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
- 20 June 2017 – Curiosity Inspired the Cat, by David May
- 28 September 2017 – Interpretation, personality and non-rehearsable music, on this site
- 9 January 2018 – The Intimate Score: Prioritising performer experience in Community of Objects by the composer, published by Question journal
- 11 April 2018 – Anti-theatricality, on this site