About Chorus

site test for Chorus, exterior of Kohlberg Hall, Swarthmore College

Chorus is a project I am developing for the Swarthmore College campus, to be installed fall 2018.  It consists of a series of video projections and a live performance, to take place outside in the quad between the Science Center and Kohlberg hall, on the north end of campus. Chorus is about expressive human gesture, specifically breathing, and how a breath can take on poetic potential as it relates to voice, song, and speech.  Chorus is also about taking the idea of intellectual discourse, and turning it into sound – making a song out of it – and in particular a song with many and diverse voices.

Chorus is based on an earlier project of mine, called Siren, which uses spinning projectors and a vocalist singing notes for as long as her breath can sustain.  When she sings, her image steadies, and when her breath runs out, it spins rapidly until she catches her breath and sings again.  In Siren, I used porthole-like screens and three of these spinning projectors, and my one vocalist’s voice would become a duet or a trio, singing constantly shifting combinations of these single, breath-long notes.

For Chorus, I plan to take this project outside, and project these spinning videos very large, on the faces of the buildings around the north quad. Chorus will evolve over the course of four nights, with each night adding a new projection, so it will grow from solo to duet to trio to quartet. I will also use four Swarthmore student vocalists, and have these different voices mix and blend throughout that public space as people walk through it.

The final night of the project, I will create a short live performance. The four vocalists will assemble on a temporary stage at the center of the quad, at the same time as the four large-scale projections are playing all around.  The idea is for the live singers to sing breath-length, individual notes, accompanying their video selves, and going from four voices to eight in a loosely structured improvised vocal performance.  The performance will last about 15 minutes, and will highlight the voices of students who are willing to collaborate, listen, be in the moment, and add their unique voices.

 

 

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