Upcoming events and projects:
“Tjernobylfortellinger” A play by Ingrid Storholmen and Birgitte Fjeld Bjørsvik.
Based on the acclaimed book by I. Storholmen.
Permiere March 4th in Steinkjer. Performance in Oslo at Riksscenen March 25th.
I am composing the music for the play”Tsjernobylfortellingr”, and I am playing all instruments. The music is being developed as an integrated part of the process, in close collaboration with the other creatives involved. Vocally I am exploring possibilities within extended voice together with the actors. I am creating and instructing several vocal sections for the play, at the intersection of text,speech,singing,sound, and music.
The show focuses on individual human destinies in the areas of the catastrophe that happened in Tsjernobyl in 1986. How they handle life after the disaster stands in glaring contrast to the major political game around nuclear power.
A performance-concert. A collaboration with visual artist Janne Hoem, and with research fellow Gunnhild Mathea Olaussen as scenography consultant.
As a long term laboratory in my project “Capto Musicae” I am through the work with “Territorium” experimenting with elements such as film, scenographic materials, extended voice techniques and deconstruction of textual material.
I am exploring the voice as a performative instrument in itself, as a carrier of sonic, musical and emotional material that goes beyond the gender-specific and outside the conventions related to the concept of singing. Linda Wise is one of my artistic advisers, and is a part of this specific process.
Another outcome of “Territorium” is a separate video work.
“Decadence & Decay”
April 9th – 19th I will again travel to New York to work further on the Neo -Futuristic Baroque-Trash Opera, Decadence & Decay.
The project Decadence & Decay is being developed in close collaboration between the dance artist Jill Sigman from New York, the New York-based DJ Joro Boro, the French set- and costume designer Corentin Leven, and the Norwegian performing artist and composer Øystein Elle. Aestetically, and musically we draw lines from castrato-time and aesthetics trough dadaism to postmodernism (including industrial, post-punk, and noise art.)
In17th century Europe, any city with self-respect would have had an opera-house. Opera was big business, and the biggest stars were the castrato singers. Despite, or perhaps precisely because everyone knew what they had sacrificed, castratos were elevated to superhuman status as gender ambiguous angels attractive to both men and women.
The immense popularity the castratos experienced made hopeful parents flock to the shady establishments where the operations were performed. Annually, thousands of young boys were tortured in the service of their parents’ hope that their son would be the next superstar who would shed luster on the family and ensure wealth. However, most of these children died from these encroachments, and most of the survivors faced a life of misery without any acceptance by the community.
Despite the fact that we know how unimaginably cruel this torture of children was, the castratos have traditionally been seen as mythical creatures and objects of unattainable beauty.
The piece will merge opera, dance, performance and a night out. Musically it will mix the detailed musical ornament of the baroque period with noise, hard rocking beats, post punk, avant-garde and contemporary music, drawing upon the diverse virtuosities of these different forms.
Research fellow Camilla Eeg-Tverbakk and I are organizing the research seminar “Sounding Words” at NTA/Østfold University College 8-9th of May.
A two days seminar on the relation between words, sound and musicality in contemporary performing arts practice.
In this seminar we are interested in researching and discussing different working methodologies and approaches to treating text in performance, questioning traditional notions of interpretation and analysis, exploring text as musicality, sound and movement.
Invited key note speakers are: Selome Voegelin (UK), Mette Edvardsen (NO), Pieter Verstraete (NL), Tore Vagn Lid (NO), in addition to Karmenlara Ely, Electa Behrens, Camilla Eeg-Tverbakk and Øystein Elle.
Together with Birgitte Fjeld Bjørsvik I am directing and composing the music theatre piece “Trans Port” This will be made together with Act 12 at NTA. The rehearsal period will be in two sections, consisting of a workshop in May, and a production period in September-October 2015. More info will come later…
Until then, this is a preliminary description. A lot might change…As often I am starting by a concern about language, sound and the importance of the constant expansion of the sounding languages.
In the beginning was sound.
If so the human mind lies in the language, this consciousness is related to time. Thus can earlier awareness be stored in the language, and you will, through language, sound and symbols gain access to earlier experiences, and bring it to new generations. When the younger generations, through social and personal media is spending more and more time on attention, at the expense of cognition. Will then Memento mori cease to exist? – On Facebook, snapchat, instagram… there is “right now” that is important.
We will develop a performance in which sounds, voice, the musical and rhythmic composition is equated with the text’s immediate, meaningful content, both in the narrative structure, and content.
