I’m pleased to say that my performance piece, ICE_SNAKE==NOISE will be adapted into an interactive audio-visual installation for Unleashed Devices at Watermans Gallery from 1 September to 22 October 2010.
After a few years of adding visual flair to the sonic cacephony of countless (nearly) NOISE==NOISE nights across London, I finally jumped into the thick of it and created my own audio-visual performance piece.
ICE SNAKE==NOISE slithered up out of a dark period of my life. Literally, it was dark: the dead cold of winter in England, depressing December, where sunny days are a far off memory chewed up and spat out by a biting, inescapable cold. I had a clear goal – to take the frustration and cold anger of a winter away from loved ones and bring that energy into a dramatic performance, at once sonically powerful but also textured and ever-changing, wriggling, like a true snake.
Ryan Jordan, the maestro of audiovisual vertigo who organizes NOISE==NOISE, asked me to perform in Ipswitch, and as I wasn’t going anywhere for the December holidays I agreed. With little time to prepare, I hashed together bits of pieces I was working on using 3D drawing of wormlike, slithering shapes in Fluxus, and lashed them to a soundtrack of chaotic distortion using SuperCollider (for the first time). For the texture of the snake, I used photos of these lattice-like networks of ice, frozen to the roof of our Dalston studio overnight before the winter sun’s moderate warmth blunted their edges, into shapeless, gray slugs.
I’m very pleased with the result – performing it is like taming a wild beast, you don’t control it as much as ride it through until you both tire out and surrender.
For this installation, I invite others to experience the piece by performing it themselves. Put on the headphones and imagine yourself in the dead of winter in the ancient countryside, the howling wind slashing at your skin, piercing spikes of cold penetrating your bare flesh under your clothes, the swirling snow dizzying your mind until all grows numb and silent.
Here is a live recording of myself playing it back in December: