Sheri Wills, associate professor of art, combines film, sound, and digital media in her work, which has been exhibited in venues around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art, the London Film Festival, and the International Film Festival in Rotterdam. This winter she added opera to her expanding résumé.
Actually she’s been working with composers and musicians on multimedia concerts with live video for the past few years.
She met Ofer Ben-Amots, the composer of The Dybbuk Project, a chamber opera, at a festival last summer. They started talking about ways abstract video could enhance the opera’s themes of love, possession, and mysticism.
“The process for creating the video was a real pleasure—a perfect combination of creative freedom and collaboration,” says Wills. “I started working on individual sections before hearing the work as a whole.”
The 90-minute opera premiered in Montreal this January. “There is a 10-minute interlude in the performance that is solely projected video with recorded sound—my moment in the spotlight, so to speak,” the artist says.
Wills took an unpaid leave to work on this project. “Timing is everything. The project wouldn’t wait until I was eligible for another sabbatical,” she says. “I strongly encourage students to take risks with their work and to follow their passions. I’d like to think I set an example for that with my own projects.”