Polydactyl Hearts Collective / Images Festival Co-Presentation
Saturday April 3
WAVELENGTH 501 / Part of the Images Festival (Live Images #2)
Polydactyl Hearts Collective (Creators of Le Cyc)
+ I Know Where I’m Going (Film by Ben Rivers)
@ Workman Arts, 651 Dufferin St.
9:30pm • $10 / $8 Images members
Polydactyl Hearts Collective
Combining innovative live music with evocative graphic art, Guelph’s Polydactyl Hearts Collective explores the performative intersections of sight and sound. Best known for the creation of Le Cyc, the “graphic novel bike opera” that debuted in 2008 and told the tale of a future, bicycle-powered dystopia, the PHC were commissioned by Wavelength to create a new piece to premiere at the 2010 Images Festival. Appropriately enough, as it launches Wavelength’s new era of monthly presentations, this new project centres on themes of transition and change through a series of short pieces.
The first segment combines projected drawings and paintings by Dave Willekes, synchronized with original music composed and performed by a six-piece orchestra. Willekes’ stop-motion visuals are created using a single canvas, photographed consecutively, as oil paints are applied, erased, and re-applied. The music – a sextet of electric bass, drums, piano, saxophone, violin and vibraphone – ranges from instrumental scores to lyrically driven narratives. Composed collectively, the music affects the painting process just as much as the painting and storyboarding affect the composition of the score: images correspond to specific timbres or melodic and metric changes within the music. Telling a story of a rapidly transforming world in which basic social structures begin to unravel as urban spaces morph over time, the performance examines how changing physical surroundings reflect the evolving ideologies of a society.
The second section of the project delves into language and communication, illuminating how speech and the transmission of digital information are processes dependant upon organized transitions. Further building on the visual compositions of the first performance, this piece uses synchronized live computer processing to manipulate both
sound and image.
Biological mutation and cell division are explored at a microscopic level in the project’s final segment. Tongues and teeth become visual metaphors for DNA strands as stop-motion paintings depict the process of cell mutation. Replicating the splitting of cells, the musical score is built around time signatures that constantly multiply and shift form to match the visuals. With musical and visual styles in constant flux, this new performance situates itself within various transitional phases in its attempt to shift our bias towards the means and not the end.
Polydactyl Hearts Collective is a multimedia music/art collective based in Guelph, Ontario. The collective is made up of musicians Eihab Boraie (vocals/piano/synthesizer), Claire Whitehead (violin), Martin Eckart (saxophone/clarinet), Dan Paille (percussion), Andra Zommers (vibraphone/vocals), and Brad McInerney
(bass) with artist David Willekes providing the projected visual component. Their last project, Le Cyc told the story of a dystopian bike powered future society.
I Know Where I’m Going
Film by Ben Rivers, U.K., 2009, 29m; 16mm anamorphic, color, sound
Powell & Pressburger’s heroine in their magical I Know Where I’m Going knows exactly where she’s going, and she tries to get there with stoic pig-headedness, but of course she doesn’t. I decided to follow her lead and make my destination the same as hers, but with every intention of getting lost, following false leads, and trusting in the laws of serendipity, while winding my way through an almost abandoned, devastated Britain, to the Isle of Mull. My first stop was with Jan Zalasiewisz, a geologist who had been trying to imagine the Earth in one-hundred million years, which seemed like as good a start as any. — B.R.
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