The first performance of Structural Cohesion, a new vocal/choral work, will take place at Concertgebouw Brugge, Belgium in association with the Orpheus Institute, Ghent and the Royal Conservatoire Antwerp.
The work investigates various forms of rhetorical expression in relation to language, architecture and music. What, for instance, is the relation between ethos and rhetoric in today’s political campaigning? How do architects design buildings that enable focussed listening and yet remain connected to the outside world of everyday life? And in music, what was the role of rhetorical expressivity in the development of opera in the sixteenth century?
The performance will be realized in two parts during the evening of Thursday 21 November and take place across the public spaces of Concertgebouw Brugge. Vocalists, Maribeth Diggle and Natasha Lohan will perform the principal roles, accompanied by a chorus of specially trained students from the Royal Conservatoire Antwerp. image: N.G. Brown.
I’ll be playing (monochord/electronics) at Project Arts Centre this Saturday (6 July) with David Lacey (percussion) and Nick Roth (saxophone). Our trio will feature in the inaugural Sound Collector event. Sound Collector is a series of events in Dublin which explore the spaces between music, installation, improvisation, sound, and noise.
I’ve recently revised my monochord rig so that it is built around Pure Data running on a Beaglebone Black with a Bela cape. I’m very excited about the possibilities of Bela, with its super low latency. I think it makes playing an electronically mediated instrument much more like playing an acoustic instrument: the reduction in latency values really does make a difference. Read more about Bela here.
My 2017 interactive sound installation, Chit-chat, which transforms a vocalization into a bird call is on show at the Scenkonstmuseet, Stockholm February 26- August 18, 2019. It forms part of Science Gallery Dublin’s group exhibition, Sound Check, which is currently on tour.
More information about Chit-chat here
My new installation, The Undulatory Theory of Light, which uses sound to create water waves according to changes in the colour temperature of daylight, was presented at Turner Contemporary, Margate on 2 June, 2018. The work formed part of an annual, sonic art festival, OSCILLATE, hosted by Turner Contemporary. The show also featured special contributions from my colleagues at the Orpheus Institute, Ghent (Jonathan Impett, Nicolas Collins, Simon Waters, Juan Parra, Daniela Fantechi) alongside performances by Leafcutter John, Elaine Mitchener, Evan Parker and others.
The installation ran for the duration of the event. I also gave a short, four-channel performance, feeding the signal from the RGB sensor to the speakers, in tandem with the sound from the vibrating water tank.
Click here for more information about The Undulatory Theory of Light on the project webpage.
While assembling documentation of Alvin Lucier’s work for my sound art class at TCD, I found this ICE performance on Vimeo of Alvin Lucier’s Opera with Objects. There are a number of performances of Opera online. But it seems to me that this one engages something of the work that others miss.
For a start, it’s performed outdoors. The sight of floating ice, to the right of the frame, fossilizes the algid ‘snap’ of the chopsticks. The visuality of the performance renders the sound osseous and frail. This is canny because it necessitates some form of resonant amplification for the beating. The mise en scène validates the purpose of those objects. Cold, bone-like sound needs plenty of volume.
But what interests me even more about this video is the particulate nature of the group’s performance: 1; 1+1; 1 + (1+1) etc. Lucier’s piece is a meditation on physical contiguity in the production of sound: the possibility of one vibrating object exploiting the resonant properties of another. The quality of that amplification is a function of the object’s nature. Opera with Objects is also an ensemble piece. At 03:10, there are eleven players. One enters, two rise, then three, four, five. Some players move around. Two kneel, to connect with certain objects. Another player enters. So what we see is a series of configurations of individuals. With each new grouping, a new configuration (i.e. connection: network, even) is formed. And so we get these parallel situations: chopsticks + object; (player + chopstick) * M + same * N. The connection inheres through the performance situation as it does through the contiguity of objects.
I’d like the camera to come off grip and get right in with the performers – to step across the line. It seems to me the wide shot (and occasional close-up) are rather passive, treating the action as if it were a concert on stage, in a hall. I wonder what it would be like to get the reverse shot – to get right in amongst the performers, break up the ensemble and bring out those configurations.
Even so, this is amongst the best of the Opera performances/documentation I’ve come across so far.