Really pleased to announce that a pilot performance of my new performance-installation - [kiss] - is going to take place next Wednesday (November 5th) in the tiny Studio One theatre space at the King’s Arms in Salford. What really makes this exciting is that I am once again working with my now long-time friend and collaborator, violinist Emma Lloyd.
The installation runs for 4 hours (of continuous live performance) between 5 and 9pm. The audience is free to visit/stay/leave as they choose - it would be really wonderful to see some friendly faces along the way. The pub underneath also serves nice beer.
In many ways, my new installation piece - [kiss] - is a kind of distillation and expansion of aspects of my previous piece for Emma, bet denagel [score]. I’ve posted about bet denagel elsewhereon this site but, in summary, that piece works like a ‘London Underground’ map - a network of conjoined modules of music through which the player can travel at will. To give the piece focus, I inserted a 'destination’ module which the performer must traverse the network to reach and perform once (and once only) before exiting the network in as straightforward or convoluted a manner as she deems appropriate.
But I think I can introduce the new installation better than that.
I became struck with the resonance between bet denagel’s structural 'game’ and the things I find interesting about performance artist Marina Abramovic’s Great Wall Walk. Abramovic is not a particular influence on my work per se, but this particular project of hers has always intrigued me.
For those unfamiliar with it, Abramovic created Great Wall Walk as a means of breaking away from her, until then, long-time lover and collaborator, Ulay (Frank Laysiepen). Abramovic walked the complete length of the Great Wall of China, beginning at one end, whilst Ulay did the same feat only beginning at the other. At an non-predetermined point somewhere in the centre, the pair met. They briefly embraced and kissed before continuing along their journeys to opposite ends of the wall. I think its the ephemerality of this single fleeting moment within a so much larger-scale objective that I find so magical. Few people could ever experience the momentary kiss within the walk, so there ideas of intimacy, privilege and gift which all merge together in this work - and I find that absolutely intriguing.
My piece - [kiss] - takes the 'once and once only’ idea embedded within bet denagel’s strucutral framework and amplifies/singularises this conceit into something more closely resembling the monolithic nature and scale of the Abramovic.
[kiss] is made mostly of noises and glitches, often on the edge of audibility. The violin is extremely de-tuned and played with a specially made prepared bow, haired with coarse garden-twine. The instrument is thus radically destabilised; the relationship between the 'notes’ encoded in the score and the sonic surface is rendered tenuous, at best.
The installation lasts from 4-5 hours (of continuous solo performance - an impressive feat from Emma in itself!). Audience members are free to arrive/depart at will.
Once and once only during the performance, at a non-predetermined moment within its rather enormous duration, a passage of music to the absolute contrary [bold/wrought] is inserted. The instrument is momentarily 'freed’ from the distortion of the twine bow and allowed to speak directly. This moment of clarity last less than a minute within the entire work. Either through absence or innocence, most of the audience will miss it.
It would be great to have some of you there to share this new experience with me. Choose your arrival time carefully - maybe you’ll witness the kiss…