There’s a very nice feature by Colm McAuliffe in today’s Sight and Sound magazine – thanks Colm!
Many of our more complicated or longer form pieces are first prepared by preparing lists of content from the media that we source from, and then ordering these lists by mood, subject matter, visual similarities, pitch and form. These lists of paper then become the process-led “score” for the piece that follows. Here are some pictures of the score to Consequences (One Thing Leads To Another).
Gesture Piece will be performed by an entirely new set of improvisers at another edition of Tectonics Festival, this time on 8 June 2013 in Tel Aviv at the venue Levontin 7. The performers this time around will be Alex Drool, Assif Tsahar, Robbie Avenaim, Christoph Heemann, Eyvind Kang and Jessika Kenney.
Press release: 2 May 2013
Secret Monsters: 10 fiendish Random Acts
Premiering: Channel 4, Autumn 2013
Animate Projects is pleased to be producing an array of amazing animations for Channel 4’s Random Acts that will provide an insight into the world’s hidden or secret monsters.
The slate considers the pseudo-science of cryptozoology – the search for creatures whose existence remains unproven. Many of these creatures feature in myths, legends and folklore across the globe, and include thunderbirds, the Loch Ness Monster, phantom cats, Bigfoot, colobockle, and the Chupacabra.
Animate has commissioned and acquired works from artists based in Austria, Japan, South America, Spain and the UK that respond to the theme. The artists bring inventive character design, hair-raising stories and a mix of animation techniques, to delight one and all.The artists are: Vicki Bennett, Elizabeth Hobbs, Clemens Kogler, Mandy McIntosh, Jossie Malis, Motomichi Nakamura, Sean Vicary and Atsushi Wada.Animate’s Random Acts will be broadcast on Channel 4, randomacts.channel4.com and animateprojects.org from Autumn 2013.
For more information visit: http://bit.ly/10i44v4
Vicki has been an influential figure in the field of audio visual collage, through her innovative sampling and appropriating of found footage and archives since 1991. In 2006 she was the first artist to be given unrestricted access to the entire BBC Archive. Her work has been shown at Tate Modern, Barbican, Sydney Opera House, Royal Albert Hall, Pompidou Centre in Paris, Maxxi in Rome and Sonar in Barcelona. Vicki is making two films:
We Are Not Amused: Who knows where ideas come from? You or me? Or THEM? The Muses are angry and they want their ideas back! This is a story of thieving and reappropriation, staged on a mythological platform.
The Golem, An Inanimate Matter: The Golem, a monstrous being of inanimate matter from Jewish folklore, is accidentally summoned from a book and wreaks havoc through a public library.
About Random Acts
Random Acts is Channel 4’s short-form arts strand airing five nights a week and online at randomacts.channel4.com; over the course of a year it will showcase 260 specially commissioned three minute films chosen for their bold and original expressions of creativity. Visit http://randomacts.channel4.com/
About Animate Projects
ABOUT GESTURE PIECE
“Gesture Piece” is a 40-minute* film by Vicki Bennett (People Like Us), created using collected found footage from hundreds of different films, where the content conceptually or literally portrays different kinds of “gestures” or “instructions” that can then be interpreted by musicians and artists with unique audio accompaniments. “Gesture Piece” contains edits of the movies/sound from the source films, separated into “sketches” or stories that segue into one another, and it will be the decision of the participants working with this on how they respond to these particular elements. “Gesture Piece” is to be performed live by musicians and artists in concert venues specifically set up for live performance with cinema projection.
The title of “Gesture Piece” is partly self-explanatory, referencing the fact that it is very natural, even primordial for one to creatively respond to visual stimulus in an “improvised” (natural) way rather than all responses being directed, set in stone. Within human communication it is part of our hard circuitry that for instance we use hand gestures to articulate our speech, which is essentially graphically describing/enforcing audio or spoken discourse. Even when spoken language is not present, a whole series of hand and facial gestures are available to us to communicate expressions. By making a film that both contains human gestures (hands, facial, movement) as well as gestures made by natural and mechanical occurrences we are setting up the conditions for a dialogue between the graphical elements on the films and the improvisers, both with the film as well as with each other.
