Today: Workshop with 18 young people from DIS – Danish Institute for Studies Abroad.
On the menu:
Building the collective through: gesture imitation, gesture merging, jibberish, jibberish emotionalized, emotionalizing the space by attributing an emotional state to each corner.
Totemizing the collective. Dividing the group into 6 “tribes”, with “totems” borrowed from our natural biotope, ie elements from free commercial postcards, such as “queen”, “beer”, “car”, “art run”, etc.
Building immaterial instruments. Each “tribe” created an “instrument”, only using what was at hand, with the constraint of using the principle of either an idiophone, membranophone, aerophone, chordophone, electrophone, none-of-the-above-ophone.
With the sound from the “instruments” recorded, and after a break, we proceeded to performing collective improvisations, a “chorus” using microphones to form the “instrumental” sounds with their voices, “dancers” conducting the chorus by moving in the emotional space. etc.
So, we want to work with sound as a means of building a culturally sustainable collective, and we want to do it in an open, intuitive, sufficiently challenging, though comfortable way. This workshop is designed for groups of adults and young adults. It is aiming at providing the group with tools and methods for building the collective through non-verbal means.
The workshop is intended to be a supplement to contexts where people are working with new ways of living, towards economical, ecological and social sustainability. This might be in connection with conferences, festivals, theme days in education, or seminars in organisations.
Building Sound Collectives
1 – 2 hours
Young adults and adults
12 – 20
Where is it relevant?
In organisations, in education, at festivals and events with a focus on sustainability
A larger room with free floor space. If outdoors, in a quiet, private place.
Computer, audio interface 8 in 8 out. Four microphones. Four (homemade) instruments with (contact) mics. Four smartphones. Wifi. A “magic square” 3×3 meter on the floor marked with adhesive tape. A pair of loudspeakers.
1) to find the groups “common core gesture”; 2) to develop new gestural expressions from the core gesture 3) to find our way to imitate gesture through sound 4) to create a collective electroacoustic composition
Expressing ourselves in sound is one of our most efficient modalities to reach out to each other, and to try to understand each other’s worlds. But there is no sound without movement. This is true on a fundamentally physical level. It is also true on what we could call a meta level. When we are expressing emotional content, we are imitating physical movement with our voices.
Therefore, we want to start with gesture. We want to explore gesture as something that members of the group are already using as a means of expression in their everyday lives. And we want to experiment with ways of imitating our gestures through sound.
The workshop comprises six parts.
Our first aim is to search for what I would call a common core gestural phrase
In pairs. A comes with a gesture. Any gesture. B imitates it and adds a variation. A imitates B’s variation and add another variation.
Each pair present one gestural phrase that they liked. The rest of the group imitates.
Now everyone moves around in space. Each participant performs the gestural phrase they have selected, and when seeing another participant he/she will try to merge to two gestures.
All gestural phrases will eventually merge into one.
This is group’s core gestural phrase
In this part we will improvise in different ways with gesture based on the core gestural phrase. Imitating with other body parts; varying the size of the movements; making supplementary gestures, filling out the “blank spaces”.
This way, we develop a common new gestural grammar, and a living library of movements for the group.
Sound on top. This is where we work with imitating gesture through sound
in pairs. A performs a gestural phrase from the ‘library’. B imitates with sound.
In the whole group, the pairs give samples of their work, showing a gestural phrase and the corresponding sound phrase. The group imitates the sound phrase, with sound
Sound from the bottom
The group records one sound from each of the four homemade instruments. This might be done in a break by some of the participants.
Collective electroacoustic improvisation
The group is divided into three groups of four: a gesture group, a voice group, and a remote control group.
The gesture group will move around inside and out of the square, using gestures from the collectives’ library.
Each member of the sound group will imitate one of the gesture performers with their voices. Each of the four sound group members has a microphone, and their phrases form the previously recorded sounds from the homemade instruments, live.
Each of the four members of the remote control group use a smartphone to follow the movements in the magic square of one gesture person.
During this improvisation, in the loudspeakers we will hear the sound of the four homemade instruments
formed by the voices of the sound group (intensity and pitch)
moving in soundspace according to the position (left – right, back – front) of the sound group members in the magic square
The collective improvisation is recorded. After the collective impro, everyone listen to the recording.
New impros can be made. New experiments tried out. New sounds from the homemade instruments used.
For each new impro, people switch roles. Ideally, everyone tries all the different roles once.
If there are enough people, a possible variation is to have a group of “musicians” adding new sounds from the homemade instruments, according to the movements of the gesture group.
See an example of a street performance using a similar approach, in Cali, Colombia, here.