Lava to rock, fossil to fuel – Shifting Ground is a performance and installation that draws parallels between geological transformations and those found within the human race. Media artist and performer Zoe Scoglio unites object manipulation, physicalised sounds and interactive projection mapping and ceremonial participation in a journey from the cosmic to the concrete. The boundaries between human and rock melt away, as the presence of the earth’s minerals is revealed in the structures we create, the tools we use, and the bodies in which we live. Shifting Ground looks at our ever-changing relationship to geological substances, exploring the idea that all forms are temporal and metamorphic. In a society defined by its seemingly solid and indestructible cities, Shifting Ground aims to reminds us of the impermanent and fleeting nature of our time on this earth, and our symbiotic relationship with the elements that form it.
Death and the Powers: A Robot Pageant is a new opera by composer Tod Machover at the MIT Media Lab, in collaboration with the American Repertory Theater. It is a one-act, full evening work that tells the story of Simon Powers, a successful and powerful businessman and inventor, who wants to go beyond the bounds of humanity. Reaching the end of his life, Powers faces the question of his legacy: “When I die, what remains? What will I leave behind? What can I control? What can I perpetuate?” He is now conducting the last experiment of his life, passing from one form of existence to another in an effort to project himself into the future. Whether or not he is actually alive is a question. Simon Powers is himself now a System. His family, friends and associates must decide what this means, how it affects them, and whether to follow. New performance technologies for Death and the Powers are being developed at the MIT Media Lab, including a new technique of Disembodied Performance to translate Simon’s offstage performance into an expressively animated stage. Other novel “instruments” include a Musical Chandelier and a chorus of robots.
COMPOSER, CREATIVE DIRECTOR: Tod Machover
LIBRETTIST: Robert Pinsky
STORY: Randy Weiner, Robert Pinsky
DIRECTOR: Diane Paulus
PRODUCTION DESIGNER: Alex McDowell
CHOREOGRAPHER: Karole Armitage
VISIONARY TECHNOLOGY: MIT Media Lab
World premiere: 24th September 2010, Salle Garnier Monte-Carlo
United States premieres with the American Repertory Theater in Boston and at Chicago Opera Theater (March and April 2011).
Based on Christopher Marlowe’s drama »The massacre at Paris«, Wolfgang Mitterer paints an acoustic picture of destruction, conspiracy and the thrill of power. His protagonists virtually rid themselves of their identities, turning into typological representations of different points of view. The concrete electronic sounds used by the composer throughout the score as realistic sprinklings push aside the historical dimension and fragment the chronology of the narrative. The ensemble follows the score, which uses a graphical notation so as to leave the musicians room to find their own expression. A highly intense experience!
»Mitterer belongs to the long line of composers for whom music is not transcendental, whose music neither knows, nor searches for, the prophetic hereafter of eternal joy. His music plays on this side of heaven, in the run of the mill, resounding in the deaf stone of the earth, there where – putting an end to divine judgement – “there is a stink of being” in the words of Antonin Artaud.« (quote from the booklet by Stéphan Roth)
“massacre” / nora petročenko, elizabeth calleo, valérie philippin, jean-paul bonnevalle, lionel peintre
remix ensemble, peter rundel
2008 live recording: théâtre de saint-quentin-en-yvelines / paris / by dominique bataille
joint production: T&M-paris, casa da música, festival musica strasbourg
released: col legno
World premiere 2003 at Wiener Festwochen.