THE EXPANDED BODY – Concert III

This third concert will explore the function of the body in musical performance, with reference both to the bodies of performers and instruments. Experiments will be made with extreme situations of embodiment of technology into the sounding objects (instruments) or into the body of the performers. This could happen in different ways, for example attaching a camera or a pico-projector to a performer’s wrist; or embedding a contact speaker into an instrument, a person (!) or an object, in order to transform it into a resonating body (and being able to make it resonate by itself, like in the piece “Perturbance” by A. Perini, which will be included in the program).

The concert will start with a performer equipped with contact microphones embedded in his/her shoe soles, reaching the concert venue from a specific place; the audience listens to the wireless streaming of the sound in the concert room until the performer opens the door and enters; the correspondence between the sound and the “augmented” performer is then revealed.

The program will also include :

  • “Piece” for trombone and electronics by Kaj Duncan David, a work that makes use of an augmented plunger mute which incorporates a speaker. This way, the plunger acts as a traditional filter for the trombone sound, but also as a sound source (at times filtered by the trombone’s bell).
  • “Mutations” for clarinet with 3D printed reed and tape, by Panayiotis Kokoras, a piece that uses the virtual mean not only to expand the original sound of the instrument but also to modify the instrument in his own body.
  • A new work for two singers, double bass, guitar, piano and flute  by Jonatan Sersam will be premiered that’ll make use of contact microphones and tactile speakers. This equipment will lead to a sort of augmented performer, able not only to produce sounds with his/her expanded limbs (we think for example of contact microphones attached to the performers and the instruments) but also to enlarge the perception of what happens in the concert room thanks to his/her cybernetic ears/eyes. We take as a bibliographical reference the research of Australian artist Stelarc, which had a web-connectable ear implanted in his arm. Through the newly written piece we will make clear that the performer and the expansion of the body have become one, making the equipment used not just a superimposed level of expression (as with instrument+tape foor instance) but a means for experiencing things (sounds, images, movements) in a new way. A preliminary research on the relationship between music and the presence of the performer on stage will be crucial. An idea that is currently being explored is to amplify the vibrations coming from the heads, or the sculls of the singers, and to let these vibrations travel into the piano, more specifcally to the cords. This way, we’ll have a  new set of “vocal cords”, that can resonate in the piano. The vibrations picked up from the heads are strongest when vocalizing con bocca chiusa (with closed mouths). The result will not only expand the singers and the output they produce, but also the piano, which in this way becomes vocalized.  The piece will be presented as a set of shorter movements, based on texts by danish author Inger Christensen. 
  • A new short work by Alessandro Perini for two singers, where the “voice” is produced by speakers inserted into the performers’ mouth and modulated by their lips.

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