“Mutations” Live @ Minerva Theatre, Groningen

This Wednesday I performed a new piece called “Mutations” at the Minerva Theatre. This is my first experiment with visuals to my music.

Overall the music is quite ambient and I don’t use a lot of words, instead I use more atmospheric vocals. The words that can be heard are:

Trust in your mutations

To evolve a bit further

Evolve to see

The soul in every being

In relation to this idea I wanted to do something with eyes, since they can depict the soul. Also, because I have a fascination with eyes and furthermore I find them aesthetically pleasing. I blended images of eyes of humans and different kinds of animals. The images react on the volume of my voice.

During the setup in the theatre I experimented with positioning myself for the performance. The projection screen was hung quite low for a performance from another artist. I tried to stand in front, but then I would take in too much space and completely cover the special point of the images: the center of the eyes. I also tried sitting in front, which was way better. But since the projection screen was transparent and the projection came from the back, I could use this feature to sit behind the screen and thereby creating a shadow on the projection screen. I liked this, and was curious about the reaction of others.

These are the feedback, tips, and insights that I found most relevant, important, and inspiring:

  • “I like how you hide your identity in this performance setting. Like Sia. Somehow, it makes your music stronger.”
  • “The most important thing of a performance is audience interaction. So why should this be a performance? If there is no interaction.”
  • “But of course there are different ways to interact with audience. For example, audience screaming BOOO. Could also be little things.
  • “It’s funny that you deprived us from eye contact, but gave eye images back.”
  • “You look like a Shiva. Maybe some extra hands could be nice… 😉 “
  • “Next time, use a wireless microphone or mic-stand, because the shadow image of the microphone got me out of the feeling.”
  • “Maybe you can use extra actors. It’s a bit like Indonesian shadow theatre.”
  • “Again, why do it live if there is no audience interaction? But you can also say yes it’s what I want, it’s creating for me a space to come in my 4th dimension flow (performance, sink in). But, you have to lure us in. “
  • “It was kind of poetic that raising the voice lifts the shadow that allows you to see the eyes that are the window to the soul.”
  • “For me your sounds without words worked better. I didn’t really need words or lyrics.”
  • “How important are words / lyrics / title? Maybe you need to give us something because it’s difficult to hear and you use a lot of tones to create a mood. Maybe make text graphical.”
  • “Instead of only picture slide, you can use film footage like blinking eyes. It’s about theses kind of details, makes it intimate.”
  • “But keeping the interaction simple can give a strength to it. Instead, you can also make it less direct. Concealed layers of interactivity. Now it is clear and simple. But maybe use more immersive effects. Balance between keeping things basic/simple and extending it. Experimentation is important.”
  • “I’m curious to see this in show context. How do you fill an hour?”
  • “Look at how else to make a connection with audio and visuals. To stretch it to longer performance, and to immerse people more.  Option to have more complex automation going on, still interactive, but with some autonomy.”
  • “But don’t overdo it, make complex stuff.”
  • “Small tiny details like extra polish, would make it look more professional. Smoothing the flicking out. Or a tiny zoom effect.”
  • “Using the Launchpad for the freedom to improvise is cool, but there is a pitfall: performance might be too long, or you don’t get these build-ups and drops. Composition could become too sterile. It’s easy to improvise, but might become too long for attention span of audience.”
  • “But there is a pitfall to the pitfall, because music can also be too short. Balance between keeping time in mind, but also getting lost in the music. Takes practice. Figure it out, use some kind of story board. Improvisation is important for you. But you also hear it, that you’re seeking for the right balance. You can also use chapters. Just don’t slip into a jam session.”
  • “I encourage frequent performing.”

[A comment I received a week later: My performance made someone think of Peter Singer (philosopher), he thinks about ethics and animal liberation. She was the first to understand what the music was really about. At first she thought “o no not another moral thing”. But when I started it didn’t feel like that to her, more a feeling, not bombarding with facts or asking people to be more ethical. She didn’t understand the lyrics (couldn’t hear the words), but knew what it was about, but maybe because she knows I’m vegan.]

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