operatic & interdisciplinary

Inside Us

for solo vocalist, choir, audio tracks, multiple video projections, 3 televisions, and turntable [45′].

X Inside Us

for solo vocalist, choir, audio tracks, multiple video projections, 3 televisions, and turntable [45′].


Commission:
Western Front with funds from the Canada Council for the Arts
Premiere: Laura Swankey with DB Boyko and the VOICE OVER mind Choir, February 8, 2018 at the Grand Luxe Hall, Western Front, Vancouver

Inside Us invites listeners into the acoustic poetry of the body’s interior. Vocal soundscape combines with diagnostic ultrasound recordings, giving voice to the rhythms of the circulatory and respiratory systems. Attentive listening dissolves notions of scale and place: from the constrained intensity of vessels leading to the brain to the cavernous resonance of blood as it washes from the liver back into the heart. Percolating through the immersive sounds of the installation, members of the VOICE OVER mind choir share moments of awareness of heartbeat or breath. Many of these recollections come from “the edges of life”.

Inside Us evolved during an artistic residency at Toronto’s Sunnybrook Research Institute. Through conversations with scientists and clinicians, I’ve begun to grasp the complexities and power of biomedical imaging. Riding my bicycle to and from the hospital, I started to see how physics and mathematics manifest in the everyday world around me. The video is a visual diary of parallel processes scavenged from my inner and outer journeys: fluid dynamics, breathing of trees, fluttering of moths, bubbles, drops and flows.

A custom-cut disc on the turntable features ultrasound Doppler recordings of arterial blood flow on Side A and venous flow on Side B and is the springboard for vocal improvisations by the soloist.

Ultrasound Doppler technology allows real-time imaging of blood flow at precise locations in the body. The audio output is not the sound of the heart beating, but rather the frequency shift as sound from a a transducer is directed towards the body, bounces off moving blood cells and then returns to the transducer. The resulting doppler shift conveys speed, pressure and direction. The development of this imaging method has gone hand in hand with advances in computing technology, allowing for higher resolution and greater precision. Meanwhile, bats, dolphins, porpoises and whales use bio-sonar to locate and catch their prey — their own bodies the site of technology humans still struggle to fully comprehend.

Artistic residency at Sunnybrook Research Institute funded by the Ontario Arts Council.
Ultrasound diagnostic recordings made with the assistance of: Paul Sheeran, Peter Burns and Caroline Maloney at Sunnybrook Research Institute.

The Man Who Married Himself

dance opera for 3 vocalists, 2 dancers & chamber ensemble [50’] 2017.

X The Man Who Married Himself

dance opera for 3 vocalists, 2 dancers & chamber ensemble [50’] 2017.
counter-tenor, baritone, Carnatic vocalist, flute, clarinet, percussion, portative organ, hurdy-gurdy, violin & cello.

Premiere: Toronto Masque Theatre, Crow’s Theatre, Toronto, March 10-11, 2017

Librettist: Anna Chatterton
Commissioner:
Toronto Masque Theatre
Funders: Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts
Production: choreographer Hari Krishnan, director Marie-Nathalie Lacoursière, conductor Larry Beckwith, set & costume design Rex, lighting Gabriel Cropley
Featuring: Scott Belluz (counter-tenor), Alex Samaras (baritone) & Subhiksha Rangarajan; Jelani Ade-Lam & Sze-Yang Ade-Lam (dancers)

Program note:
Unwilling to marry a woman, a man fashions a lover from his own left side. He’s enraptured by her perfect beauty – a mirror of his own – until he discovers that this new woman longs for freedom and wildly desires another. 

South Asian and Baroque music and performance traditions meet in a new masque based on a traditional Indian folk tale (from A.K. Ramanujan’s A Flowering Tree). A powerful & timely allegory of the female and male warring within, told through music, words and movement.

