The Former World, by John P. Hastings, is a multi-media essay on ‘deep time’, geologic history, the environment, humanity, and the artist. The work uses two focal points: the life and writings of the artist Robert Smithson and the writer John McPhee’s tome on American geologic history, Annals of the Former World. This performance will feature two performers with video projection, acoustic guitar, stereo playback, roadside garbage, and mobile speakers.
Benjamin Mayock is a collector. Video, audio, flotsam, jetsam, detritus and debris line the compartments of his compositions. His latest project is taken from a series of guestbook entries gathered from hostels, lean-to’s, kiosks, cabins, hotels, motels, and the like. Benjamin will be performing a piece called “Wharf Rat” with text sourced from a guestbook entry penned by an anonymous and recent prison-parolee. The author’s words are an earnest reflection on free time, solitude and unlocked doors during a post-prison visit to an off-the-grid cabin in Vermont. The text of “Wharf Rat” will be spoken over pre-recorded and live music performed by Benjamin Mayock and John Hastings.
Andrew C. Smith‘s How To Get There From Here is a piece for solo speaking voice that transforms the phrase “we remember not the word, but the sound of the word” in three ways: at the level of the phoneme, the letter, and the semantic meaning. The first movement is drawn from 1,600 segments of speech arranged first as a fixed media electronic composition and then transcribed into International Phonetic Alphabet symbols for human performance. The second is a transformation on the letters themselves, moving from one word to the next by making simple edits: adding, removing, or editing letters. The final movement finds elements of the phrase in historical English texts by Austen, Brontë, Carroll, Chaucer, Joyce, Hobbes, Melville, Shakespeare, Wells, and the King James Bible.
Reconstruction, for solo speaking voice and electronics, is a poem and performance dealing with memory, writing, and the way that one affects the other. The electronics consist entirely of fragments of speech drawn from the live performance, rearranged to yield an absent text that is not spoken.