Here at Spaceship Echo, we’re thrilled to announce the online premiere of the music video for Don’t Say A Word—a piece we commissioned back in 2015 from composer Pascal Le Boeuf—following the video’s inclusion in the 2018 Triskelion Arts Dance Film Festival. Check out the video—a collaboration with Kyle Marshall and Myssi Robinson, Four/Ten Media, and Echo Chamber—below! It’s a beautiful film, and we couldn’t be more excited to share it with the world.
Don’t Say A Word is an interdisciplinary collaborative work that presents an inversion of stereotyped gender-based behaviors through dance, spoken-word, music, and one-shot film. According to the theories of psychologists Bettina J. Casad and Breanna R. Wexler, gender presents a lens through which all people view their social environments, and stereotypes are “cognitive shortcuts” that allow us to “process large amounts of information quickly.”
Don’t Say A Word challenges our awareness of this process by inviting us to question how gender stereotypes affect our judgements, feelings, and actions. Both the text (in Arabic, voiced by cellist Aya Terki) and the choreography (by Myssi Robinson and Kyle Marshall) present characters that deliberately defy these stereotypes.
Bloody Lyre—it almost sounds like some peculiar American folk song. But instead, it’s a setting of radical feminist poetry! What draws you to Adrienne Rich’s work?
Conrad: “Political” predicaments are woven into the syntax of her work: for Rich it’s never a question of making a poem about politics; the poems take up their place within the scope of the problems that she fights. You can’t separate her activism from her art. Claudia Rankine (and a thousand others) was hugely influenced by Rich, and Rankine has carried this torch forward in work such as Citizen. In reading these poets you follow certain contours of thought that fill your head with questions. They put you on a path and then send you on your way, which is what I want my music to do.
The other thing that drew me to Rich was her use of ordinary language that feels so good to sing, and works on the low burner with occasional spectacular flares. The title refers to her image of a lyre that tethers the (aspirations for the) 21st Century to the 20th; the lyre/liar pun refers to her preoccupation with the idea that all language shuts out as much truth as it reveals. Continue reading “Interview With Conrad Winslow”→
When we first approached you about this commission, you mentioned this idea of a piece about each hour of the day. How did you settle on this idea & how did the writing of the thing morph the idea into the piece that we’ll be premiering in April?
Brian: I’ve had this idea kicking around in my head since at least 2008, but I didn’t really have the chops back then to write it. Our relation to the day is so embedded into each hour, I’ve always felt that each hour of the day has a distinctive color and energy. It varies a bit from day to day, but it’s definitely there. The piece turned out almost how I initially envisioned it, though some of the movements are a little longer. I wanted them to all be “micro movements” that stick to the point, are very simple, and last less than a minute. Most do just that, but that was very hard to successfully sustain over 24 distinct movements! Also, the idea of having the option for the performers to expand the single movements into a longer stand-alone movement was an idea that came a little later in the process. Continue reading “Interview with Brian Petuch”→
We’re excited to announce our spring concert happening at Spectrum, one of New York’s preeminent presenters and supporters of new music, on April 15th at 7pm. We’ll be giving the world premiere of music by Conrad Winslow (featuring acclaimed soprano Justine Aronson), Brian Petuch, and our Call for Scores winner, Caroline Mallonée, alongside music by one of the trailblazers from the New York School, Christian Wolff.
Check out our Facebook event for the concert, and we’re looking forward to sharing these brand new pieces with you soon in Brooklyn! Keep your eyes peeled for sneak peak into the rehearsal process.
Brian Petuch looking very excited about his mechanized percussion; Conrad Winslow looking contemplative.