Pavel and Gideon’s Collaboration Journal

Pavel and Gideon were both glad to be connected as a part of the HiH CollabArts Project given their shared Princeton major: (astro)physics (Pavel is a “recent” alumnus [PHY ‘15] and Gideon is an incoming junior [AST ‘22]). However, this project was more focused on art.

Pavel suggested a theme he has been slowly working on since December of last year (since the pre-pandemic era), building a shared space around the idea of giving and incorporating elements of Effective Altruism to turn the act of individual philanthropy into a collective endeavor. Together, they decided to make a short promotional video about this topic for Pavel to use with his upcoming project. With their idea and medium in mind, Pavel decided to look more into the video content, while Gideon decided to start making music to accompany the video.

Over the past few weeks, Pavel created an outline for the video focusing on the mindset of scarcity and how we can overcome this obstacle to collectively do the most good in society. Below is a two-slide outline of his envisioned structure for the clip; please let us know what you think of these ideas [Side note: the link he had created back in January to collect people’s responses on causes dear to them is feel free to submit your cause area there!]. We would like the video to incorporate something people can relate to on a personal level, and not something too abstract and technical.

Slide1 – Problem
Slide2 – Solution

For context on some of the terms used above, here is Princeton Professor Peter Singer’s TED talk about Effective Altruism, and here is a TED talk by renowned philosopher Rutger Bregman introducing the concept of UBI through a description of the root causes of poverty and, in particular, the mindset of scarcity. 

While Pavel was creating content for the clip’s message, Gideon started coming up with themes and ideas for the music that would accompany the video. He had to create a piece of music that started off somber, but built to something more hopeful and bright. With this in mind, he created various “happy” and “sad” themes to work into the video. Below is a sample of one of the themes he created which starts out somber but grows into something brighter. Please give it a listen and let us know what you think. We want our project to be appealing to a wide audience; any tips and/or constructive criticisms are welcome.

Thank you for reading about our project in this forum post, and we hope you are as excited about seeing the final result as we are. Good luck to the other groups in finishing their projects and we hope to hear your feedback soon!

Very Best,

Pavel & Gideon

Haitian + Jacqueline’s Collaboration Journal

We started with random random questions for each other to answer, from favorite candle scents to thoughts on memory and forgetting. Eventually what we landed on was our state of mind during the COVID-19 pandemic. Haitian started to talk about her experience of living in a rented apartment and hearing sounds from her neighbor through the thin wall. We then had the idea of the song being about the protagonist’s observation of their neighbor’s everyday life: waking up, leaving for work, the little dog who’s left behind in an empty room, door opening and closing, footsteps, and “my” identification with this little company……

But then we thought it might be too creepy intervening private space although it’s without any intention. We retrieved back and focused on the idea of missing someone’s presence in our everyday lives before the pandemic. Jacqueline started sharing a couple of songs that also dwelled upon the vibe of “everyday life”–such as Jung seung hwan’s Timeline, and Bruno Major’s Nothing.

We listed the things we miss that we took for granted: crowded metro, studying at library or cafe with friends, late night/early morning walks, hugs, high fives, going to the movies, picnic, and simply talking person-to-person.

After a couple of brainstorming meetings on theme, we decided to embark on our own lyric writing. It was a long process finding the right words and imagery for the lyrics. Lyric-writing took the longest portion of our collaboration so far.

Brainstorming Ideas and Finding Rhymes
Phrases that we liked but not sure how to put it in a song

As we explored the lyrics together, Jacqueline embarked on composing the music/melody for the song. We discussed a couple of styles and the kind of atmosphere we wanted the music to be: maybe a combination of melancholy and hope, stagnation in solitude and the faith in sharing an experience, memory, and time. In our text messages to each other, Haitian shared Lee Juck’s The Things We Took for Granted, and Jacqueline shared Lee Jin-ah and Onew’s Starry Night. We thought we would go with the kind of vibe similar to these two songs, and here is a sample of Jacqueline’s composition : )

Short Snippet of First draft of the song

Fine-polishing our words and fitting them into the right rhythm, we finished our lyrics.

It is amazing how our storyline and setting scenes shifted as we moved from one draft to another. 😀

Now we are working on the music video. Just like how we shared our favorite songs, we shared our favorite music videos. We naturally agreed on doing stop motion/drawings with simple lines. Google slides were really helpful in collecting our ideas, inspirations, and references together.

With a vague sense in mind what style we agreed upon, we each drew a sketch. Haitian drew the first verse and Jacqueline did the second verse.

Haitian’s Sketch – “Stuck in the night, lost in the moments we shared”
Haitian’s Sketch – “You’d walk me home, I’d wish this street never ends”
Haitian’s Sketch – “Running to catch the train, from our endless chats”
Haitian’s Sketch – “Your words still linger in my ear”

Meanwhile… Jacqueline’s sketches are very simple… haha

Jacqueline’s Sketch – “Rain pouring down”
Jacqueline’s Sketch – “Echoing my empty heart”
Jacqueline’s Sketch – “Who else is around,”
Jacqueline’s Sketch – “Watching the sky without stars?”
Jacqueline’s Sketch – “Searching for a stream of”
Jacqueline’s Sketch – “moonlight in the dark”
Jacqueline’s Sketch – “I am on my way to you”
Jacqueline’s Sketch

When we met up again, we thought about combining both our styles, meeting somewhere between detailed drawings and simple lines. Jacqueline went on working on more music while Haitian continue experimenting on drawings.

This collection of drawings for the line “You’d walk me home, I’d wish this road never ends” has its inspiration from “After a tiring day passes, underneath the moonlight, two people become one shadow,” a line from Sung Si Kyung’s Two People. We had wanted to adapt it to our own lyrics but faced constraints with the rhythm, so we decided to still include it somehow in our music video sketches.

We are continuing to work on finalizing the music and music video. Moving forward, our title is not yet decided. We would love to hear your input on how you think.

Thanks for reading!

Written by Haitian and Jacqueline :^)

Call for creative thinkers and makers!

Call for creative thinkers and makers! Form here:

Apply to be a creative collaborator with Humans in Harmony! This is a process and space to connect with others, and to create and share musical or other creative collaborative projects. The aim is to engage in mutual learning and discovery with one another, and to jointly create our stories and possibilities together. Even if you are new to songwriting, creative writing, visual arts, or other creative arts, we encourage you to co-create with us. We believe that everyone is an artist and every person has a story to tell.

How it works: This summer, we’ll pair you with another collaborative artist and walk you through the process of creating a virtual project together (a 4-week creative process). We’ll launch a fundraising campaign to share works in furthering aims of social connection and community, and publish all creative works on our website or through Spotify/Apple Music. The collective projects will all be a part of an album and online portfolio under a central theme based on the works created.

We invite you to apply by July 1st and join us! We look forward to hearing your stories.