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PERFORMANCE_VIRTA (WiP)

This work in progress is loosely inspired by the Finnish Underworld according to Karelian mythology, Kalevala: afterlife; imaginary creatures; traditions and (sonic)-landscapes. It is performed by artists who navigate the mediums of dance movement, electro-acoustic sound and voice, spoken word and light: Irina Baldini, in feedback with Andrew Demetriou, Emily Welther, Artemise Ploegaerts, Tashi Iwaoka and Simona Piras.

About the work:

In the room there is a drum set, a bass guitar and amplifier, three microphones and four monitor speakers in the round. Audience is distributed throughout the space, to allow for immersion in the surround sound environment.

VIRTA evolves in scenes, each located in a different area of the space. Light design plays a crucial role in guiding and/or purposefully misleading the attention of the audience. All performers alternate roles from a section to another: from playing bass guitar and percussion, to using voice acoustically and via a vocal- distortion station, dancing their bodies into choreographic tasks that invite them to engage into complex psycho-physical endeavours.

The work is musically charged by sequences of loud and distorted sound, rich of low frequencies that reverberate in the space and through the bodies of everyone present. The moving bodies are motivated by their internal sound production: visceral voice, as a limb guiding the next action. Audience may hear multiple sources, and only see one. Moments of solo suddenly become parallel duos, and the momentum of the choreographic composition picks up augmented by the vocal-movement interventions.

The start of the piece is led by subtle percussion, feedback noise and acoustic vocals. Lights are open and brightly illuminate the entire space. The central part evolves into a charged bass-guitar and drums ‘concert’, to develop into a scape of voices and sounds. As the piece progresses, profile spot lights are used to focus on specific scenes, isolating and connecting stations from and to each other, creating and separating parallel events.

Hybrid between a concert, a real-time composed dance and a poetry reading, the atmosphere fluctuates in visual density and sonic intensity.Towards the end of the piece the mood gets dimmer and visually quieter. Colder tones of light seep in and pre-recorded samples are triggered to evoke the recent past, reminiscent of various moments, as if memories are evoked and infused with present layers: a voyage through blended sonic images.

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This work is characterised by research in electro-acoustic sound and live performance in movement, dance and voice. By bringing a (post-punk) concert and blending it with non-traditional approaches to movement and choreography based on a newly coined methodology for real-time composition (namely ATE – Accountable Temporary Expedients), the piece intends to be figuratively an intersection of bridges, highways and tunnels bringing genres to collide and co-exist with each other.

The performers’ bodies are flexible forms and resilient containers through which sounds, images, and sensations flow and resonate, dwell in distortions, disruptions and emergence/emergency.
Their voices move from fleshy caves, out the hole of their mouths, resonating in their bodies, transforming the space by the frequencies and the language of their moving bodies. The musical instruments and devices in the space deliberately accompany as well as highjacking the performance as events unfold.