What is added to a performance when pitch is removed?
“Unveiling” invites listeners into a relationship with musical performers through a shared language of breath, friction, and physical gesture. Faint music filters out from two speakers at the edge of a small alcove. Inside, a small wall-mounted LCD screen flanked by two inward-facing speakers cycles through five short video-recorded performances. As the viewer-listener enters the alcove and leans in toward the video screen, the sound shifts to a localized, high-definition version of the performance recorded using only the sounds of breath and friction.
For the performers, the recording process was a double-take and an invitation to self-empathy: for the first version of the recording, they were invited to be themself and play whatever felt good, and then for the second take they were asked to "lip-synch" with their own performance, with their instruments modified with coarse silk fabric to mask any pitches and highlight the sounds of breath and friction.
For viewers, I imagine a chance to lean into the intimate expressive sounds that tend to live at the periphery of traditional Western art music and that convey the creativity and humanity of the performers, perhaps to connect with parts of themselves that move and breathe and chafe.
Video, four-channel sound, lamp, silk, and paper. Audio levels were controlled using Max/MSP and a webcam-based brightness sensor.
Émilie Fortin, trumpet Nicole Cherry, violin Julia Lougheed, bass clarinet Layale Chaker, violin Lisa Mezzacappa, bass