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 unidentified guest performers
Three different types of flyers (300 copies each and all numbered) are distributed around the city. Each type of flyer is for an event of different name and genre (though happening at the same time and place). Most of them are placed secretly inside magazines and freezines (matching each flyer's design and concept) in bookstores and record stores.
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 a title of a certain book in a certain used bookstore is written (different for each envelope/card). T/he is instructed 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 during the performance. This must never be mentioned to other audience members.
Upon arriving to the venue, each audience is 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 accordingly. The four performers plus the secret guest performers also line up in one of the three locations (with at least one performer in every line). Each group enters the venue at different times (at 2 minute intervals).
movement 1 (18:00)
Lighting is set at medium level. Each performer sits in one of the four instrument stations dispersed within the venue (piano, guitar, bass, and miscellaneous sound devices at the premiere). Performers put headphones on. The pre-text, a track made from remixing pre-existing music, is played from the headphones. The performance of music (production of sound head by the audience) happens in reaction to this audio pre-text. A different graphic score is given to each performer, which instructs: (a) time brackets, (b) parametric constraints regulating each performer's reaction to the pre-text within each time bracket. Performers can never look at any audience or any other performer. A small mobile speaker with wheels is attached to a dog, and a contact microphone to a pigeon. The dog is free to run around the venue but the pigeon is kept inside a bird cage. Their proximity creates feedback. Audience members arriving late have been instructed through the flyer to call the venue and inform how late they will be. These phone conversations are amplified and played out loud during the performance. All sounds are recorded.
movement 2 (18:00)
At the beginning of the movement, one performer shouts at the venue staff to turn all the lights to maximum level. Performers continue to have headphones on but the audio pre-text now changes to the recorded track of movement 1. The performance of music happens in reaction to this audio pre-text. A graphic score for each performer, different from that of movement 1, instructs: (a) time brackets, (b) parametric constraints regulating each performer's reaction within each time bracket. All time brackets are determined by visual cues from events that happen in real-time inside the venue (audience, animals, other performers, guest performance, etc). Performers are thus required to constantly look around for 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 also 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 be executed following both the audio pre-text and the graphic 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 visual score and the audio pre-text 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 (18:00)
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 all the lights off. S/he then takes the pigeon to a nearby park and releases her. When this is accomplished, s/he calls the venue with her cell phone. The sound from this cell phone (catching 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 streets coming in via his/her cell phone. The mixed sound is played throughout the various speakers in the venue. The same performer also switches the combination of the output speakers according to predetermined sequence and time bracket. The remaining two performers put contact microphones on 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 feedback area (which constantly changes according to the switching of speaker combinations); 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 finds oneself at that given moment, make the loudest sound possible 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 outside performer 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 all the lights. One performer goes to the piano and plays a cadenza, to which the rest of the performers bow and the audience members take over the clapping.
Tokyo, 10 June - 14 August 2008