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An Opera of Clouds : Time and Space in mixed media performance

By Christine McCombe


In this paper the author/composer will discuss her mixed media work ‘An Opera of Clouds’ with reference to the perception and experience of Time and Space in a performance or installation context. “An Opera of Clouds‿ is a hybrid work consisting of chamber music, electroacoustic composition and spoken text with live sound diffusion and video projections. Through combining these different technologies and performance media the work aims to explore various temporalities and imaginary spaces. This paper will discuss the compositional process and structure of “An Opera of Clouds‿ and, by focussing on the use of audio and visual technology in the work, will explore the composer’s approach to perceptual Time and Space. Critical analysis and discussion will be based on the aesthetic and temporal theories of Susanne Langer and Jonathan Kramer as well as referring to the work of Sean Cubitt on the aesthetics of digital art and Gaston Bachelard’s seminal work ‘The Poetics of Space’. In this paper I will discuss the relationships between the technologies incorporated in the work and the different levels of interaction between the sonic, visual and spatial elements. This interaction of technologies is central to the articulation and animation of the main themes of “An Opera of Clouds‿ – the strangeness and intensity of human experience, distance and disembodiment, and our perceptions of time and space. The use of various audio and visual technologies has allowed me to create a work which is part performance, part installation and which attempts to find new contexts for musical expression

Topics: 190409 Musicology and Ethnomusicology, Computer music, Mixed media, Time and space
Year: 2003
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