Join Zeitgeist and Duluth composer/cellist/environmentalist Kathy McTavish for the world premiere of her new chamber work Hole in the Sky. Featuring electronic and acoustic music, video, and an interactive exhibition, Hole in the Sky explores a pre-apocalyptic world where extinction is imminent and our ecosystem is on the verge of collapse. Drawing on McTavish’s past work in ecosystem modeling, the work considers the delicacy of ecosystems, our human quest to recover those systems, and what it might mean to be the last of a species left alive.
I created an early sketch of this work for the 2013 Zeitgeist Composer Workshop funded by the Jerome Foundation. This opportunity "is a five-day workshop designed to give emerging composers the opportunity to develop creative ideas and stretch their artistic boundaries in an environment that celebrates exploration and experimentation."
With further funding provided by The American Composers Forum JFund we have expanded the early sketch into a larger work that will be first shown live May 16-18 at Sudio Z. This work will also be released online in early May.
With this score for Zeitgeist, my goal was to create an immersive sound / video story world - to create a landscape for them to wander, resist, narrate, change. Zeitgeist has over 30 years of experience bringing new music to life. They are experienced improvisational musicians and they often work with non-traditional scores. The Composer Workshop provided an experimental space for exploring new forms and developing new work. It provided time and space for collaborative exploration in which the piece could evolve / transform / distill. I am grateful to Zeitgeist for sharing their creativity and rich soundscape with me. I took sound samples / core samples from our initial time together that I layered back into the larger fabric of the piece to create a geologic record / layered memory. This is an animated, open, shifting story created by our collaborative process. Various iterations are available online.
For the live performance of høle in the skY, I created a text / video / minimalist sound installation - a landscape - that encloses the 4 musicians. The core story revolves around planetary climate change / extinction. Specifically, the core text comes from a book I wrote in 2012 called: "night train / blue window" about the last passenger pigeon, Martha, who died in the Cincinatti Zoo September 1, 1914. Another text is laced throughout the piece in counterpoint. It is the story of a girl growing up on the Iron Range of Minnesota. This text is from the book: "Night Train Red Dust: Poems of the Iron Range" by Sheila Packa. It provides an intimate human voice in a sea of rapid climactic change.
As a composer, improvisational cellist and installation artist, I am interested in the ways we stain each other. I am drawn to episodic stories, evolving myths, wandering installations, shifting landscapes, phantom exhibits, street music, ephemeral / improvisational / vanishing spaces, inarticulate languages, loose collaborations ... the infinite between. høle in the skY is part of a larger wandering, episodic journey I took for about a year called radiø plutø / the schøol of impermanence. I think of this as a collaborative story caravan. I drew inspiration for the form from things like the Arabian Nights / Canterbury Tales or from loosely structured grassroots movements like idle no more. This journey was enriched by collaborations with cross-disciplinary artists that I worked with along the way. I kept thinking about story looms, the act of weaving ... or graffiti.
The høle in the skY project is funded by the American Composers Forum JFund.