Our company, Temporary Distortion, explores the potential tensions and overlaps found between practices in visual art, theater, cinema and music. The group works across and between disciplines to create performances, installations, films, albums and works for the stage.
MY VOICE HAS AN ECHO IN IT is a six-hour, installation-based performance with live music, text and video. The performance takes place in a 24-by-6-foot hallway, which completely encloses the performers in a freestanding, soundproof box. Spectators watch the performance through two-way mirrors at listening stations positioned along the outside perimeter of the installation and are provided headphones with individual volume controls for hearing everything happening inside. The audience can see inside the box, but the performer can only see his or her reflection. Viewers are encouraged to freely come and go throughout the six-hour duration of the event.
MY VOICE HAS AN ECHO IN IT places each member of the audience in control of how they experience the performance—duration, attention, volume and perspective are all choices that can be made with individual autonomy. Each spectator determines when to arrive and when to leave. The work is situated somewhere between theatrical performance and gallery installation— extending the boundaries of both forms.
We believe this project embodies the exploratory and transformative spirit outlined by the Curatorial Team on USITT’s website by creatively challenging the conventions of performance in numerous ways. The aesthetic choices found in this project center on the individual presence of each viewer, as they personally determine how to engage with the work on various levels. Beyond the ways in which this project stretches the formal conventions of performance and installation, we feel this project also reflects the approach prescribed by Robert Edmond Jones— treating each element of the work as part of an organic whole. Technology is used to create intimacy and disrupt the habitual means of viewing theatrical performance. It is in the totality of these choices and the way they frame the viewer’s experience of the theatrical event that the true meaning of the work can be found.
MY VOICE HAS AN ECHO IN IT was commissioned by EMPAC / Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY, where it will premiere in October, 2014. Work-in-progress performances have previously been staged at The Watermill Center (Water Mill, NY), Via Festival (Maubeuge, France), Maison des Arts de Créteil (Paris, France) and Stereolux (Nantes, France). Additional performances are scheduled for January, 2015 in New York City as part of Performance Space 122’s COIL Festival.