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2009 November

24 Nov


'A nail, its hammer, and the concrete'

November 24, 2009 | By |

Images from Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival where Sarah Nicolls performed 3 experimental compositions by Michel van der Aa (‘Transit’), Atau Tanaka (‘new work for pianist and sensors’), and Pierre Alexandre Tremblay (‘Un clou, son marteau, et le béton’). I was lucky to be working with Sarah in presenting Pierre Alexandre Tremblay’s composition, and expressing it visually through the use of reactive lighting.

Sarah had originally asked me to change the atmosphere of the space using multiple screens and projections, but this wasn’t possible due to the numbers in the audience. Being restricted to a more traditional audience layout, eventually my thinking turned to how lights would help to make the experience more immersive. I settled on the image of huge icicles, or stalactites that would add an architectural dimension to the lighting, both channelling colour into physical space and then softly radiating light outwards to change the general atmosphere. The 6 giant tracing paper icicles (tracing paper rolls are very cheap and therefore idea for theatre) were hung from 6 LED Par cans, arranged on the periphery of the performance space so the audience would feel encapsulated, but not distracted.

Sarah’s performance used a mixture of sound cues and MaxMSP midi signals which were fed to me from her laptop, and then I brought them into my Isadora patch, which then sent them out to a LanBox and so on to the lights. It allowed for extremely sharp changes in lighting states to occur in an instant as triggered by the MaxMSP patch, meaning that Sarah’s performance was truly linked to the lighting, triggering changes in the atmosphere. This felt fitting as a lot of Sarah’s work is an investigation into the way technology becomes an extension of the pianist in the context performance. The other two pieces performed that afternoon, a film soundtrack, and a sensor-led piece based on electrical signals in the pianists muscles, further developed the theme

14 Nov


A Pansy for Michael Causer

November 14, 2009 | By |

Earlier this year I did some filming for Homotopia (Liverpool’s queer culture festival) and Light Factory (Liverpool’s most prolific documentarians) of an event to mark the death of murdered teenager Michael Causer. Michael was severely beaten in a homophobic attack in August 2008 and died of his injuries eight days later.

This event commemorated the memory of Michael and was part of the Pansy Project, an artwork developed by artist Paul Harfleet. Taking part in the remembereance alongside Michael’s family were representatives from the local council, Homotopia, and the Sigma Team, a specialist division of Merseyside Police setup to deal with Hate Crime.

Michael’s murder was not reported in national press (deemed to be of only ‘regional interest’ by the BBC) until there was an outcry in the gay press. ‘The Invisible Death of Michael Causer’, speaks to leading gay rights activists and media commentators to question why this was the case. The film was shot and edited by Tim Brunsden for Homotopia. Both films were shown last night at the Unity Theatre as part of Homotopia Festival.

11 Nov


A Long Journey (Crackle / Feedback)

November 11, 2009 | By |

The more time has past, the more fond I have grown of this piece, and so finally putting this online. It was amos’ idea, and its power comes from the sincere words and the intense score, but I am pleased with the role of the video in expressing these ideas.

I showed it in Apocalypse at Red Wire in August, and I’ve just submitted it to AV Fest, so fingers crossed. Made as part of ‘The Winter Will Not Last Forever’, a series of soundworks developed by composer Amos on the theme of ‘hope’, and performed at HIVE. This piece is a live stream mix from Isadora and combines video samples from myself and the late great Pete Bamford.

A voice reads out a letter telling of his personal struggle amidst bereavement and addiction. A red glow pulses behind a growing storm of grit and noise. As the storm becomes ever harsher, the glow becomes stronger. The glow and the storm begin to feedback on themselves, becoming enmeshed and amplified towards and inevitable end. Created using simple samples pushed through a state of live video feedback, organically re-incorporated and remixed.

Text by Warwick Ward
Images by Pete Bamford and Sam Meech
Sounds by Amos

03 Nov


Fearful Symmetry

November 3, 2009 | By |

An interview with Angie Hiesl – co-artistic director of ‘TWINS – How do I know I am me?’ – talks about the process of bringing the production to Liverpool.

I spent a day or so watching the rehearsal process in this fantastic space with these surreal symmetries of people and action. It was really great to meet the team and then finally experience the performance, which had a great freedom for the audince to explore and engage and drop out as they pleased.
‘Twins’ was produced by the Bluecoat, and was performed at A-Foundation, Liverpool in July 2009.