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transnational ecologies 1: sounds travel

a realisation of Alvin Lucier's quasimodo the great lover (1970) by
laura cameron / matt rogalsky, with the collaboration of sites worldwide !!!
thursday may 10, 2007 3pm – thursday may 10, 2007 4pm
sites worldwide

AUDIO STREAM ACTIVE MAY 10: giss.tv:8000/transnational.mp3
(please check our website at www.mrogalsky.net/transnational
for any last-minute changes in the stream URL)
midway streams/listeningpoints:

Alvin Lucier’s 1970 composition Quasimodo the Great Lover engages with bioacoustics, particularly the sounds of the humpback whale, and its ability to communicate great distances underwater. Lucier's poetic text score is “for any person who wishes to send sounds over long distances through air, water, ice, metal, stone, or any other sound-carrying medium, using the sounds to capture and carry to listeners far away the acoustic characteristics of the environments through which they travel.”

The score describes how a realisation of the piece may be made, giving wide scope for individual interpretation. At the core of the piece is the idea that a live performance is made using “one or more microphone-amplifier-loudspeaker systems to lengthen the distance over which the sounds may be sent.” For any number of widely separated spaces, sound is transmitted from one space to the next. Lucier describes, for instance, using “the spaces of a three-story American high school … connected by a four-stage system in which the performer’s first stage is placed as far from the listeners’ last stage as possible and in which the microphone-amplifiers of each stage are placed as far as possible from their respective loudspeakers.”

In this way, the sounds which are transmitted acquire the acoustic colouration of each space through which they pass—an effect which Lucier explored beautifully in his I am sitting in a room (1969) (a link to the first release on vinyl of this piece, as well as a radio documentary about Lucier, may be found at www.ubu.com) . In our realisation, sounds are passed from site to site via internet audio streams. The streaming URL above allows the public to listen in to the end of the chain.

Lucier describes that “the music of the humpback whale, Megaptera novaeangliae of the family Baleanopteridae” is to be used as a model for composition of “a repertory of simple sound events such as single pitches of short or long duration, simultaneities of various densities, upward and downward sweeps, and sounds with different envelope shapes … accelerating or decelerating pulse trains, upward sweeps followed by tones of short duration, or motives seemingly modal in character.” In our performance we approach the character of whalesong through the electronic manipulation of birdsong, in a nod to another layer of biocommunication, referencing the migratory habits of bird species which, like whales, travel great distances without regard for borders (thus the title Transnational Ecologies).

more information: www.mrogalsky.net/transnational

Collaborating sites:
Institute of Geography, University of Edinburgh, Scotland
Eric Laurier • Nina Morris
Live performance by Laura Cameron / Matt Rogalsky

Department of Geographical and Earth Sciences / School of Music, University of Glasgow, Scotland
Hayden Lorimer • Rhian Thomas • Martin Dixon

Electroacoustic Music Studios/School of Music, University of East Anglia, Norwich England
Simon Waters • Jason Dixon

The Music Centre, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield England
Dan Halford • Rob Godman

Music, Technology and Innovation Research Centre, De Montfort University, Leicester England
Lorenzo Picinali

Okno/So-on, Brussels Belgium
Guy De Bièvre • Annemie Maes

School of Music, Queen's University, Kingston Canada
Kristi Allik • Mike Cassells

Music Department, Wesleyan University, Middletown CT USA
David Jensenius • Philip Schulze

Western Front, Vancouver Canada
Benjamin Rogalsky

Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, Perth Australia
Cat Hope

<>TAG, The Hague, Netherlands
Anne Wellmer • Hicham Khalidi • Keir Neuringer

image at top of page: humpback whale global migratory patterns
(adapted from www.omplace.com/omsites/discover/HUMP/humpm.html )



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