The Possibility of an Island
A three-part embodied performance of electronic music based on gestural inter/actions.
"There exists in the midst of life / The possibility of an island" – Michel Houellebecq
On stage the physical presence of the performer presents the only point of focus. No other elements are apparent, thus emphasising the invisible nature of the electronic instruments and opening the perceptual space for physical expression. By deliberately stepping away from traditional ways of playing electronic music instruments through mixing desks, keyboards or mice the affordances of abstract movements for musical performance become apparent. The combination of visible actions and gestures with directly or abstractly linked sounds creates mental images both in the performer and the audience.
"Traces" is a piece for wearable sensors and electronic sounds. The sounds are captured, shaped, displaced and transformed by the interpretation of traces of movements and gestures in a body-centric space. The performer navigates a mental space where the instrument, with its sounds and transformation processes is layed out. One of the goals of the piece is to explore embodied interaction with an abstract musical instrument through empty-handed and open-air hand and arm movements. Movements, actions and gestures are perceived as something akin to a sign-language. The signs and gestures evoke dance, music conducting or even martial arts, yet exist in a domain of their own. The palette of sounds comprises exclusively directly captured breathing and vocal sounds transformed and rendered abstract through a variety of processes related to movements and gestures. (for more information about the instrument see http://luzern.fablab.ch/quarterstaff)
"Elements" is a piece for a new instrument/object called the "Quarterstaff" and electronic synthesis processes. The handheld instrument senses attitude, acceleration, rotation and other physical properties. Its main purpose is to serve as a focal point for actions in relation to the performer's body. The piece "Elements" explores an imaginary gestural language that again recalls martial arts or ritual actions with objects of special significance. The investigation process at the core of this piece deals with mental representation, proprioception and object- or target-oriented actions in an imaginary instrumental practise. The duality between the body and the object generates a peculiar tension that drives the piece.
"tbd" is the last piece of the trilogy and still is in the process of creation. It will deal with the peri-personal space. With the aid of camera-based computer-vision algorithms, the body becomes a cursor in a restrained space, where concrete sounds reside and permit interaction in misterious ways. As a complement to the two preceding pieces this piece focuses on the entire body in its surrounding space. The explored motions, actions and gestures cover a wider dynamic range and expressive potential.