Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Trials with paper phonograph horn and stylus

In April I had the opportunity to perform again in the atrium of the Berkeley Art Museum.  With its ramps, cantilevered balconies, concealed stairways, open galleries and uniform diffusion of natural light, it was sad to learn that the Museum will be moving from this amazing Ciampi-designed building.  Knowing this, I wanted to make the performance as much about the building as possible, using its concrete, metal and glass surfaces as a sort of crude phonograph record and the massive volume of the space itself as the resonator.  I've dabbled with the concept of a phonograph horn with an attached stylus before (no more than a rolled paper cone with a large cork and sewing needle attached at the end) but haven't built an entire performance around it.  So....beginning in the very heights of the space, I used the horn/stylus to trace the concrete wall and metal railing that runs along a series of twisting ramps to the floor of the atrium.  I was more than pleased with the amount of volume generated from the horn and the generous acoustics of the space.  Once I reached the end of the ramps, I traded my first horn for a larger one and continued to play the floor and walls of the atrium (which I had prepared with patterns of gaffers tape and small panels of sand paper for generating textural rhythms as I moved the stylus in lines between predetermined points).  I have no video or images from the performance but do have this awkwardly self-made document of some trials with the horn earlier that day.

This performance was part of the Silence exhibition and also featured Jacob Kierkegaard...


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