Thursday, January 13, 2011

Stormy Seas: Classical compositions distilled to clashes and clangs

One of the sound pieces I am working on for my next show features symphonies inspired by the sea/antarctica/ships sinking. This includes Vaughn Williams' Sinfonia Antarctica and Bridge's The Sea: 4. Storm from the early 1900's. Extracting the clashes, blasting horns along with some quieter sections of bass lines and soprano soloists' fluttering voices, I am hoping that the outcome and mixing will mimic Shackleton's ship being crushed by the ice. Bangs! Crashes! And not necessarily in rhythm at times. The Endurance did not get crushed all at once, but rather over a series of days. It was caught on moving film using a kinematograph-camera by the expedition's documenter: F. Hurley, who had gone on previous Antarctic expeditions and was no slouch to danger.

The show will feature a few photographs as well: A cup, a flag, a cliff, a gray. I am trying to utilize some recent Pittsburgh snowy ledges and cliffs that I often see on my commute to work. And the blueness of the winter mornings cast certain shadows and colorations that cannot be captured at other times of the year.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

New Year: New Show: And still lots of work in progress

Welcome 2011. Lots of articles, news, books to catch up on! Lots of work still in progress!

I woke up this morning to find that my show at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts last April has been included into the Pittsburgh Post Gazette's Art & Cultures writer Mary Thomas's 'Best of 2010'. A nice thing to see first thing in the morning!

On another note, I will be showing new work at the Earlville Opera House in Earlville NY from February 26- April 2. The show will feature Chapter 2 in the 5 part installation series I am creating based on Sir Ernest Shackleton's Endurance expedition in the Antarctic. The work culls from two scenes: when 8 Emperor penguins mysteriously appeared as the ship, the Endurance, was sinking into the icy depths leaving the men finally truly abandoned. The penguins dirge-like calls were ones that the men had never heard before. The second scene is when Shackleton and his five chosen men set sail on their 800+ mile open-water journey, leaving the remainder of the crew to fend for themselves on Elephant Island. The drastic view from both the stranded and the journeying-forth is humming with energy: That moment when both are staring at the other, recognizing the other.

I see these two scenes as tipping points for hope + loss. Both scenes possess a deep intimacy with the possibility of forthcoming death. They radiate with the notion of a polar environment swallowing whole and leaving no trace. The moment when the human recognizes an intimacy with Emptiness. And I love how the Emperor penguins with their strange instincts play a part in that for the humans.