This page is an electronic documentation of the processes I go through in developing my performance as One Man Nation. It will hopefully give to you a little more insight to what I do, and to me a means of self reflection on my work. What follows are chosen parts taken of a larger paper I wrote on this subject (still writing in fact), hope it makes as much sense to you as it does to me!
Since my second European tour in 2007, I have been developing what seems to be the same live set. Evolving more than developing as the so called progress has more or less taken its natural path. The lines that mark the title of this chapter dripped off my tongue during my first performance at L’mono almost 2 years ago, a time of turmoil it seemed then (little did I know what the near future had installed for me anyway), and those words resonated with a violent reverberation within the hollow between my ears as I screamed out the last remaining thought in all hope of exorcising the ghosts within. A prelude of sorts, always an introduction, empty pages waiting to be written. These chosen words exude ambivalence, as it can, could, has, had, will be used for bringing the spotlight on to the very speaker, writer, communicator of those very words. To be used and abused by politicians left right and center, preachers and fanatics of every order and religious beliefs, punk stars rock stars and astrologers, therefore now the time has come and the time is now, to use the words the time has come and the time is now, joining the kilometer long linage of users of the phrase – the time has come and the time is now…
The story behind the published story is somehow always more interesting (exceptions of course – the village drunk). The processes involved forms the road map of the mind (and sometimes beyond that) of the author, an open book so to speak, the window to the soul. In describing the journey I have taken so far, I hope to transmit better the idea that what is summed up normally as a conclusion in a paragraph long press release, album sleeve note or a book length graduation thesis, is merely surface scratching at best. This is a story of a mind in constant flux during a certain period of creative explosion.
At the first footsteps of my string plucking daze, I accompanied my recklessly atonal, rhythmically handicapped guitar playing with words taken from my ‘little black book’. Constantly contorting my unused diaphragm in a desperate attempt to keep up the tune (more like keep in tune) while multitasking my left hand finger gymnastics with right wrist fluctuations. There were songs that had enough words for a page in the newspaper, and enough lyrics to fill a volume of Brittanica.
So when those nine magic words slipped from my tongue, an epiphanic gust blew upon me, that less in this case (of my boring pamphlet filling lyrics) is much much more. Since that hurricane of minimalism (probably coming from minimal usage of thinking organ leading to too much condensation in the hollow between ears, dampening high frequencies in the reverberation making the epiphany clearer), I have been trying to see how far one can take just a few lines and make them weigh more than dictionary.
My work was best described by Portuguese avant-garde collective Soopa after a concert in Porto as a performance that transmitted a deep narrative feeling of geopolitical disenchantment, ingrained into dark textures. This disenchantment exists on more levels than purely narrative, it is exorcised by the use of every part of my body as a whole, that presence with the inclusion of the sounds produced by the intended or accidental gestures and physical actions – everything is technology making anything and everything potentially an instrument, a source of sound, a critique – the avoidance of a priori drawn ways, ontologically reinventing the possibilities of life, and as a living performer/artist, exploring all the possibilities in the here, in the now.
The goal I have strive towards since earlier mutations of the current performance has been to seamlessly mix different elements such as, but not limited to, computer music, performance art and improvisation together into a cohesive piece that speaks for itself.
Analog mush in this piece comes from the use of several self-built piezo contact microphones to pick up the ‘found sounds’ or mechanical sounds created through using my instruments, this is as far as one can get from technological complexity. The contact microphones will be strategically placed to pick up specific sounds created by
- button presses on the Monome computer interface
- fader and knob movement on the midi controller
- furniture noise caused by equipment moved during a performance, hand drumming
on table/chair/floor, chair screeching from body movements accidental or otherwise
This ‘technological enhancement’ will be the only added hardware to the current performance setup. Other elements that the performance consists of
- playing with a given space and audience
physically moving through a watching audience, thus dissolving the line between performer and audience.
- manipulating psychoacoustic perception
the use of voice with and without microphone, amplifying or muting sounds picked up by piezo microphones.
exploring the risk in undetermined form, implying new notions of chance in its relation to art.
- using the environment as an instrument the environment at my disposal, I have used tables, chairs, drums, percussion, dolls, cymbals, shoes, sticks, necklaces and an endless array of found objects at a given venue as sound source.
With intuition and constant sensitivity to the surroundings during a performance, I play the role of bringing to the foreground what was pre-existing but unrecognized. The environment is my instrument, through the performance I attempt to convey the messages, expose the emotions, to bring the audience in to my world, for the duration of the performance we are melded together in the experience that only those that were present will take away from.
Performance in this sense, is an explicit expression against the prefabrication of culture.