd places. I just happened to have taken pictures the whole time."
He also gave an update on what he's doing with electronic duo Fischerspooner. "I’m working as a producer, but also as a co-writer," he added. "So the lyrics aren’t mine, the arrangements aren’t mine, and the ideas aren’t mine—they’re a combination of several different people. Sometimes it’s my creative voice, but it’s run through someone else. That for me is really interesting."
As we await more details on those endeavors, Stipe has two other projects in the works, His first solo composition will premiere at Moogfest 2017, a "synthesis of music, art and technology" named after synthesizer pioneer Robert Moog, in Durham, N.C. in May. He's written the score for "a compilation of video footage he has shot over the years in New York City that explores desire and movement." Stipe and Berger are collaborating on 18 pieces of music that will be played by a bell tower on the High Line, an elevated public park in Manhattan.
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