EXPERIMENTS, PROVOCATIONS, REHEARSALS, INSTALLATION & PERFORMANCE
1st Provocation - Earth's Song to the Moon
Earth is a natural source of radio waves, which surround us all the time. Although most of these waves are in the acoustic frequency range, they are not audible by humans. Radio waves can be detected by our ears if we convert them to sound waves, by using a very low frequency (VLF) receiver.
Many of the sounds used in this pieces have been captured from Earth’s atmosphere, ionosphere and magnetosphere in this way.
How these waves sound, when played through an audio system, defines their name: sferics, tweeks, whistlers, chorus, and hiss. We also call them “Earth Songs”.
This piece is an imaginary audio journey from the earth, where there is a proliferation of radio waves, to the dark side of the moon where radio waves are almost non-existent.
For me, creating the work with my colleagues, performing it and making this film has embodied the dichotomy between the poetry, romance, imagination, dreams and beauty associated with the moon, and the harsh reality of what we are doing to the moon, our beautiful planet and beyond into space.
Since the arrival of COVID 19, borders have closed and movement between countries, families and friends has been restricted. Undeterred, UK based collaborators Anna Braithwaite, Luke Birch and Helen Lindon have partnered with two dance artists in Canada Daisy Thompson and Olivia C. Davies, to explore the new possibilities the pandemic offers performance artists. They are repurposing communication technologies such as Zoom and Instagram alongside old technologies like letter-writing to make new improvised performance works together, simultaneously, thousands of miles apart.
The group draw upon a mixed cultural heritage: Anishinaabe, French-Canadian, Finnish, Welsh, English, Roma, Argentinian and Irish. To bring together these disparate influences, they have chosen the universal symbol of the moon, around whose cycles they are structuring creative rituals to fill the spaces left by the pandemic in their usual practice. ‘Provocations’ are offered by each participant at significant times in the lunar cycle. They then document their own improvised responses and perform live group improvisations online at each full moon. The provocations and improvised responses have so far taken the shape of a piece of visual art, a filmed performance, audio files, a spoken dance score, a film of improvised movement, free writing, an article from a journal and an art film. The provocations and responses will contribute to a project archive housed on the MOONSEED website/Instagram for access by a wider public.
With themes of ritual, moon worship, natural cycles and growth, the group began a process of ‘rewilding’ the internet, swapping its algorithms for circadian rhythms.
THE NATURE OF OUR COLLABORATION
Collaboration between multi disciplined independent artists means for us all, ‘starting from a different place’ from our normal practice, generosity in sharing the best of ourselves, and keeping hearts and minds open to every possibility. It starts, maybe, with a found sound rather than a musical score, which creates a chain reaction. For instance, Anna (composer) sent a recording to Daisy (dancer) who reacted by making on her phone, a close up film of her mouth distorting to the sound. Helen (visual artist) was reminded of Beckett’s ‘Not I’ play, and created a circular mask for the film which she then projected onto a suspended sphere. Our ‘distressed talking planet’, became part of the installation. In the live performances, Anna then improvised sounds alongside this planet and other symbolic elements, including film projections on to screens, walls and fabric in the spaces. The Canadian dancers joined us on projected screens and Luke responded to both sound and dance and that in turn affected the sounds being created, while a body art painting also took place
We encouraged our audience to move around and feel immersed in our imaginative space. There were many ‘provocations and reactions’ over the months, which became a rich resource for our installations and performances, and the installations themselves provided a platform for sound, dance and light improvisation for The Moonseed Collective and for other performers in Fort Amherst.
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