Concertos No.1/Aliaj Cirkvitoj/

si me non videas, esse negabis avem (2008)

Conceived by You Nakai

 

Premiere: 14 August 2008, Shibuya Koen-dori Classics, Tokyo

Performed by Yuko Asaoka, Midori Kubota, You Nakai and Hikaru Toho, one dog, one pigeon, and several guest performers

preamble:

 

i

 

Three different types of flyers (300 copies each and all numbered) are distributed around the city. Each type of flyer addresses an event of different name and concept (though happening at the same time and place). Most of them are placed clandestinely inside magazines and freezines (considered adequate for each flyer's design and concept) in bookstores and record stores.

ii

 

There is a call for free tickets on the flyer. To obtain this ticket, the audience must visit a particular location. At this location, the audience receives a sealed envelope with a card inside, on which the name of a certain book in a certain used bookstore is written (they differ for each envelope/card). The instruction is to visit the bookstore, and sneak out the ticket placed inside the specified book. Each ticket comes with a further instruction: to enact a certain task during the performance. The condition for entering free is to present the free ticket at the entrance and to enact the task. The instruction is never to be shown nor mentioned to other audiences.

iii

 

Upon arriving to the venue, the audience are asked which event they came to see.  S/he  is then told to line up in one of the three different locations outside the venue according to the group belongs to. The four performers along with any number of guest performers with free tickets also line up in one of the three locations (there should be at least one performer in every line). Each group enters the venue at different times (at 2 minute intervals).

thesis

(abstract):

 

movement 1 (18 mins)

 

Lighting is at medium level. Each of the four performers sits in one of the four instrument stations dispersed within the venue (piano, guitar, bass, or miscellaneous sound making tools/electronics). Performers put headphones on. The pretext, a track made from remixing preexisting music, is played from the headphone. The music performance (production of sound heard by the audience) occurs in reaction to this pretext. A different graphic score is provided to each performer, instructing: (a) time brackets, (b)  parametric constraints regulating each performer's reaction in each time bracket. Performers are never to look at the audience nor any other performer. A mobile speaker is attached to the dog, and a contact microphone to the pigeon. The dog is free to run around the venue, but the pigeon is kept inside the bird cage. Their proximity creates feedback. All sounds are recorded.

movement 2 (18 mins)

 

At the beginning of this movement, one performer yells at the venue staff to turn all the lights to maximum brightness. Performers continue to have headphones on, but the pretext changes to the recorded track of movement 1. The music performance (production of sound heard by the audience) occurs again, in reaction to the pretext. A score for each performer, different from that of movement 1, instructs: (a) time brackets, (b)  parametric constraints regulating each performer's reaction in each time bracket. All time brackets are designated in the form of visual cues from events that occur inside the venue (audience, animals, other performers, guest performance, etc). Performers are thus required to constantly look around for his/her cues. If a given cue refers to the audience, each performer should only take into account those people pertaining to the group s/he lined up with before entering the venue. Performers switch stations following the cues instructed in the score. In some brackets, actions other than usual performance of music are instructed (e.g., going to the bar and getting a drink, smoking, talking with an audience, etc). These actions are also to follow the pretext and the score. The pigeon is set free. The task of one performer then becomes to re-capture the bird within the temporal confines of the movement (while also following the score/pretext structure and performing music). Feedback is produced between the contact microphone attached to the pigeon and the mobile speaker attached to the dog. All sounds are recorded.

movement 3 (18 mins)

 

Performers take their headphones off. One performer leaves the venue with the re-captured pigeon in the birdcage. As s/he exits, s/he turns off all the lights of the venue. S/he then takes the pigeon to a nearby park and releases her. When this is done, s/he calls the venue with her cell phone. The sound from this cell phone (catching the outside street noise) is amplified inside the venue. S/he stays outside and strolls around the streets, returning to the venue only at the end of the movement. Of the three performers left in the venue, one performer controls the mixer, combining the recorded sound of movement 1 and 2, along with the real time sound of the outside streets coming in via his/her cell phone. The mixed sound is played throughout the various speakers in the venue. The performer switches the combination of the output speakers according to a given time bracket and rule. The remaining two performers put on contact microphones to their bodies so that feedback is produced according to his/her proximity to the activated speakers. These two performers have two tasks: (a). get away from the feed back area (which changes according to the switching of speaker combination), and (b) following a given time bracket (which is based on the performer’s act of counting), and using whatever means in wherever place one is at that given moment, make the loudest sound in the venue at the end of each bracket. The bracket intervals decrease gradually. After a certain point, the sound producing means become limited to clapping, so that both performers start clapping incessantly. The performer outside returns to the venue. A large feedback is produced between his/her cell phone and the venue speakers as s/he enters the space. S/he turns on the lights. One performer goes to the piano and plays a cadenza, to which the rest of the performers bow and the audience take over the clapping.

Tokyo, 10 June - 14 August 2008