Composer’s Note:
Just when you think you’ve grasped it, the story slithers away like a snake — that’s what keeps me fascinated. What seems like a familiar “woman born of man” creation story gets a feminist twist: the Newborn Woman outfoxes the Prince and heads off into a blissful future of new lovers. The tale comes from Karnataka in South India, where elements of matriarchal culture still play out in family structures. It’s not a myth, but a folk tale handed down from one generation of women to the next. It could be understood perhaps as a story of consolation for women enduring the hardships of life in a man’s world.

On a more personal note, the tale suggests the need to find a balance between what we might understand as the masculine and the feminine within each of us — to seek a more nuanced understanding of gender. The Prince locks up and limits the Newborn Woman — the Other — keeping what is different at a suspicious distance. In contrast, the Lover and the Newborn Woman fall in love through a gentle process of listening and exchange. The Lover uses imagination to understand what the Newborn Woman is telling him. Unlike The Prince, who imposes an idealized femininity onto the Woman, the Lover listens, waits and understands. Openness to difference and generosity of imagination transform our encounters with “the Other”, both within our selves and in the wider world.

Image: Sze-Yang Ade-Lam & Jelani Ade-Lam (photo by Kakumi Mori)

 

Sweat

a cappella opera [70’] 2016.

X Sweat

a cappella opera [70’] 2016.
soloists: 2 soprani, mezzo-soprano & baritone
chorus: 2 soprani, 3 mezzi.

 

“The depiction of the women’s collective experience resonated most powerfully in the rhythmic ensemble evocations—sung and spoken—of the soul-destroying daily grind…and the slowly unfolding, overlapping textures of voices yearning for a better life.” —Wall Street Journal

Librettist: Anna Chatterton
Commissioner:
Soundstreams Canada
Funders: Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts

New York Premiere Production
Center for Contemporary Opera in cooperation with Urbanvessel. National Sawdust, New York, October 26-27, 2016.
Director
Giselle Ty conductor Lidiya Kankovskaya choreographer Nicole Pearce set design Frank Oliva costumes Asa Benally lighting Bruce Steinberg stage manager Jeromy Hunt
Featuring: Larissa Koniuk, Shabnam Kalbasi, Jacqueline Horner-Kwiatek, Patrick McNally and Eric McKeever
Chorus: Isabella Dawis, Katya Gruzglina, Leanne Gonzalez-Singer, Christine Duncan and Hanne Dollase

Canadian Touring Production
Bicycle Opera Project, August 2017

Director Baņuta Rubess conductor Geoffrey Sirrett choreographer Jennifer Nichols designer Sonja Rainey lighting Kai Masaoka stage manager Julia Howman
Featuring: Stephanie Tritchew, Keith Lam, Larissa Koniuk and Catherine Daniel
Chorus: Cindy Won, Caitlin Wood, Justine Owen, Stephanie Tritchew and Emma Char

Program note:
“Made in Bangladesh, Vietnam, Italy, China, India…the U.S.A.”  Who sews our clothes, who makes our shoes? Where do they live? How much are they paid? What would you dream of, sewing sleeves all day? Is life better in the village you left behind? Sweat is a kaleidoscope of characters and stories collected from factories around the world. Plunging headfirst into the ethical conundrums of the garment trade, the work offers a window into the lives of the unseen millions who work to clothe us and the high-flying designers whose fantasies feed the fashion industry.

Photos: Dahlia Katz, Bicycle Opera Production

Undercurrent

Audio installation, Singing River, Pan Am Path, Pedestrian Bridge, Lower Don Trail, Toronto, July 4-5 2015.

X Undercurrent

Audio installation, Singing River, Pan Am Path, Pedestrian Bridge, Lower Don Trail, Toronto, July 4-5 2015.

Transducers applied to the pedestrian bridge transform it into a vibrating loudspeaker, singing the river’s Anishinaabemowin name to the most constricted and polluted section of the waterway.

Original song for the Wonscotonach River composed by Marie Gaudet and performed by the First Nations School of Toronto girls singing group.