* A 30-minute version of the film is also available.
The film is provided with a “score” (ie a list of instructions to be translated into sound) which consists of some basic instructions and a synopsis listing characteristics of the 9 different sketches featured in the film. The sketches are as follows:
The film is made in 9 sketches with titles that roughly describe the content/concept/theme. The themes move and progress with MANY tangents, although I’ve tried to keep the concept fairly intact and to keep the pace even and flowing. There is intermittent sound throughout, lots of silence too. I hope the sound will be no more surprising than any other person that you are playing with making a sound at a particular time.
There will be no instructions to be found beyond what is in the film, no written score beyond this text. I would suggest watching the piece several times before performing, and to consider swapping player combinations/numbers for different sketches, either spontaneously or pre-determined – either by discussion or drawing straws. Ultimately, whatever the film content suggests is what all should react to. –Vicki Bennett, April 2013
1. A Nod to Previous Players.
Majority of footage sourced from old avant-garde and comedy films featuring people playing cards and chess, also doing things at tables. Very little sound added to the film soundtrack.
2. From A-B.
Transport, trains, cars, carriages and things that move fast. Some typewriting and conducting too. This one is fast and also noisy in places!
Lots of spinning, vertigo, circles and targets. Zooming into eyes. Camera shutters. Not too much incidental sound on the film apart from towards the end with a piano.
4. At Home.
Mainly footage shot in domestic environments – pans through people’s rooms, people eating and chopping food, ringing doorbells, broken appliances and acts of domestic destruction. Reel to reel tape recorders and record players. Fairly quiet, some incidental sounds with a few louder bursts at the end when woman finds a monster in her fridge.
5. Several Directions at Once.
Part 1 A conductor conducts traffic lights and traffic. Incidental sound from traffic, but not conductor’s music. Radio dial turns. Hands waving, pointing and conjuring. Quiet to start with then bursts of sound around the time of the radio dial being turned.
Part 2 Lots of punching, slapping and violence with incidental sound, cut in with a little conducting and hand gestures, bending and stretching. Quite noisy. Ends with car crash and bowing conjuror.
Hand movements signifying quiet/listening. Record player and film leaders flicker black and white. People in the dark with candles, thunder and lightning, lights on and off. Disconnection of power, suspense and fear. Incidental sound of storm. People walking on wooden steps in the dark. Radio tuner and typewriters/printing machines. Quiet incidental sound apart from necessary bursts of weather/explosions.
7. Ups and Downs.
Record players, panning through people’s living rooms. Leisure – card playing and knitting. More panning and record playing. Walking legs/feet through many films. Very quiet. Desert scene, people run down hill making a noise, there follow many scenes from westerns, woman stops train, buzzers pressed, men with bells, all incidental sounds for this section. More walking, people waiting behind doors, quiet, suspense, just footsteps and door handles. Door lock gets shot (very loud) and then follows a lot of scenes of people struggling in train/horse carriages, to the sound of a carriage then train stopping. Ends with car sinking into mud.
8. The Suspense is Killing Me.
Predator/victims leaning over/backing away or trapped. Retaliation, shooting. Walking. Snooker and more predators. Opening of doors to different scary people, hiding. Child making horrible noise with a pencil on chalkboard. Doors and wall banging intercut with silence and suspense, listening at walls. More doors opening and suspense, hiding and running. Screaming and fear, silhouettes with bright lights. Power cuts, darkness intercut with conductor and man stuck in phone booth. More power cuts and screaming, general misery. Sleeping woman, man walks up the stairs away from her, looks around, she looks up. He walks away.
