Created and performed for the Prague Quadrennial 2019 Sound Kitchen (36Q)
Official PQ 2019 Sound Kitchen Website
αrepΩ is based on the dynamics created by the merging of a highly technological impersonal world and the vulnerable intimacy found in humans. These two poles, when juxtaposed together, can create a unique sonar world which serves as a metaphor for the state of living and existing in today’s world and the possible alterations of life in the proximate future, as the bond between organic and synthetic structures becomes tighter.
The piece is a sonar performance that invites the audience to participate in it. It is composed by two halves. The first one is heard through speakers and follows the basic structure of an opera (Overture – Aria – Recitative – Intermission – Duet – Finale). No instruments were used in its creation, but rather recordings of various drills which were then transformed into rhythmic and chromatic sequences and short recordings of human voice. By doing so, the produced environment attempts to minimize the humane and personal elements as well as the familiar musical instruments found in most pieces and introduce a novel way of approaching sonar composition. A foggy atmosphere of a digitalized world is created, like the primal functions of a big computer (or their physicalisation as seen through the lens of the creator’s imagination) trying to generate memories of humans. These attempts lead to glitched abstracts of opera – one of the highest achievements in music and then this is combined with sounds reminiscent of primal rituals.
The second half is more performative. While the main sound is being played by the speakers, a pair of headphones and a microphone, invite the audience to be part of this world. Putting the headphones on, a member of the audience will hear a loud droning noise, isolating them from any other sounds and a voice instructing them to speak at the microphone, sharing any memory of a person that is still in their minds. The loud noise is a tool to switch off the brain’s censorship as the person would not be able to hear their own voice. This is when the microphone starts recording and their words spoken at it become part of the existing sound environment played by the speakers.
This simultaneously complex and simple idea is at its core an experiment on how a human might imitate a machine trying to imitate humans and what actually survives from human memories, in a world where everything is stored in these big invisible digital memory storages – the internet and our computers.