Wonscotonach has been translated by linguist Basil Johnson as “burning bright point or peninsula” or a point bright with fire, perhaps referring to the peninsula near the mouth of the Don (later the Toronto islands).

“When you think about it, a lot of these songs came from the women who did the laundry along the riverside. This song came to me when I was in the laundromat. I was in there alone, listening to the swishes of the water and the humming of the machines. And I was thinking of another song that I really liked and thinking that, geez, I’d like to make a really nice pretty song like that one. And so that is how the song came to me.” — Marie Gaudet, on composing the Wonscotonach River Song

Creative team: artistic director Juliet Palmer & sound artist Christopher Willes
Additional voices: Regent Park School of Music

Inner Rivers

Audio installation, Singing River, Pan Am Path, Belleville Underpass, Lower Don Trail, Toronto, July 4-5 2015.

X Inner Rivers

Audio installation, Singing River, Pan Am Path, Belleville Underpass, Lower Don Trail, Toronto, July 4-5 2015.

Diagnostic ultrasound recordings transport the listener along the body’s inner rivers. Entering the tunnel, we are immersed in a dynamic audio map of blood flow: from the tips of the fingers, through the abdominal region, to the head and brain.

Research work in Dr. Peter Burns’ laboratory at the University of Toronto makes use of Doppler ultrasound to measure the dynamic flow of blood, its pressures and the resistance of blood vessels themselves. Ultrasound imaging of blood flow can provide an audible indicator of health or illness.

Exiting the tunnel, listen for the sound of the river. What obstacles does the river face? What are the pressures and resistances it must overcome?

Creative team: composer Juliet Palmer, sound artist Christopher Willes & Sunnybrook scientist Dr. Peter Burns

Shelter

chamber opera — 5 singers (sop, 2 mez, ten, bar) + ensemble (cl/bcl, egtr, perc, pf, vn, db) [80’] 2012.

X Shelter

chamber opera — 5 singers (sop, 2 mez, ten, bar) + ensemble (cl/bcl, egtr, perc, pf, vn, db) [80’] 2012.

Commissioner: Tapestry New Opera
Funders: The Ontario Arts Council, The Canada Council for the Arts and Tapestry New Opera
Premiere: Edmonton Opera, November 16-20, 2012
Librettist: Julie Salverson
Production: direction Keith Turnbull, design Sue Page, movement Jo Leslie, video & lighting Beth Kates and Ben Chaisson

Program note: Shelter: a nuclear family adrift in the atomic age. Since Prometheus stole fire from the gods, we have flirted with the dangerous beauty of science. In the invisible shadow of Fukushima, how will we survive when knowledge so outstrips understanding? In this fable a father protects his family at any cost, a mother chases storms and a nuclear physicist is midwife to a child who glows in the dark. When the dashing Pilot enters, our world is forever altered.

Composer’s note: The Cold War hovered over my childhood, threatening imminent catastrophe and planetary doom. Growing up in New Zealand was no guarantee of safety — the governments of France, the U.K. and the U.S.A. all conducted nuclear tests in the Pacific Ocean. This was brought home in 1985 when I heard the explosive boom as the French government bombed the Greenpeace vessel The Rainbow Warrior in Auckland harbour. Skip ahead fifteen years and I became a citizen of Canada, a country with a strikingly different atomic history. The lights in my house are powered by nuclear power and my neighbourhood in Toronto hosts a uranium fuel pellet processing plant. At night I lie in bed listening to the haunting sound of train whistles and wonder if another shipment of uranium has arrived from the west. In some sense we all live along the Highway of the Atom and everywhere is downwind. Tripping over tailings and bogged down in radioactive mud, perhaps laughter and beauty will cause us to linger a moment and consider which path leads us out of this mess.

Fire on the Water

Fire on the Water is a 60-minute choreographed performance for brass, winds, vocals and drumkit which premiered at the event of the same name, August 26, 2012.

