Click "play" to watch videos of ImproviStory performances!
"Victor's multimedia work, "The American Way", was a raw glimpse into the soul of a nation that has struggled with racial inequality. His multi-dimensional musical and artistic talents were on full display throughout the performance and, partnered with Monte Meoleaeke Jones' dance, offered a poignant perspective on the tribulations of the African American in our country."
David Kauffman, Senior Manager
Performing & Visual Arts Magnet Program
Anne Arundel County Public Schools
What IS ImproviStory?:
ImproviStory™ is an improvisational, sound-driven, multidisciplinary performance concept. Musician and sound artist Victor Haskins single-handedly constructs intricate improvised soundscapes using live sampling pedals, custom-designed sounds, and a wild imagination. He combines elements of music from different world cultures (African, Latin, Arabic, Indian) with ideas and sounds from disparate genres (hip hop, jazz, rock, noise, classical) to create a never-before-heard sonic event in each and every performance. The effect: the audience teleports to another world on the magical wings of Victor’s ImproviStories (improvised stories)!
The soundscapes provide a cinematic soundtrack to our imaginations. Sometimes, other artistic mediums (including film, lighting, staging, narrative, poetry, dance, etc.) are interwoven in combination with the soundscapes. The result is an immersive and emotional experience for the senses.
ImproviStory performances include an after-performance talkback with the audience to answer questions, discuss themes, and investigate artistic choices and processes.
In October of 2018, Haskins conceptualized and led a performance called Social Medium, which explored some concepts and ideas from John Powell's book, Why Am I Afraid to Tell You Who I Am?, through improvised dance (by [Monte] Meoleaeke A. Jones and William Sterling Walker) and improvised sound (video available below).
In the July/August of 2019, Haskins was commissioned by the Anne Arundel County Public Schools (AACPS) Performing & Visual Arts Magnet Program to create a multidisciplinary presentation for their teacher professional development in August of 2019. His creation, entitled The American Way, examines lynching of African-Americans in post-Civil War America in relation to killings of African-Americans at the hands of police in the modern era. This project was a mix of improvised sound, improvised dance by (Monte) Meoleaeke A. Jones, video, staging, and theater.
In November 2019, Haskins was invited to present a work at 1708 Gallery’s large-scale, juried art exhibition called InLight. InLight 2019 was hosted in Chimborazo Park in Richmond, VA. Haskins devised a multidisciplinary project called Chimborazo, in Every Sense of the Name (1865-1866). This is an exploration of the (true) story of Chimborazo as a refugee camp for newly freed African-Americans in 1865, and the conditions which precipitated its demise in 1866. This project involved improvised sound, improvised dance (Monte) Meoleaeke A. Jones, and video, along with voice-over readings of the historical documents upon which the story is based.
In August of 2020, Victor and ImproviStory debuted a piece called Be/Flow which explores the relationship between visual imagery (drone and first-person action videography), improvised sound, and improvised movement (by Kevin LaMarr Jones and [Monte] Meoleaeke A. Jones) in the context of creating a suggested, cohesive narrative form. This performance was made possible by funding by the Richmond CultureWorks Grant Program. Additionally, thanks to 1708 Gallery for the use of their space in producing the performance during this very difficult and strange time of the pandemic, COVID-19.
Most recently, The American Way (Hindsight is 2020) was commissioned by 1708 Gallery for their large-scale art installation, Inlight 2020. Haskins reconfigured and adapted the original The American Way project to include contemporary stories from 2020, and this iteration of the performance featured three improvising movement collaborators: (Monte) Meoleaeke A. Jones, Kevin LaMarr Jones, and Christine Catherine Wyatt.