We want to achieve a total fusion of music, text, space and movement. We wish to see what a profound musical adaptation of the linguistic sounds can give to the narrative, the understanding and the experience of text. Will the aural, visual, and often abstract treatment of the text be able to illuminate and give a deeper understanding of the thematic content?
Our title TRANS PORT refers to the meaning of the word «trans» that means means beyond, over, on the other side, and «port» that means opening, entrance, passage.
Our theme can be said to be the relationship between past, present and future. The transitions between them are invesigated and reflected upon. We experience that communities tend to fear a downfall where an imminent transition, or transformation is near.
Cf. Wittgenstein, the language sets the limits of our consciousness. Where do we go if the language sounds is not beeing maintained or developed. We will examine «youth language» to examine what kind of significance that language can have if it is challenged by sonic compositions and inserted into an artistic context.
In many religions and philosophies, e.g Hinduism and budhimsm it is claimed that the sound came first. The sound generated the creation of the universe. This sound is referred to as the “Aum.” In the Bible it says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”
As one of two textual bases, and a starting point for the development of the text we will use the old Edda poem Voluspa. We will use fragments from this 66 stanzas long poem both Old Norwegian, Nynorsk and Bokmål. In Voluspa we hear Crone’s reflections on the past and present, and her gloomy predictions for the future, Armageddon and visions of the new world.
Voluspa is the opening poem in the Codex Regius, which was probably written towards the end of the 900s. A Crone asked do do so by Odin, about the past, present and future in short bursts. With allusions to familiar myths we get a representation of the worlds history and process. Some scholars see the story as linear, others as cyclical. Voluspa is not just a poem about the end of the world, but an apocalypse that has the further purpose to reveal the cosmic game. Apocalypses are known from many cultures like the Iranian and the Indo-European. The world is created, unfolds and perish in large, cyclical timelines. Voluspa is divided into three sections that discribes the past, present and future. Part one describes the creation, (stanzas 1-29), part two describes the decay (stanzas 30-44) and part three describes the downfall (stanzas 45-59). Finally, the vision of the new world (stanzas 59-66).
Society, both historically and in the present seem to have an urge to believe in, and a fear of the apocalypse. E.g Nostradamus predictions about the destruction of civilization, the reported collapse at the millennium, the Mayan calendars end in December 2012, and the “war against terror” as it is seen in the USA after 9/11/2001. Is there a necessity for people to have a threat to deal with, the total collapse, the destruction or the selection. Is the forthcoming apocalypse an underpass or a transition? If there is a transition, what is it a transition to?
The second basis for our scene text will be drawn from interviews with young people aged 14-18 years. We will interview young people from different backgrounds about their views on, and thoughts about the future.
We will together with the actors create questions. We will keep the questions quite open, circling around how they see the future, their own future, our society, political challenges, globalization….
…- and if we will ever experience an apocalypse, what happens next?
By asking these questions, and let the young people reflect on this, we bring the questions about the future of the earth from “authorities” or the art of divination and down to “the people”
In the modern text we develop through these interviews we will let the youngsters get the role the Crone has in “Voluspa”
By letting the current young generation reflect upon the big questions about where we come from, where we are, and where we are going, we could get interesting insights into their consciousness and could put this in the context of the earliest Norwegian writings we know that revolves about the same topic.
Like the form of the stanzas, the folk songs (Stevene) and the textual structure of Voluspa have a historical basis and is decisive in how the words sound, today’s youth language, and their sociolects is significant in terms of the language tone and musicality. We will deliberately use “youth language” with its seemingly pointless helpwords such as: «Lissom bare, han bare og jeg bare, hvaskjera, og så bare, særiøøøøst, sææærlig, saaakli, ææææ, and so on. This rhythm and texture will meet the rythm and texture of Voluspa, and we will utilize the dynamics that occur.
Through improvisation with language, fragments of text, words, sounds in the language, we will create the text sonically and content both from Voluspa and directly from the interviews with youths. Young people’s stories and reflections will also be included as a source and inspiration for textual sequences we create.
Our concept can be divided into three. One is text components, as described above, the second is the form we want to explore and develop. The third is the physical and mental cognition, we will try to achieve with a receptive audience. The piece will be built up as a sonic composition, where every word and every sound that words and sentences are constructed of will be treated as noises and sounds from an instrument. We will see what such intrumental / contemporary musical approach gives to the text and and the thematic substance. Through the artistic treatment of the text extracted from interviews with young people, we will see what kind of awareness we can find in this versus the awareness we think is stored in the language of Voluspå. The expression will focus on the performative, musical, physical and emotional. Emotions personifies text more than clear characters. Close to some forms of contemporary dance.