X Fire on the Water

Fire on the Water is a 60-minute choreographed performance for brass, winds, vocals and drumkit which premiered at the event of the same name, August 26, 2012. Organized by TheWaves collective — Christie Pearson and Marcus Boon — the Fire on the Water event was a free all-ages all-day swim-in and dance party featuring installation and live performance at the Sunnyside Pavilion, Toronto.

Choreography: Aimée Dawn Robinson a.k.a. Motherdrift
Performers: Allison Peacock, Barbara Lindberg, Lo Bil, Victoria Cheong and Dawne Carlton
Music: Juliet Palmer (in collaboration with the performers)
Performers: Brodie West, Nick Fraser, Lina Allemano, Doug Tielli, Nicole Rampersaud, Charles Davidson and Alex Samaras
Funders: Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council and The Toronto Arts Council

All photos by Giulio Muratori.

Like an Old Tale

An operatic staging of Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale.

X Like an Old Tale

An operatic staging of Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale. For 2 operatic soloists — sop + bar, 2 traditional singers, 2 SATB choirs, traditional drummers and chamber ensemble – cl/bcl, pf, perc, vn, db [150’] 2011.

Commissioner: Jumblies Theatre Company
Funder: Canada Council for the Arts
Premiere: Jumblies Theatre Company, director Varrick Grimes, soloists Doug MacNaughton (baritone) and Neema Bickersteth (soprano), Rosary Spence (First Nations singer), Sharada Eswar (Carnatic singer), Toronto, December 8-18, 2011.
Concept: Ruth Howard
Program note:

Like an Old Tale has drawn me into a world in which hundreds of people from all over the world retell an old story through sound, text, movement and image. How can music help or hinder our understanding of each other? Over the last year and a half we’ve worked together to create a musical world which makes room for different cultural traditions and skills. Some moments are soundscapes, while others are clearly operatic and driven by the vocal line. There have been break-through moments: the Bohemian chorus’ gutsy embrace of the call and response of the Daffodil song; Sharada singing Katrinile Varum Geetham while the Sicilian Choir sing a lament; Rosary and Sharada spinning a double lullaby together over the musical bed of the ensemble; mridangam drummer Sarma joining the groove in Rosary’s Water Song. When we read through the outline of the piece in the summer, I was struck by the compelling voices of children and seniors speaking passages from Shakespeare’s text: these extraordinary words are the bedrock of our collaboration. I am indebted to the generous contributions of Sharada Eswar and Rosary Spence, whose songs weave their way through the piece, and to the band (Adam, Adam, Aleksander, Alex and Martin) whose improvisations summon the Badlands and Bohemia. Thanks to everyone for giving voice to this new world!

Voice-Box

interdisciplinary work fusing boxing, dance & opera [60’] 2010.

X Voice-Box

interdisciplinary work fusing boxing, dance & opera [60’] 2010.

Commissioner: World Stage, Harbourfront Centre
Funders: Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, Toronto Arts Council, Roger D. Moore & Harbourfront Centre Fresh Ground new works.
Credits: music Juliet Palmer, text Anna Chatterton, choreography Julia Aplin.
Premiere: Urbanvessel with Vilma Vitols, Neema Bickersteth, Savoy Howe, Christine Duncan, Anna Chatterton, Julia Aplin & Juliet Palmer, World Stage, Harbourfront Centre, Toronto, November 10-14, 2010.
Program note:

During the research and development of Voice-Box we learned that Canadian women were not allowed to box until 1991. Lawyer and aspiring boxer Jenny Reid not only won that right for women, but fought the first sanctioned match against Thérèse Robitaille in Nova Scotia. It wasn’t until last year that women were granted permission to box in the upcoming 2012 Olympics. This is a huge breakthrough as the last time women boxed at the Olympics was in 1904 at a demonstration match. Savoy Howe generously supplied us with stories about being a female boxer in a world of men, the discrimination and eventual support she and other female boxers experienced.

