Thursday, 26 November 2009

"Will she ever come out? Or are we to be here forever?"

I had to complete a major Composition 3 with Kynan Robinson assignment for uni this semester, and here's what I did.

It was based around the concepts of aleatory, tone rows, indeterminacy and text based composition. I'm a big fan of John Cage, and I find calculated aleatory and human reaction/interaction absolutely fascinating.

I drew quite a lot of inspiration from a video of John Cage performing Water Walk in 1960 on TV show "I've Got A Secret."

I haven't really told anyone what the piece was about (for me), as I'm a big believer in the concept that once an artwork leaves an artists hands, it no longer belongs to the artist, but the viewer/receiver. I've had so many people tell me their own interpretations of this piece, and almost all of them are completely different. Which tells me that the piece is a success.

I've included the master score behind the break. Hit "read more" if you'd like to see it. (This is the score my lecturer was given. Each performer received their own individual scores, and none of them knew what each other was to be doing).

Feel free to leave your responses, I'd love to hear them.



Will she ever come out? Or are we to be here forever?

Each performer will be given a list of instructions that will function as their score. Each performer will be completely unaware of what the other performer's instructions are. This is vital for the piece to be successful. Each performer will have instructions that the piece is deadly serious, and they are not permitted to laugh at all.

Performer 1 will walk onto the stage, walk up to the microphone and begin reading from a text. The text is an excerpt of Anton Artaud's To Have Done With the Judgement of God, rearranged (or cut up) completely randomly. The performer has instructions that they may not, under any circumstances, look any direction other than straight ahead, or at the text.

Performer 2 comes onto the stage exactly one minute after Performer 1 begins to speak, and begins tapping a prewritten rhythm on an empty glass. The rhythm is written according to a tone row based around the aforementioned "cut up" text, where each number is equal to a semi-quaver.

Performer 3 will come on stage fourty-five seconds after Performer 2 has come on stage. Performer 3 will straight away take a record from the pile next to the turntable and place it on the turntable, and play it from a random starting point. The record will be allowed to play for an amount of time specified on their instructions. After that period is up, the record will be replaced with another one, and the process will be repeated until the last record. The time value for each record playing is devised from the same tone row used earlier. The records are taken randomly from the local Vinnie's, the morning of the performance, and selected from the rack according to the tone row (i.e. skip 2 records, take one, skip 7 records, take 1, skip 4 records, take one etc etc). The last record will be allowed to play out, but in reverse from the beginning.

When Performer 2 has finished performing on the glass, they will put the glass down, walk to the electric guitar which is sitting on a stand, turn up the volume so it begins to feed back, then take two paces back. There will be a bucket containing tennis balls sitting on the ground. The performer will begin to take one tennis ball at a time, and throw it at the guitar, causing the feedback and sound to change. At the last ball, the guitar is then left feeding back.

When Performer 2 has run out of tennis balls, and Performer 3 has run out of records, the two performers will cross the stage to stand facing each other behind performer 1. When they are both there, they will then walk so each of them are standing facing Performer 1 (one on each side). They will stand facing Performer 1 for ten seconds, after which they will begin to scream as long and loud as they can at Performer 1.


Performer 2 and Performer 3 will continue screaming.

After they have been screaming for thirty seconds, Performer 4 will come walking up from the audience with a guitar case. Performer 4 will place the case down, open it up, take the guitar out, and smash it on the stage in front of Performers 1, 2 and 3. After Performer 4 has finished smashing the guitar, they then turn to the audience and exclaim "THIS IS THE CONCLUSION OF THE PERFORMANCE!".

This is the end of the piece.

5, 11, 10, 8, 9, 4, 1, 2, 12, 6, 3, 7

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