Monday, August 11, 2014

Interstitial Traces (2012)

Interstitial Traces for alto and baritone saxophone, computer soundscape, and animation is a collaboration between French animation artist Celia Eid and myself. It was created while we were living on different continents – she in France and myself in Japan. 

In a way, the piece represents both of these cultural influences. The flowing, abstract gestures of the animation are very much in keeping with Celia’s Brazilian/French artistic nature while the sound world has its basis in field recordings I was collecting in Japan.

The title imagines those mysterious points of contact or overlap between and within the two media and across the intentions of the two artists. This liminal space explored through the creative process opens onto a shared experience where sound and image are merged.

In the creation of Interstitial Traces, active collaboration was fundamental to the process. Because we were dislocated by both time and space, the exchange of video and audio across the internet necessitated an open, two-way exchange over all aspects of the piece as it developed. In the end the delays and shifts in time across the globe provided positive flexibility as the processes of frame by frame animation and audio manipulation and editing moved forward at such different speeds. At various points in the process, each of us took the lead to shape the details while also opening up new areas for exploration.

The video seen here is a composite image of what, in performance, is split between two screens. The screens are located slightly behind the saxophone players and are separated by a few feet to enhance the motion of images moving from one screen to the other. In this performance you hear David Henderson, alto saxophone, and Kevin Baldwin, baritone saxophone. It was recorded at the studios of the University of the Pacific Conservatory of Music in Stockton, California.

Interstitial Traces begins with the saxophone duo alone - animation and soundscape enter at 28 seconds. All of the sounds used to create the soundscape for the video were collected as field recordings in Japan.