Community of Objects

Community of Objects boxes at hcmf//
Community of Objects boxes set up for performance at hcmf//, Nov 2017

Community of Objects explores the private act of performing and the private space of the score within the situation of a public performance. The piece’s score is also its principal instruments – a collection of handmade paper boxes that are handled with gloves and bare hands, and which are destroyed during the performance.

The sounds of the piece are chiefly the sounds of paper-handling, crumpling, tearing, etc. These very quiet paper sounds are interspersed with sounds and actions prompted by the contents of the boxes, discovered by the performers over the course of the piece. The box contents (which are likely to be different at each performance) relate to the uses of boxes in everyday life, and to the material from which these boxes are made – paper.

Opening the boxes before the performance is forbidden, and as they are destroyed after they have been opened, the sense of private experience when performing this piece should be heightened – as the performer, you are the only person (apart from the composer) who will ever experience this set of boxes, and, crucially, you are the only person who will ever get to experience discovering the contents for the first time. It is hoped that the experience of performing the piece will be one of curiosity and occasional delight.

Community of Objects was written for Plus-Minus Ensemble, who gave the first performance at Bath Spa University in May 2017 and will perform it again in March 2018:

It has since been performed three times by Bastard Assignments. The following video was taken in the Britten Studio at Snape Maltings:

Audio-only recording of Plus-Minus Ensemble’s performance at City, University of London, 27 March 2018:

Peruse the performance notes (use full screen option for easier reading) or download the PDF (119KB)

Writing about Community of Objects

dot drip line line

Text score for a performed piece of any duration for any number of performers.

This piece is currently in development. At present, the intention is:

The score for this piece contains a simple text which each performer should use to create an entire notebook of variants which will serve as a handbook of ideas from which to develop a live performance version of the initial score. The notebooks should be displayed (open at a single spread) where the audience can see them at the performance. The variants may be drawn (using wet and/or dry media), collaged, described, included as video or audio of a performance interpretation (performers may want to consider the use of QR codes to include these digitally recorded versions in their books), or any other form or media that comes to mind.

The final performance may take any form the performer chooses. Performances that are created as scores become separate but related works, which can be performed in future by performers who have not undertaken the notebook process.

Current scores developed from dot drip line line are:

trainlines

trainlines is a piece for private performance on an intercity train. It is a text score for an improvised performance consisting of simple drawing and listening, suitable for performance by people who don’t usually perform or draw. As it is a private performance, there is no need to announce what you are doing – it is simply performing for your own pleasure. Each performance will result in a unique drawing, some examples of which are displayed below.

If you have performed trainlines and are open to sharing your experience, I would love to hear your thoughts on the piece and see a photograph or scan of the resulting drawing. To share these, please email me at trainlines [ at ] caitlinrowley [ dot ] com or tag me on social media.

Download the PDF score of trainlines (36KB)

trainlines 1: Chippenham to Swindon
trainlines 1: Chippenham to Swindon, graphite on black paper
trainlines 2: Swindon to Reading
trainlines 2: Swindon to Reading, graphite on black paper
trainlines 3: Swindon to Didcot Parkway
trainlines 3: Swindon to Didcot Parkway, graphite on Post-It note
trainlines 22 March 2017: Marne-la-Vallee Chessy to Paris Gare de Lyon
trainlines 5: Marne-la-Vallée Chessy to Paris Gare de Lyon, graphite in Leuchtturm A5 notebook

Gravel

A site-specific text score written for Bastard Assignments’ Sound Walk With Me around Blackheath on 12 June 2016. This was part of Trinity Laban’s Diggin’ Blackheath event.

Gravel engages with the remnants of Blackheath’s many gravel pits which were quarried for limestone gravel in the 18th and 19th centuries. The ideal location for its performance (although not the one used for the event, due to various factors) is Eliot Pits (location on Google Maps) which is quite easily accessed from St Austell Rd, Blackheath.[Please note that Eliot Pits contains uneven and sometimes boggy ground.]

To perform this piece, you will need a small handful of gravel. Download the score here (PDF, 37K).

Performance of Gravel
L-R: Will Howarth, Timothy Cape and Sophie Shenton perform Gravel on Blackheath. Photography by Edward Henderson

Homesick Pieces

On an extended visit back to Australia after seven years away, I found myself homesick for England. The contrast between the soggy grey British early winter I’d left and the Australian summer I found myself in was extreme, and these pieces reflect those contrasts. Combining photographs of Australia with textual recollections of England, and each of them posted to a different recipient, they sit somewhere between art, imagined music and poetry and explore remembered and imagined sounds.

Homesick Piece No. 1: At 42 degrees Celsius
for Edward Henderson

Homesick Piece No. 1

 

Homesick Piece No. 2: After days of torrential rain
For Timothy Cape

Homesick Piece No. 2

 

Homesick Piece No. 3:  Tube mice
For Alexandra Kremakova

Homesick Piece No. 3

 

Homesick Piece No. 4: Lazy Saturday morning
For Josh Spear

Homesick Piece No. 4

Cake Piece

‘horrific’ ‘delicious’ (Responses to the premiere performance)

The first of a proposed series of experimental pieces involving cake. Cake Piece takes the simple act of cutting a cake into pieces and transforms it into something at first amusing, then dark and disturbing.

Cake Piece uses a text score and is suitable for performance by amateurs.

Photographs from the premiere performance by Caitlin Rowley (baking, voice) and Edward Henderson (knife) by Alex Waespi (click thumbnails for full image):

 

Drop (Not Schrödinger’s Cat)

“Put something in a box that will make a noise when dropped. It should not be obvious by looking at the box what noise it will make. Drop the box.”

Extending the concept of the video series HearSee, Drop (Not Schrödinger’s Cat) moves into the realm of live performance. A simple, even anti-climactic, piece, it uses the same ideas of what is unseen but heard as in the video pieces. It is up to the performer whether to reveal what is/was in the box after the performance or not. Audience members are welcome to guess.

Dropped box

parksong series

The parksong series – an ongoing series of experimental vocal works – are musical compositions presented in the form of visual art prints. Drawing on verbal scores, visual representation and subtleties of language, they are visual art which is music; recordings which cannot be listened to; scores which do not explicitly invite performance.

Developed as part of her 2013-14 MFA research project ‘At the Borders of Music, Art and Text: Exploring an Interdisciplinary Approach to Composition’, the ongoing development of parksong explores Caitlin’s interests in music, visual art, text and the challenging of artistic fear through a lens of amateur practice and private musical experience.

The series currently comprises the four works, three of which were developed during the project:

  • parksong
  • the line of my voice
  • i sing myself a circle
  • private static

The graphic elements of each piece are drawn or created manually, then scanned into photoshop where they are combined with digital text before being professionally produced as giclée prints on heavy art paper. At present only a single Artist’s Proof exists of each piece, although there are plans to produce an edition at some point and possibly a zine variant of the series when complete. If you would like to know more about these works and the edition plans, or to request notification when editions are available to purchase, please contact Caitlin.