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Echo Echo

2013, Site-specific Performance/ Installation
Size variable; opera singers, metal plates, motors

In a former underground water reservoir  I realized a performative installation with eight opera singers. Leaning on the story of Echo and Narcissus I composed a four act musical piece for the specific space- that has a incredible long time of reverberation. The tunnel-like round space is divided in 32 open chambers. In every 4th chamber one singer was placed and only them and their chambers were illuminated. The audience moved through the space, passing the singers closely.

In the first act I wanted to refer to Echos pre-Narcissus time, where the nymph was gossiping for the gods. The singers each sing continuously one note of the tonal ladder (CDEFGABC). While the viewer moves within the space, the tonal ladder is made audible through his/her movement, like being a play button.

In the second act Echo lost her ability to choose her own words. The first 2 singers sing the original tune while the following 3 couples repeat the tune but slightly change it’s intonation.

The third part places all the opera singers in front of 6 metal sheets, singing for several minutes as high as they can. It signifies the ending of the myth where Narcissus rejects Echos love and falls in love with his mirror image in a lake instead. Because of the large metal plates in the back, the high frequencies do cancel each other out, which results in an intriguing but painful new resonance body in the ears of the viewers. The sound waves tangle in the outer ear and it becomes physical.

In the last act, the singers are no longer present and the metal plates begin to make sound by themselves. Each of the six plates has a different tone, depending on the metal and pulling force. Small motors pull each plate back and quickly release them, creating a large dripping sounds; a repetitive echo.