Voice-Box celebrates and encourages women who choose to scrap it out, to display strength, sweat and skill, punching like a girl, fighting ugly but fighting fair, in the ring and in the world.

— Julia Aplin, Anna Chatterton and Juliet Palmer.

Stitch

a cappella opera [40′] 2008.

X Stitch

a cappella opera [40′] 2008.

Commissioner: The Theatre Centre, Toronto
Premiere: Vilma Vitols, Neema Bickersteth, Christine Duncan & Patricia O’Callaghan, FreeFall Festival/World Stage, The Theatre Centre, Toronto, March 12-16, 2008.
Creative Team: music Juliet Palmer, libretto Anna Chatterton, choreography Marie-Josée Chartier, direction Ruth Madoc-Jones, design Sarah Armstrong, lighting Kimberly Purtell
Awards: Dora nominations “Outstanding New Opera” and “Outstanding Production” (2008)
Funders: The Toronto Arts Council, The Ontario Arts Council, The Canada Council for the Arts, The Ontario Arts Council Theatre Creator’s Reserve and The Theatre Centre.

Preview in NOW Magazine, May 2010.

Stitch was developed in residence at The Theatre Centre and funded by The Ontario Arts Council, The Toronto Arts Council, and The Canada Council for the Arts.
Program note:

From the abuse of the sweatshop to the fantasy of costume and the empowerment of sewing-it-yourself, the sewing machine has been a force for liberation and exploitation since its invention in the 19th century. Hemmed in by the language of sewing and the inexorable rhythm of the machine, three women fight to find space for imagination and individuality. Stitch gives voice to the unseen women who clothe us all.

SLIP

site-specific performance for 3 singers, percussion and dancers [60’] 2006.

X SLIP

site-specific performance for 3 singers, percussion and dancers [60’] 2006.

Funders: The Laidlaw Foundation, the Ontario Arts Council, The Toronto Arts Council, and the City of Toronto.
Premiere: Urbanvessel with Susanne Chui, Louis Laberge-Côté, Jean Martin, Christine Duncan, Aki Takahashi and Vilma Vitols, Harrison Baths. X Avant Festival, Toronto, September 20-22, 2006.
Creative Team: music Juliet Palmer, choreography Yvonne Ng, lyrics Anna Chatterton, installation Christie Pearson.
Program note:

Slip is a site-specific performance for a swimming pool or bath house fusing sound, movement and light. Urbanvessel investigates each new performance site, reflecting the users and the history of the space, and evoking its latent drama, dream spaces and stories. Each production of Slip is unique, but builds on our previous performances. Cultures with distinct architectures and social rituals of bathing are juxtaposed to increase awareness of our own histories. As humans we are bound together by the intimate experience of cleansing and our precious connection to water.

In 2006 Slip travelled the labyrinth of Toronto’s Harrison Baths complex: from the tiled lobby, through the gargantuan men’s locker room, to the majestic pool, and finally, through the series of intimate rooms making up the women’s space.

Cypress

dance score for bass clarinet + double bass [35′] 2002.

X Cypress

dance score for bass clarinet + double bass [35′] 2002.

Commissioner: Yvonne Ng, Tiger Princess Dance Projects
Funders: The Toronto Arts Council, Ontario Arts Council, The Laidlaw Foundation, The Canada Council for the Arts.
Premiere: Justine Chambers, Susanne Chui and Susan Lee; Robert Stevenson & Peter Pavlovsky, Artword Theatre, Toronto, December 5-8 2002.
Choreography: Yvonne Ng
Program note:

