Biyuu: Interstitial Soundscape and Dance
The work of sound sculptor Liz Phillips has always been interstitial, ranging from works with famed choreographer Merce Cunningham to installations at the Whitney Museum and in situ pieces working with the natural environment. Right now, she is engaged in developing a particularly exciting new interstitial multi-media venture called Biyuu (a Japanese word describing the sound of bamboo bending in the wind). In this piece, soundscapes will be transformed through the controlled and conscious movement of the human body in live performance.
Liz is currently working with Mariko Endo Reynolds, a Butoh trained dancer, to create Biyuu, exploring and recording the movement of the body in both potential energy fields in the sound lab and at Edith Read Animal Sanctuary. In the studio and on stage Mariko’s body becomes an antenna as she shifts shape, moving near ground and reaching out. Her body is a conductor and the space around her is activated, responding in sound and light changes. Liz measures and accumulates the activity and the memory that an action or inaction can leave behind. They then combine Mariko’s dance movement with Liz’s decades of work with live processing for interactive installations, usinf new and old methods of live digital and analog processing of the camera that Liz has been using in weather balloon installations and in her bicycle balloon workshop.
In the sanctuary (first recorded on video and binaural audio) birds respond to wind in the branches and to the artist’s movement in the bamboo forest. In performance, Mariko will break through a wall of amplified translucent paper, creating a new sound and visual dimension that will expand onto the stage. The artists have found that silence, stillness and phase are important in making the images and sounds dimensional, allowing them to shift scale, move and scatter.
In Liz’s sound constructs, objects radiating sound are natural filters, each with its own voice; a long sheet of rice paper, a shell, a bamboo pole, a brass ring, a wooden plank, a bowl, a water pool can be a speaker. A sound will morph as it spins through this air and then falls into water and vibrates making resonant wave patterns. That sound mass transposes as it plays, when the bowl fills. The seen and unseen waves, water, sub audio, audio, radio frequency, ultrasonic, infrared, light become tactile material. Liz translates, transposes and shifts spectrums, activating water, sound and color formations, creating a hyper miniature ecosystem using electronic tools.
The Audience Experience
When the work is performed live later this year, the audience will sit on two opposite sides. Two projections will fall on 3-D coil forms that hold translucent paper scrims. Mariko, wearing a conductive thread-laced costume, will move the coils, reconstructing the landscape of the stage, evoking the bamboo, water and tall reeds. With metal snaps, she will become a transmitter of an electric field in different places on stage. Each change in focal area will signal the unfolding of a new sonic and visual responsive environment.
Biyuu is also a new venture for both artist as they are experimenting with crowdfunding through USA Projects, which, if she reaches $8,925 by February 22nd, has pledged to match the donated dollars to support the premiere of the work at Roulette in Brooklyn, New York, in 2012. The funding will support a large studio to build sets, dance and coordinate sound, staging and balancing events.
Enjoy this video of this amazing project: Biyuuu!
And stay tuned for an interview here with Liz Phillips in March!
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