A Novel in the Form of a Car Bomb (2010)
I created this piece to visualize a compositional process that intrigued me. In this system, two pentagrams overlap and the resulting intersection makes it possible for one note to simultaneously exist as four. This occurs when assigning each pentagram a separate clef and then rotating the system. The entire system is mapped onto the face of a compass and, as the central dot radiates outward in all 8 directions, sets of pitches and harmonies are born. Originally, ‘A Novel in the Form of a Car Bomb’ was an hour long outdoor concert performed by a live chorus, an octophonic vehicular orchestra (8 cars projecting sound in-sync), and a group of actors. The work was based on a novel that artist Mary Walling Blackburn wrote entirely on Twitter in early 2009 in response to violent car bombings that year.
Galactic Underworld (2011)
A couple years ago I stumbled across an intriguing article about the Mayan calendar. The article was written as a reaction to the social mania that occurred as a result of the 2012 supposed end-of-the-world date. However, inside the article was an overview of a cycle of time in the Mayan calendar, as conceived of by the eccentric Swedish biologist turned anthropologist named Carl Johan Calleman. Calleman proposed that the Mayan calendar be seen as a series of 9 creation cycles or Underworlds. These Underworlds, he argues, are like cosmic or evolutionary wave movements that influence and signal tremendous socio-economic transformations based on shifting human (and world) consciousness. The 9 creation cycles are furthermore ordered into logarithmic calendars, which are capable of visualizing very large (billions of years) and small (days) periods of time with few numerical symbols. These incredible calendar visualizations in turn inspired this piece and its system. Here the notation system is structured so that act of drawing triangles produces melodic and harmonic material, and the speed of these triangulations propel the rhythms.
In 1857 Amos Eno bought the site on which the famed ‘Flatiron’ building would stand. In the early days of the twentieth century people would gather in Madison square to watch election results projected onto its facade, via magic lantern, from adjacent buildings. My lack of money and political connections prevented me from projecting this piece directly onto the Flatiron but in partnership with Make Music New York I was able to project on the building across the street. In dot-matrix style I created a series of gestural notation elements, inspired by sound-painting techniques, which could overlap, loop, reverse, etc. With a midi-controller and VJ software I composed onto the skyscrapper. A group of brass musicians, standing across the street in Madison square, performed the score live.