Apophenia

Music theatre piece, for percussion/actor, bass clarinet, double bass, low budget amplification devices and electronics.

October 2015, Musica festival, TNS, Strasbourg.

For percussion, bass clarinet, contrabbass, low budget amplification devices and electronics.

 

TNS, festvial Musica Strasbourg

Sébastien Clément actor/percussions

Valentin de Nicola double bass

Benjamin Mayer bass clarinet

 

le 104, Paris

Percussions - Acting: Richard Dubelsky

Bass clarinet: Mathieu Steffanus

Contrabass: Nicolas Crosse

Apophenia is both the human tendency to perceive meaningful patterns within random data and the pathologic obsession it may generate. This piece was sketched during a music-theatre workshop within Manifeste in Paris, under the guidance of Georges Aperghis. Its final version has been presented at the festival Musica in Strasbourg and has been produced IRCAM. Its dramaturgy deals with the relationship between sound and gesture, playing with the ambiguity technology introduces both visually and sonically.

The theme of Apophenia is a based on a "minor" conspiracy theory. The subject of this theory deals with the similarities between Lincoln's and Kennedy's lives and assassinations. Some coincidences are real, some are fictive, some come from misinterpretations or errors, but it is impossible (as for any conspiracy theory) to trace a neat line between reality and fiction, nor to clearly decide where certain narrative elements come from.

The piece develops like a sort of a public radio-drama and the manipulation of a technological interface, half-way between a quiz game button and a tape-deck remote control, is the element though which the dramaturgy develops, by putting into playback less and less meaningful snippets of audio recordings.

Music-wise the first part of the score is rather traditionally notated, but more the piece develops, more a mimetic relationship between music and text gets involved as well as a demanding interplay between the instrumentalists. More and more during the piece the text offers a guide to place instrumental interventions, but its rhythm (and thus of many musical interventions directly linked to it) is not fixed, and is left to the "struggle" of the musicians to follow the nuances of each reading. The piece demands the players to follow and anticipate, as precisely as possible, a trace that is though not completely foreseeable. This engages them to react to the “real time” changes, following cues that still keep a certain unpredictability. The second half of the piece, finally, has to be reconstructed almost as in an improvised electroacoustic piece, performing a montage of the elements on the base of a memory/sampling of the previous half.

Shadows and panels