Brigid Burke MMus
This paper will discuss the methods and meaning of the poly-media processes represented in Blooms and Death as a live interactive performance composition. It will define polymedia will evaluating the media that is associated with creating Blooms and Death.
Blooms and Death incorporates sounds and images based on a series of graphics created following the transformation of a freshly cut bunch of yellow roses through to their grey death of decay. The visuals (video samples and stills) are layers of video footage displaying blowing yellow flowers, grey pencil drawings and layered scrolls of paintings incorporating the combination of computer transparencies of these images.
All the visual material has been treated extensively in various computer software packages to form this series of electronic artworks and video.
Blooms and Death explores many facets of poly–media in live performance, integrating through the audio, a response to the transformation of the dying roses employing breath sounds, and digitally processed clarinet with percussive processed piano sounds (performed by David McNicol), live processed acoustic environmental sounds, fans and the sampled video projections. The process of the disintegration of the roses and the response to this is explored through manipulation of sound and visuals to another timbral plane of textural ambience, colours and exploration in the context of poly-media. The music of Blooms and Death is scored for B♭clarinet, fan, live audio mulching (via laptop computer), multiple video projections and piano.
Definition of Polymedia
One performer, composer and visual artist creating a whole identity. The composition integrates acoustic sound, live audio mulching, acousmatic sound, live video mixing and fixed video during performance.
How will Polymedia be integrated in the process of the composition?
In the creation process of Blooms and Death, I the polymedia creator, make decisive day to day notes on the theme, the rose. The score and acousmatic pre-recoded audio is a combination of extended clarinet and piano techniques. Many of these extended devices on the clarinet and piano such as quarter tones, multiphonics, tri-tones, microtones, transformed clusters are reorganised and work cohesively to create sound clusters, by just changing how each of the devices are orchestrated. Blooms and Death score incorporates graphic notations especially in the 2nd and 3rd movements, that can be either literally or intuitively interpreted according to the ambience and sound world the musician’s are creating and visual setup of the space at the time of the performance. The process continues with manipulation of files into different layers and multi channels, concentrating on microtonal interaction between the samples. A similar process is applied to the visual materials including analysis of brightness, colour, contrast, duration, speed and complexity. The sound and image, influences the shape and analysis of each of the works. The imagery in Blooms and Death is a process of timing. Every image has a fade, so its all about the dissolve and the transformation in the image rather than in the fade. The layering of the transparencies with luma, chroma, speed (pulse), and cutouts dominate many of the visual samples. The aim is to make the still images move through these effects. The use of stained glass plug-in with the treated rose images is animated.
All these structures have given me freedom of process and uniquely affect the outcome of the piece. There is no correlation between the musical and video layers as the music is written at the onset and the animated video samples added afterwards, so as the creation of the musical composition has created movement in a cohesive whole.
Prelude starts the journey of Blooms and Death. It is for solo clarinet and visual shadows (video). The vivid rose is only seen in the distance as part of the many layers the movement is made up of. Movement 1 is scored for Bb clarinet, fan, multiple video projections and piano with audiovisual statements made through diffused fan and air sounds with thick clusters of sound of extreme registers and dynamics from the piano. The clarinet adds another layer of suspense with ambient long notes in low register of the clarinet that are coloured with quarter tones and tremolos. Movement 2 is scored as Movt.1 but with live audio mulching (via laptop computer). It emerges into transformed breath sounds moving into complex paths of high overtones and repeated notes as if conversing. Interlude brings new life to the red and blowing images in the fan of the image of red stationary rose and is fast and racy visually and audibly. Finally Movement 3 takes the vivid yellow roses, breath, acoustic clarinet and percussive piano sounds from images of slow decay but show new life in there transformation through diffused timings and multiple layers of images and sounds.
How will Polymedia be integrated in the process of performance?
The polymedia performer plays Bb clarinet, controls the audio samples through the laptop and visual samples through the interactive responses on the video mixer, which is directly influenced by the sonic output of the system. The performance is the creation of polymedia counterpoints on player-defined fragments, effectively enabling the musician to perform a time-extended improvisation. The visual output is based on an abstract representation of how the music is progressing. The audio and visuals are triggered manually through the laptop and video mixer. The outcome of the performance is fluid and reactive.
Throughout Prelude there is always a glimpse of age, death and familiarity as a tangible sound through the clarinet with the rose being familiar and beautiful visually. At the first performance of Movement 1 on 6th March 2011 a double image on the screen one with the fan switched on directly in front of the projector the other with the straight image. The result was quite astonishing and created the austere atmosphere that was envisaged. In Movement 2 there is much random computer effected samples which open up the free improvisational shaping leaving much of the decisions to the performers being intuitive with the pre-formulated material. This result means no two performances are the same. Interlude and Blooms and Death Movement 3 in performance are fixed or live audio mulching (laptop) so according to the set in the performance space which should be in the form of a movie theatre with surround sound, the out come is totally immersive with the integration of sound and visuals.
Blooms and Death1 Score PAge 1
Brigid Burke perfoming Italy GA 2011
Brigid with clarinet2 2011
Original Pics Blooms and Death
Blooms and Death score Page 10
Pencil Drawings (1)
page 5 Score Blooms and Death 2
Processed Blooms and Death
The performance work Blooms and Death demonstrates a creation of a balance that is sensitive to environmental thought and fluidity in polymedia performance. The polymedia attributes achieve the use of acoustic sound in a sound environment at the present time that is of processed sound. The meaning of creating a polymedia work is each voice enhances the other (the music and visual). The components of a live feed of the clarinet, piano and fans with the interactive mechanisms of video and audio mulching add a component that will captivate a moment of time. By encouraging interaction with adaptive sound as from the clarinet and visually engaging footage, one can enrich the creative possibilities of polymedia processes in art, and in particular music.