Can you see me??!?!??!

Saturday, 17 April 2010

A choir as big as the Internet.

185 voices from 12 countries join a choir that spans the globe: "Lux Aurumque," composed and conducted by Eric Whitacre, merges hundreds of tracks individually recorded and posted to YouTube.

I heard somewhere once that the measure of a city's cultural capital was the number of choirs it has. Isn't it wonderful that in spite of the choristers sitting alone in their rooms, they are able to produce this? Seems like the next step forward from projects like A Bicycle Built for Two Thousand, a project by Aaron Koblin and Daniel Massey, another of my favourite web experiments.

If you compare the two pieces, deconstruction of the physical proximity is obvious. Distinct bits of a work joined together. I've sung in choirs before - Handel's Messiah with Mum & Sister & our friend Jo, in fact - so I've felt joy in deliberate collective (choral) action in a physical place. There's really nothing like it. But now, suddenly, perhaps there is. Even just the look of ethereal joy on the solo soprano's face in Whitacre's (albeit slightly cheesy) performance seems like some sort of transcendence. To me at least. Even in spite of the oddness of imagining the other 184 people singing their hearts out in isolation in their bedrooms.

The polyphony of Whitacre's piece and re-use of A Bicycle Built for Two are both interesting projections of the internet. Those all-major-keys-all-at-once and that-song-that-lots-of-people-know both reflect a curious breadth of us.

Reminds me too of a fabulous video piece I saw SFMoMA some time ago, ON VIEW by Candice Breitz, although that construction seems more terrestrial in some way; not contrived to be created and exist solely on the internet.

Imagine 25 of the most ardent John Lennon fans simultaneously singing along to his first solo album, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band (1970), from beginning to end. Artist Candice Breitz gathered such a group, selecting Lennon devotees from around the world to individually pay tribute to their idol. Displayed on 25 screens, the resulting video installation, Working Class Hero (A Portrait of John Lennon) (2006), synchronizes the fans' performances in off-kilter harmony. The impassioned chorus sings for 39 minutes and 55 seconds (the exact length of the album).

Breitz edits. Koblin and Massey manipulate. Whitacre conducts. I'm not sure why this jumped out at me. Feels like there's a butterfly flapping its wings somewhere.

Posted at 6:43 pm

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