I had 19 people come through in a steady stream from 6pm. it was quite exhilerating and, again, i got to hear some amazing music and audio pieces - such a diverse stream. and some fantastic conversations about their significance to people, the relationship they had to their experience and what i heard.
OK Gallery is a great white cube space and I set it up with a supremely minimal setting - white chairs for the audience, stand lighting and two stools for me and my participants.
This performance was such an intense one for me because there are no low moments. All of them contain something amazing, shocking, interesting, emotional and intense. I can see a continuing thread of sensory overload in my work.
Some personal highlights included:
Two love songs - one written by one of the participants for her husband and the other a 'hype' song that got this woman through a couple of really tough break-ups. I was the only other person who had been given those songs (apart from the people in the relationship in question) and both became something other than those intensely meaningful songs in the process. I almost cried in both situations.
First time i have listened with children and it was amazing. Tillie danced like a maniac the whole time and we 'sang' the song together (Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious). She didn't need to 'hear' the song like some of the other adults and was completely at ease with enjoying the song. We danced like nobody's business.
I was given a song that was significant in the Swords and Sworcery game, which was an interesting musical piece, but more triggered more interesting discussion afterwards. I'm only a gamer in my imagination, so the song had little direct significance. But the rise of significant game tracks and what that means for people's perception of public space is an interesting one for me to think about.
I heard George Carlin speak about the craft of developing humour, which had a lot of similarities with the craft of developing performances. And I also got to hear an hilarious song by Beck - Satan Gave me a Taco, which had me laughing for almost the whole 4 minutes.
Religion. Sohan gave me a sermon from the Bible! An audio book version, read by a woman in a way that made it sound like a science fiction novel. [insert bible-bashing joke here. ahem]. Given its role in shaping culture and the relationship to listening, it was a surprising, but poignant choice.
I was also given a song that sounded like the muezzin from islamic countries singing the call to prayer - it took me straight back to Dubai and the constant musical underpinning of the day there.
Politics. The night finished off with the song Zimbabwe by Bob Marley and a discussion about politics and freedom in that country - on a day in which social activists were convicted for inciting rebellion against the government by showing videos of the Tunisian and Egyptian uprisings. It was an appropriate ending to an intense night.
Interestingly, only one person was disappointed that he had to sit there and wait whilst I got to listen and he had to bide his time. I quite like this controlled denial of sound. And an encouragement for that person to imagine instead.
UPDATE: More images coming soon, and a bit of a video. Some are already on the OK Gallery site.