The Seed of Time - Elephants &  Volcanoes

Altimura, Italy

This interdisciplinary and multi-sensorial intervention aims for a change in consciousness through the act of creating and presenting novel forms of experience. Combining architecture, sound, cuisine, video, costume and performance, the project as a whole aspires to generate awareness of our surroundings and the body on both macro and micro levels. The project starts from the point of architecture, but through the participatory performance it provides different ways of seeing, extending ideas of other concepts; of ways of being, of ways of living, of ways of thinking.

 

dir. by Juliana Gomez (No Water for Whales)

Compositional Process

Research & Preparation

My idea arose from conversations of auras, of Kirlian photography, of the energy a guest brings into a house, and the energy the house itself possesses. What do these colors mean? Is it better to be red or blue or green or a combination? Is “better” even a word one can apply when discussing color? Can it change? Does it even exist? We decided that the journey through the house would also be a journey through the color spectrum, through the aura of the house itself. Rising in vibration/wavelength from lowest to highest, from kitchen to bedroom, from red to violet. This led to an interesting musical composition problem. How can I musically represent colors, in a scientific manner, not an emotional, subjective, “This song represents Red and everything I associate with it” sort of way?

Color Wavelength in Nano Meters
Color Wavelength Numbers

There is a concept I call the Unity of Vibration. Everything is moving at a certain rate, a certain number of cycles per second, as you slow down cycles per second, they become beats per minute (bpm), slow these down, and we begin to measure minutes themselves, hours in the day, days in the year, years in the century, etc. As we speed up, we go from calendar time, to bpm, to Hz and kHz (cycles per second), and from there, to infrared, then visible light, then ultraviolet, and so on. I decided to put this theory into play and do some math. Adopting this logic, each color should be vibrating at its own frequency. By repeatedly dividing this frequency in half, I can slow down light until it becomes audible, and once audible, I can slow it down even more until it becomes rhythm, and eventually song form. What surprised me, is that each color has a range of notes, not just one, some have more, like Red which has 4 notes, and some less, like Yellow, which has only two.


Using these notes, I began to compose and record pieces purely on the piano. What resulted are explorations into the body of the piano, as if I am allowing myself to run and jump inside. Inspired by the compositions of Henry Cowell, but also in the back of my mind is Bela Bartok, whose exploration of rhythmic and melodic variations in the Microcosmos exert a large influence on my Light Pieces.

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Light Pieces 1-6

Compositional Immersion

 

Arriving in Altamura with all six Light Pieces pre-recorded, and planning to manipulate them in my computer, creating the inter-dimensional and futuristic atmospheres for each room. Spending two consecutive days alone in the Infection, the beautiful future house designed and built by Elephants & Volcanos architect, Giacomo Garziano, I began adjusting the music and the lights accordingly to compliment this future house intervention.

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The kitchen is a combination of Red and Orange. The living room Yellow and Green, the upstairs bedroom Blue and Violet. As we travel through the house, we travel up the frequency spectrum, eventually arriving at the highest vibration of violet in the upstairs room. A sonic announcement welcomes as we enter, a psychic conversation is over-heard between chef Mónica Kisic and graphic designer Clovis Wieske, as residents of this future house preparing their dinner, wearing future garments designed by fashion designer Min Li. The language is an unknown, future language I constructed by combining the native languages of each member of our collective. A strange guest is discovered (the viewer) and there is an offering of food.


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We are guided from kitchen to living room by dancer/choreographer Loïc Perela. Relaxing there, we see moving images on the wall, a video by Visual Artist Annika Kappner, and we are immersed in the sounds of Yellow and Green. Moving upstairs, into the vibration of Blue and Violet, there awaits a transient being of visual reflection, photographer Michael Seiber stands holding a mirror. We see ourselves, our faces merge. A revelation of the highest vibration. We leave, back down through the spectrum, and through the door, back into our time and our world.

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Exterior of Gentle Genius

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* all photos by Michael Seiber