Emergency Index Vol. 7

We are thrilled to be included in Emergency Index Vol. 7. “The pages of Emergency INDEX are open to all who work with performance. In each annual volume, contributors document works made in the previous year. By including performances regardless of their country of origin, genre, aims, or popularity, INDEX reveals the breathtaking variety of practices used in performance work today. Each volume features a comprehensive index of key terms used by contributors in describing and discussing their own work. Begun in 2011, INDEX is a lens for seeing the field of contemporary performance from the ground up.”


photo by Dennis Bathory-Kitsz

[photo by Dennis Bathory-Kitsz]


{{An assistant blindfolds two performers. She then releases a suspended microphone to swing over a loudspeaker like a pendulum. Controlled feedback is created with each pass. The feedback pulses, gradually evolving into a steady drone as the microphone slows. The blindfolded performers share a single benjolin synthesizer that sits on their laps. Benjolin is programmed to fade in automatically after a period of time. Being unable to see either the settings of the knobs or each other, the performers must rely on active listening and a practiced musical telepathy to confront the inherently chaotic nature of benjolin’s circuitry and to shape its sounds into a coherent performance.}}

Transcript of a post-performance conversation:

[Performer A]: “It was such an intense listening experience. I could hear everything in the room: the ice in the glasses, people moving around…”
[Performer B]: “…and the air conditioning, which I thought was benjolin fading in.”
[A]: “Why didn’t it fade in? Where was it?”
[B]: “I don’t know. It was on during sound check.”
[A]: “Regardless, the feedback pulses sounded sublime through those speakers.”
[B]: “Their constant shifting made it seem like benjolin was emerging. A subtle aural illusion.”
[A]: “XXXXXXXX told me that she hallucinated it, too, which is not surprising since she lives with a drone situation.”
[B]: “Many heard the performance as complete.”
[A]: “How long were we sitting there?”
[B]: “It felt infinite.”
[A]: “Even under normal conditions, Kepler-37 hypnotizes us…”
[B]: “…and challenges our perception of time. Our combined anxiety was intense.”
[A]: “XXX did a great job making sure we couldn’t see out of our blindfolds. I wanted to melt into the sounds and disappear. I signaled you.”
[B]: “I sensed you.”
[A]: “I sensed you, too. I knew that we were both listening…”
[B]: “…both present.”
[A]: “I didn’t know when to take my blindfold off. Were you already uncovered and waiting for me?”
[B]: “I had just taken mine off.”

{{ArtsRiot, Burlington, Vermont, US. Saturday, 9 September 2017.}}