CAITLIN ROWLEY
composer

Paper

for cello and video

Paper, performed by Sarah James

Paper, performed by Sarah James at Bastard Assignments: New Teeth 4. Photo by Dimitri Djuric

Paper for cello and video works with sounds suggested by interactions with paper – drawing, erasing, cutting, crumpling, and allowing paper to uncrumple itself – sometimes imitating the sound that would be made, sometimes translating those sounds into more ‘musical’ versions. The piece uses a video score, which is also projected for the audience to see. However, the audience also sees additional material after the cellist has finished playing, allowing for a closer observation of the visuals without the distraction of sound and for the possibility of the audience being able to recreate the sounds associated with the imagery in their imaginations.

The visuals show the composer interacting with paper and follow an increasingly detailed trajectory – from wide-angle shots showing the composer’s workspace down to very close-up footage revealing the texture of the paper used and playing with focus.

There are clear correlations of sound to visuals throughout the piece with sonic/technique relationships sometimes tying together visually disparate imagery.

Paper makes much use of extended techniques and while simple in form poses challenges for the performer of timing and theatrical awareness to pull together the performance and the video so that the cellist onstage is a critical visual element in the piece.

Paper from Bastard Assignments on Vimeo.

First performance: 10 February 2017, by Sarah James at Bastard Assignments: New Teeth 4 at Hackney Showroom, London