The Score Spaces (2003 -2007) artistic research project explores sound spaces and performances, from intimate to inhabited, collaborative and networked. It includes A Collection of Circles (or Pharology); Light Phase; The Meta-Orchestra; Inside-Out Instrument; Spin. Scores Spaces was developed at the Jan van Eyck Academy, Maastricht with the support of European Funds for Culture, Stichting Intro Maastricht and CCNOA Brussels.
A Collection of Circles (or Pharology)
“Over the last months I have been collecting sounds and video images related to the circular movements of a lighthouse loom. What Virginia Woolf called the “winking eye” has provided me with a form that can be shared between both sound and image and related to human movements. Functioning as a spatial score the pulsating circularity is potentially infinite but not soporific. The invitation to create a sound installation for Earwitness has given me the opportunity to exhibit my collection of circles, as overlapping miniatures, without the layer of video images that made up the recent performance Light Phase. It seems to me a paradox that these circular sounds contain more reference to images in their own right than when displayed with the images that inspired them. I am becoming curious as to the relations between sound and image through subtraction rather than combination or translation. Images shadow the four distinct sonic elements, electronic, instrumental, environmental and vocal. Light sensors allow for subtle transformations of the sounds and can be influenced by visitors. Together these spiralling, folding patterns envelop the visitor while suggesting movement through distance and open space. A Collection of Circles therefore has an alternative title, Pharology, the study of lighthouses.”
performance for video, voice, sound and sensors: Video Dance Festival, International Film Festival Thessaloniki Greece 2005
Light Phase was the first in the Light-House series. As a 30 minute single screen video performance with live sound, I explored the various motions implied by a light-house loom, applied to the camera work, the phasing of the sounds, and the internal motions of the shots. Regularly the camera spins in full circles across horizon lines of city-scapes and sea, and the surface water of both inland rivers and coastal shots. I filmed the material in Bretagne France, Maastricht Netherlands, and Mallorca Spain. The sounds I used were collected on location as well as composed out of instrumental material from the Banda piece and on top of this was my live voice speaking about centrifugal and centripetal forces of rotation which was distorted and transformed by electronics to blend into the fabric of the soundscape. The basis of the transformation between sound and light was two light sensors, placed on the video projection area: with the change in light intensity of the moving images, the sensors would control shifting sound patterns acting as the continual sonic thread throughout the piece.
Collaborative networked performances, Maastricht 2004, Genk 2005
The Meta-Orchestra is a flexible group of performers using electronically extended musical and visual instruments, exploring the relevance of new technologies in extending our perception of unusual places. As a platform for practical research and performance, the M.O. brings together the different working strategies of artists and technologists in a non-hierarchical, non-academic structure. I organised, directed and made the post-production of the two most recent M.O. workshops, Maastricht in 2004 and Genk in 2005. My interest has been incorporating the characteristics of specific spaces; score systems for the group within the collaborative non-hierarchical structure; incorporating a wireless network to enable portable video sound and cameras.
“The acoustics of a reverberant chamber force the sound into a liquid behaviour. If these sounds could be seen travelling through space, leaving from a distinct source and location, dispersing, reverberating, would we understand more clearly what it may be like to set off these resonations? The sound is placed by a musician in the space, it’s set-off, set in motion. The next sound may be set in motion before the other dies, relating each sound to one another through the resonating acoustics of the space. The echoes off one wall compared to another may make the liquid sound interfere, perhaps mix, perhaps separate or curdle. Perhaps we can ferment these sounds in their space, bottle them up and let them mature, so after their process of transformation they become intoxicating…”
Publications on the Meta-Orchestra:
— Meta-Orchestra report 2004
— ‘The Meta-Orchestra: Research by Practice in Group Multi-Disciplinary Electronic Arts’. Journal paper, including video documentation, in: Journal of Organised Sound (special issue collaboration and intermedia), 9/3, (December), Cambridge University Press 2004
— ‘The Building as Instrument’, in Ros Bandt et al. eds. Hearing Places: Sound, Place, Time and Culture Cambridge Scholars Press, 2007
— ‘Inside-Out Instrument’. Journal paper in: Contemporary Music Review, Special Issue Bodily Instruments and Instrumental Bodies, Contemporary Music Review Vol25/1+2, Routledge 2006
“Acknowledging a radical shift in what it is to play an instrument in a technologically expanded environment, this paper explores ideas of a turning inside-out of the traditional body-instrument-space. By treating the instrument as a situation of engagement with a technological environment, rather than as an interaction with a specific object, and by including in this concept of instrument the acoustic, visual and natural context within which it is placed and interacts, the inside-out instrument develops, not as an exoskeleton, but as an exocentric (rather than egocentric) space of interaction. With the increasing fragmentation, miniaturisation and network communication of digital technologies, the instrument that uses these means is distributed, largely invisible and intangible and un-coupled from its apparent source of sound production – the body. Now the body inhabits and navigates through this instrument, instead of holding it, the sound and tangibility of the sound comes from outside, rather than generated from inside the body, and the audience spectator no longer has the focal point of body-instrument-sound but explores as one of the players. It is like a turning inside-out of the intimacy of the musician-instrument into a space inhabited by multiple performers and instruments”.
Yolande Harris composition, sound, video and sensors, Hilary Jeffery trombone. Performed at Intro|In Situ, Maastricht, April 2005 and November 2007
“Audio-visual composer Yolande Harris and trombonist Hilary Jeffery layer circle upon circle of turning sounds. Based on a gift of a twenty meter long unfinished paper score from 1966 from Louis Andriessen, Yolande rethinks the trombone piece ‘Rage, Rage, Against the Dying of the Light’ in terms of physical movement and the fragmentation of space brought about by new technologies.”