Conceived and Choreographed by Yvonne Ng, Cypress was inspired by the Chinese legend of the Three Friends: bamboo, plum and cypress. They do not die, but remain constant and blossom before the spring comes. The cypress symbolizes longevity, a core aspect of friendship. The dancers – Justine Chambers, Susanne Chui and Susan Lee – fill the space with flowing movements that are both strikingly awkward and yet starkly organic. They become the ever-shifting, ever-sifting landscape, creating and disarming their boundaries and conjoined limitations. As with many of her works, Ng found her movement vocabulary from exercises in constraint. Choreographic phrases are eked out of the dancers’ limited freedom and are surprisingly swollen with poignant, and poetically enduring images. In my score for Cypress, I was drawn to the rich web of connections the double bass and clarinet draw across musical cultures: from klezmer, tango, and gypsy music to Indian film scores. Performed by contemporary virtuosi Peter Pavlovsky (double bass) and Robert Stevenson (bass clarinet), the score veers from groove to grunge, as the instruments shadow, tangle, keen and sigh.

Inland

dance score for violin + audio playback [90′] 2002.

X Inland

dance score for violin + audio playback [90′] 2002.

 

Excerpt: Flock Dance

Commissioner: The New Zealand International Arts Festival
Funder: The New Zealand International Arts Festival Trust
Premiere: Douglas Wright Dance with violinist Deborah White, The Opera House, Wellington, The New Zealand International Arts Festival, March 7, 2002.
Credits: concept and choreography Douglas Wright, set and costume design John Verryt, film/video Florian Habicht

Program note:
Using animal imagery to take us into the heart of the human condition, Inland charts the fragile equilibrium between shepherd, flock, dog and hawk.

Flotsam & Jetsam

interdisciplinary performance for mezzo-soprano, piano & dancer [50’] 2001.

X Flotsam & Jetsam

interdisciplinary performance for mezzo-soprano, piano & dancer [50’] 2001.

Funders: The Toronto Arts Council, Ontario Arts Council, Laidlaw Foundation and the Canada Council for the Arts
Premiere: Vilma Vitols, Ya-wen Wang, Susan Macpherson, Open Ears Festival, Kitchener, Canada, May 6, 2001.
Credits: music & concept Juliet Palmer, choreography Bill James, lighting Paul Mathiesen, costume Evelyn von Michalofski, video Nick de Pencier, set design Juliet Palmer, Paul Mathiesen & Evelyn von Michalofski.
Additional credits: Am Meer (1828) for voice and piano — Franz Schubert; Venus of the South Seas (1924) starring Annette Kellerman — dir. James R. Sullivan; excerpts from How To Swim (1918) — Annette Kellerman; recorded voice: Gladys Boyce.
Program note:

As a teenager in the 1920s, my grandmother Gladys played piano for silent films in the remote New Zealand town of Takaka. She still recalls a film which was shot nearby at Pohara beach. Although Glad has never seen the film, I found out later that it was the underwater spectacular Venus of the South Seas, starring Australian diver Annette Kellerman. A trained classical musician, Kellerman’s stage performances combined piano, violin and vocal recitals, along with high-diving and underwater stunts.

Flotsam & Jetsam weaves together memories of my grandmother with the fantastical watery world of Annette Kellerman. This performance is dedicated to my grandmother, Gladys Boyce.

 

Cocktail

interdisciplinary performance for mezzo-soprano, piano & dancer [50’] 2001.

X Cocktail

interdisciplinary performance for mezzo-soprano, piano & dancer [50’] 2001.

Program note:

As a teenager in the 1920s, my grandmother Gladys played piano for silent films in the remote New Zealand town of Takaka. She still recalls a film which was shot nearby at Pohara beach. Although Glad has never seen the film, I found out later that it was the underwater spectacular Venus of the South Seas, starring Australian diver Annette Kellerman. A trained classical musician, Kellerman’s stage performances combined piano, violin and vocal recitals, along with high-diving and underwater stunts.

Flotsam & Jetsam weaves together memories of my grandmother with the fantastical watery world of Annette Kellerman. This performance is dedicated to my grandmother, Gladys Boyce.

 

A Guided Viewing

sound installation 1998.

X A Guided Viewing

sound installation 1998.

