Commissioned by CESTA for the 2007 Waste Festival, Tábor, Czech Republic, ’By Product’ incorporates the aural and visual waste products of live performance as the basis of its material – e.g. excess breath sounds, unwanted key noise – the things that get edited out in the recording studio yet characterise live performance. There is also an underlying theme of duality or mirroring in the piece which manifests itself in each of the component parts employed. Musically, this involves the electronic and live parts moving in opposite directions – the live part gradually goes from pitch material to improvised ‘noise’ – the electronics gradually move from noise to pitch. These themes are also reflected in the video parts which act as both performers and staging. The two instrumentalists stand diagonally facing one another and read from scores which are suspended from the ceiling. Facing each performer is a corresponding monitor which plays video footage of the respective performer’s instrument being played - since this is filmed in close-up, it gives the effect of the instruments being living entities. A third video is projected on top of the players, acting as a kind of enhanced stage light. The material is actually footage of the exterior of the performance space focusing on walls and doors that are partitioned into two contrasting colours or textures, again reinforcing the theme of duality. The remaining video elements consist of two laptops which are situated on top of the two monitors. These play sped up footage of the performers’ eye and forehead movements recorded during a practice session. They remain closed for the first half of the piece and, in one final twist are opened one at a time by each player, serving as a score for the improvised section of the piece – the performers are asked to improvise noise material based on the rhythmic movement of the foreheads on screen.
|Publication status||Published (in print/issue) - 27 Aug 2007|