Monday 22nd February
Hallé St. Michael's, 19:30-22:00
sh[out] (2018, UK premiere)
Ritual I :: Commitment :: BiiM (2011)
Live Guy Dead Guy (2019)
Darren Gallacher (snare drum, Jessie Marino)
Craig Pollard / Competition
Arco (Neil Luck): Adam de la Cour (son/corpse), Chihiro Ono (mother/violin), Benedict Taylor (father/viola), Neil Luck (medium)
+ next-day coffee-shop talk
Dedicating our time to someone or something is a clear measure of commitment. Devotion may be one of our few means left to impart humanity onto this dying world, but what if our devotional abilities - romantic, religious or otherwise - have been co-opted by higher forms of authority?
We start in pieces, remnants of heartbreak, a gut-punch. Sonja Mutić’s ‘sh[out]’ sees romantic devotion crumble as language itself fails to comprehend heartbreak and emotional trauma. The tropes of the romantic power ballad are siphoned through one snare drum to ritualistically dizzying effect in Jessie Marino’s 'Ritual I :: Commitment :: BiiM', performed here by emerging Manchester percussionist Darren Gallacher.
Continuing with love-songs, we welcome Newcastle crooner Competition to sing
'grow(n)' from his 2019 album 'Repetitive Music', displaying grief frozen in time as an assemblage of scrap string loops and bruised, everyday vocals. Exalting the everyday to new heights is critical for Huddersfield sound artist Ryoko Akama, who joins us with a live sound-sculpture improvisation, devoting herself to the hums and buzzings of everyday items. A higher power is Romantically subverted in Chino Amobi’s film ‘ILLUMINAZIONI’. Blending corporate iconography, first-person-shooter VFX, American nationalism and the devotional music of Arvo Pärt, the mise-en-scene silhouetting our unwitting and intangible relationship with the powers that be.
We end with London-based performance group Arco and Neil Luck in a performance of the music-theatre mess-terpiece 'Live Guy Dead Guy'. A prodigal son returns home to his antiquated parents with his self-created digital avatar fiancé, asking for their blessing to leave his physical body in an act of suicide. As the performance unfolds, the clumsiness of digital communication and the ridiculousness of devotion are unflinchlingly brought to life.