9. Nothing Happens.
Man walks down wooden stairs to men playing cards at a table. Intercut with other people staring at the screen or each other, no one does anything, they are just looking. Walking around wooden flooring, woman slams door, sits in silence, kicks floor and three people faint. LP rolls across floor, car runs over accordion. Birds fly up and down, mixed with dancing swimmers. Man sits and writes at a table, silently turning blank pages from different movies. Lots of panning over paper and big tables, mainly silent, man screams at faceless man. Lots more staring at one another, suspense, waiting. Nothing happens. Door opens to man in fez, everyone screams. More staring and suspense. Still nothing happens. Gust of wind, Harpo plays flute through window and scares all the ladies. More predators with weapons, people run away, roll credits.
(The 30-minute version of the film excludes parts 7 & 9)
Download a pdf of the score here:
LIST OF PERFORMANCES SO FAR
20 April 2013 - Tectonics Festival, Reykjavik, Iceland
Performers: Skúli Sverrisson, Davíð Þór Jónsson, Kristín Þóra Haraldsdóttir, Hlynur Aðils.
8 June 2013 – Tectonics Festival, Tel Aviv, Israel
Performers: Alex Drool, Assif Tsahar, Robbie Avenaim, Christoph Heemann, Eyvind Kang and Jessika Kenney.
10 June 2013 – Uganda, Jerusalem, Israel
Performers: Eyvind Kang, Jessika Kenney, Robbie Avenaim, Christoph Heemann and special guests.
HISTORY OF GESTURE AND CARD-BASED WORKS
There is a tradition in experimental music of musicians responding to graphic scores and non-conductor-led direction. John Cage wrote scores that both directed the performer on what elements/structures needed to be used/responded to, but at the same time introduced chance elements based around personal interpretation and the use of random prediction techniques like the iChing. In the past 25 years some contemporary artist-composers have used prompts as guidelines for musical interpretations, following John Cage’s tradition.
Examples of alternative methods of conducting:
John Oswald “Rien Ne Va Plus” uses a roulette and coloured cards to prompt an orchestra to play certain tunes. Christian Marclay’s “Shuffle” uses a pack of cards containing his own photographs of various depictions of musical scores which improvising musicians then respond to live. In Marclay’s “Zoom Zoom”, the performer interprets his projected images of everyday objects with graphics contained within them. John Zorn index card/file-card composition pieces include “Cobra” and “The Big Gundown”: combining composition and improvisation in which Zorn would write down a description of what he wanted on file-cards and arrange them to form the piece. Zorn compiled his various thoughts regarding his subject on index cards, and then arranged those into a working roadmap for his band of improvisers. He described the process in 2003: “I write in moments, in disparate sound blocks, so I find it convenient to store these events on filing cards so they can be sorted and ordered with minimum effort. Pacing is essential. If you move too fast, people tend to stop hearing the individual moments as complete in themselves and more as elements of a sort of cloud effect…”.
Gesture Piece was commissioned by Pixel Palace at Tyneside Cinema (Newcastle upon Tyne, UK) and is supported by Arts Council England.
DO or DIY will be doing a fill-in radio show between 7pm and 8pm NY time on 1st May on WFMU!
Tune in live at http://wfmu.org or at 91.1 fm in New York, at 90.1 fm in the Hudson Valley.
Alternatively if you miss the show live you can find the show archive at http://wfmu.org/peoplelikeus – it will also download automatically if you are subscribed to the DO or DIY podcast.
18-20 April 2013
TECTONICS FESTIVAL, Reykjavik
Curated by Ilan Volkov, Tectonics brings together musicians from different worlds and backgrounds for an audience that’s open and ready for new experiences and surprises. The festival will include young composers and pioneering figures, chamber music, orchestral music and electronic performances.
People Like Us are currently creating a new work entitled GESTURE PIECE, which will premiere at Tectonics Festival in Reykjavik. This is a film created for accompaniment by live improv musicians, who in this case will be the following performers: Skúli Sverrisson, Davíð Þór Jónsson, Kristín Þóra Haraldsdóttir, Hlynur Aðils.
Earlier that same evening, People Like Us will perform CONSEQUENCES (ONE THING LEADS TO ANOTHER).