The American researcher Mark Wittler at the University of Virginia has captured the sound of the universe creation process, which he describes as follows: “The sound of the universe first million years, is beginning as something between a chord and a bouldering, which is becoming ever deeper and with ever increasing volume. After a while the sound of the universe changes into a hiss. The aftermath of «The big bang» is called cosmic background radiation, which scientists have been able to photograph and capture the sound of. Thus they reconstruct the sound of the universe’s creation. The sound is too deep to be captured by the human ear, but by filtering the sound digitally, and lifting it 50 octaves it is to be heard loud and clear in the recording. The sound is not unlike the mantra “Aum” which is used to make contact with the physical universe.
We may call TRANS PORT a performance-theater-concert in choreographed composition. The performers are on stage at all time. Dramaturgicaly we will work melismatic, sequences can represent states and associations. Although we will allow ourselves time jumps, and jumps between actual and fictional realities, we have always «Voluspa» and the sonata forms trinity in mind. Creation – maturity – doom and an epilogue, the vision of the new world. And we end where we began, in the sound of the universe as it still appears in the cosmic background radiation, in a circular dramaturgy.
The breath and the human voice, will give sound to the word and language. The language of the performance contains lyrics that are created at each end of a relatively long timeline of approx. 1100 years. In addition to that language embodies its times consciousness, language can create both a social reality and a fictional reality.
Through a circular dramaturgy, we could go in and out of these realities, and evoke associations through the choice of sounds and language. By using highly contrasting linguistic time images, we get significant differences between the social reality that is our rising generation linguistic universe, and the historical reality that is stored in the old Norse poem Voluspa. We will also explore how through musical processing we may allow these disparate languages, words and thoughts come closer to each other in subjective experience, and thus create a collective fictional reality. We will seek to decontextualizate the language and the consciousness that it embodies and let it appear in a neutral space, with a meaningful content just by virtue of itself.
With the trinity (past, present and future) we find in the Voluspa as a starting point, we will link this to the music form “sonata form” with its A – B – A sections. A section may also have a epilog theme, which in Voluspa we could see as “vision of the new world” with this rules for the presentation of the play’s themes and structure, we give ourselves the framework to work from, without following these dogmatic .
The content and interpretation will be developed through exercises, compositions and improvisation with the performers. The text will be used as the basis for aural, vocal, rhythmic exploration where we can process the sounds that are available in the words and the voice from the abstract to the concrete inter alia by working with accentuation, rhythm, polyphony, dissonance, consonance, solo and choir.
A tight choreographic work, and expression of voice, text, sound, body represents the overall composition, as a group, as individuals who stand out from the group, duos and trios. We will create a tension and a bridge between the sound and the physicality through working the expressions with and against each other.
A violinist can produce a wide range of pitch, timbre, tone qualities, textures, accentuations – Sounds. That is the same as to all other instruments. These opportunities for different sounds and qualities is used by composers in the creation of instrumental music works.
The human voice has the same opportunities as instruments. This is to some extent used in contemporary musical compositions include choral, and even in the opera genre.
The speaking voice and the singing voice is the same “instrument” Every vowel and any consonant can be used in different ways, thus giving different timbres and qualities. When these letters are put together to form words, they are being charged with the attack, dynamics, pitch and tone quality that is used by the practitioner. This can give the listener a subjective understanding of the text.
The linguistic contrasts in our text can be done clear for example by letting a musical / linguistic texture based sequence from the Crone’s predictions be contrasted with stylized intermezzi consisting of todays language / conversation (and thus of thought and consciousness) in a rhythmic structure, as a composed “contemporary opera” in micro format by two or more singers / actors in a dialogue. How will textual meaning meet through an overall musical structure, revolving around the same theme, but with consciousness and reality perception from different times.
We will seek to reach an aural, physical and visual, “Theater sonata” where our instruments are the actors voices, breath, bodies and presence.
Tones / sounds will be produced by the voice that pronounces consonants and vowels, ie words and phrases. This could happen in different tempi, pitch and tone qualities. Sounds will be stretched out and/or they can be short and accentuated. Sometimes intelligible as words, sometimes so far from conventional voice and language speed or timbre that it will be perceived more as a sound / song / texture. The ensemble might have the function as a chamber orchestra,
We will experiment with notation of a score during the composition of the piece, see how the performers can relate to a composition in the same way that musicians relate to the composer’s score.
We will also experiment with the use of instruments, processors, noise sources, it might include electric violins, guitars, and scenograpical material, and various other sources that we can integrate in the textual and sonic whole, where it can build up under or breaking musical structures in the text-based composition.