U.S. premiere of dragonfly (for sensor-augmented flute and improvisation machine)
"Dragonfly" is a stereo, single-projection adaptation of "Escher's Dragonfly," a work originally calibrated for hanging transparent screens and four overhead projectors at the Zürich University of the Arts Immersive Arts Space. Although the differences between the two versions are pronounced, the core of both is the preoccupation of the performer's sonic, spatial, and temporal relationship with her improvisation machine. There is a palpable tension between the machine and its various fluid identities, among which include: an environment, a sonic extension of the human performer, and a distinct improvisation partner in counterpoint with the human performer.
The text fragments, a fleeting glimpse of the machine's narrative identity, flicker in response to the performer's playing and also freeze when the performer moves too wildly, almost as a protest from the machine to re-balance the audience's attention from its normally biased focus on the human performer. Yet, in this preoccupation of "who is in focus," one steps back and asks themselves, why do we struggle to escape dualistic references when describing this posthuman system? No concrete answers, but as one such text fragment describes:
"When speaking of the machine as a gradient being fading into its human counterpart, we speak of an 'almost,' we speak of an approach, like the feeling of getting so close to the sun as to feel its heat but not close enough to burn completely--the feeling of being almost alive. In this comfortable distance, we can imagine flesh and metal as two sides of the same coin, chance encounters. Like Schroedinger's cat, to make a concrete observation is to forfeit the possibility of an alternate reality. So we choose to preserve the ambiguity and the "otherness" of the situation. Indeed, there is an assumption of difficulty engulfing it all--difficulty as distance, difficulty as trance, and also despite that, the continual forward-motion that all time arts exhibit, like the force of walking underwater."
Composition/programming: Melody Chua
Performer: Julianna Eidle
Improvisation "machine": AIYA
Audio recording: Sean Hamilton
Video recording: Brendan Sweeney
Post-production: Melody Chua
Full video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0P8Ruzb4dLg
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