Commissioner: Mercer Union
Premiere: Mercer Union Gallery, Toronto, Canada, May 15-June 20, 1998.
Thanks: Martin Arnold, Steve Bishop, Sam Bishop-Green, Nicholas Brooke, Allison Cameron, Ruth Caston, Millie Chen, Ann Christie, Christian Christie, Sasha Lutz-Winkler, Barbara Milewski, Eliot Palmer, James Rolfe, Nicholas Scott Rolfe, John Sherlock, Evelyn Von Michalofski, Todd Winkler and Mary Wright.

Program note:
A Guided Viewing hijacks the gallery audio-guide and reworks it into a face-to-face encounter between viewer and ‘artwork’. Questioning the idea of an authoritative voice, A Guided Viewing presents instead a polyphony of voices, each equally insistent.

Blood Shower

music theater for 2 percussionists [10’] 1998.

X Blood Shower

music theater for 2 percussionists [10’] 1998.

Premiere: Les Percussions de Strasbourg, Voix Nouvelles, Royaumont, France, September 26, 1998.
Text: Filippo Tommaso Marinetti
Program note:

Blood Shower is based on the poetry and polemics of Filippo Tomasi Marinetti, author of the Futurist Manifesto. Nourished by “fire, hatred and speed”, the futurists exulted in a Utopia of technological violence. In conflict with this ideal of a “heroic hygiene”, Marinetti’s work is pervaded by a passionate sensuality: love becomes both sadistic and voluptuous. Blood Shower juxtaposes and blends sounds from daily life with ‘normal’ percussion sounds, while weaving an enigmatic relationship between the two musicians.

miasma

CD/sound installation/radio broadcast 1995.

X miasma

CD/sound installation/radio broadcast 1995.

Commissioner: Artspace Gallery
Funder: Creative New Zealand
Premiere: Artspace Gallery, Auckland, New Zealand, August 29-September 22, 1995.
Radio Broadcast: Concert FM (NZ)and ABC’s The Listening Room (Australia)
Text: Josh Lacey
Program note:

Miasma is about the weather. Miasma is about the remote chance of getting what you want.

Miasma is a multi-track work for two compact disc players, mute weather channel T.V. and living room. Utilizing the random shuffle feature of two domestic CD players, twenty short dialogues by English writer Josh Lacey combine with forty-four music tracks in an endlessly changing remix. The dialogues use meteorological language to describe broader concerns, their randomization reflecting the chaos and unpredictability of our relationship to the weather itself.

Citrus

tape, voice, food blender, electronics, grapefruit & slides [25’] 1993.

X Citrus

tape, voice, food blender, electronics, grapefruit & slides [25’] 1993.

Commissioner: Richard Dale
Funder: Creative New Zealand
Premiere: Juliet Palmer, SoundCulture Japan, Tokyo, January 27, 1993.
Ars Electronica: honourable mention, 1994

Program note:

Beginning with a photograph I hold dear of my grandparents proudly displaying bunches of home-grown grapefruit, I set out to make this image resonate through my obsessive expression of this personal icon. I wanted to turn the grapefruit into sound.

Grapefruit.

I searched for texts using the words pulp, juice, juicy, grapefruit, squeeze, peel… Then I found and recorded people who seemed ‘right’ for the scenarios and characters these texts evoked. I recorded the fruit themselves: cut into pieces, sucked, juiced and drunk. I listened to the recordings and found that the most interesting moments were when the tape recorder caught people off-guard in their attempts to assume the new identities the written texts suggested. Not only did these ‘found’ words take me to a place apparently far from my family and the fruit, but my friends’ voices and personalities tapped into tones and emotions I had not expected. I wanted to stage an intense physical interaction with the fruit itself. A cadenza for blender and 75 grapefruit was born and is now the fulcrum of the entire performance piece. During the first 10 minutes I chop feverishly as many fruit as possible into segments which the audience devour before I deal the final electric blow to the remaining fruit. In the end, all that remains is to drink deeply and to sing.