Gama XV: Piece for Two Speaker Dresses
For Flute, Violin, Electronic Live Processing, 2 Vocals, and 2 Speaker Dresses
GAMA is an umbrella title that Pauchi Sasaki uses for an ongoing project that she began in 2012. She created the Speaker Dress for it in 2014 and has used that “instrument” in subsequent installments of the project, including the latest, GAMA XVI, commissioned by Carnegie Hall and the American Composers Orchestra, and premiered in Zankel Hall last December. GAMA XV was written for flutist Claire Chase and performed with her at the Kitchen in New York in December 2016.
“GAMA XV, a duo composed by and performed with the multidisciplinary artist Pauchi Sasaki, largely dispensed with Chase’s flute,” Steve Smith wrote for National Sawdust Log. “Instead, both performers were adorned in interactive electronic garb designed and created by Sasaki.
“Clad in Sasaki’s ‘speaker dresses’ – a literal description, in the case of her own first-generation outfit – the pair engaged in a breathy pas de deux at once intensely alien and transcendently human in its intimacy and vulnerability. Chase’s flute and Sasaki’s violin, introduced near the work’s end, seemed to stabilize, amplify, and harmonize sounds that each performer had made more tentatively beforehand.
“That the success of GAMA XV had to do with more than novelty and proximity became clear the following June, when Sasaki and Chase adapted it for a daytime performance on an amphitheater stage at the Ojai Music Festival in California. Even removed from its bespoke environment, the piece still beguiled with its litany of
whispers, chirps, and sighs.”
The composer has written the following note.
Gama XV: Piece for Two Speaker Dresses explores the relationship between air as sound source, body as a medium of sound’s amplification, and space as the container of elements’ interaction. This
composition features Speaker Dress No.2 (SD2), which is inspired by Claire Chase’s personal interpretation of the flute. As performers, we unconsciously develop a body language around our instruments. Our bodies “dance” while playing, searching for pathways to fuse sound’s emission with our gesture and physicality. In this sense, my intention is to provide performers with a new experience of sound embodiment. In the first half of the piece, the body is able to become the instrument itself by wearing the SD, evidencing at the same time the movement’s lexicon of the performers. The second half of the composition integrates performers’ traditional instrumentation. In Gama XV, respiration and unintelligible vocal sounds shape the sonic palette. I wanted to visually integrate air into the design of SD2. This visual manifestation was achieved by the design of an accessory: a mask with tubing connected to a purse that emanates negative ions, becoming an emulation of an artificial “lung system”.
GAMA is a multiplatform work in progress started in early 2012, delivered through audiovisual installations, sitespecific performances, concerts, and the development of self-designed instruments. Conceptually, I decided to explore the behavior of the initial energy charge necessary for something to be manifested and its search for expansion. This expansive temperament then influenced my music practice: I wanted to expand my sound vocabulary and electroacoustic music performance through the creation of customized interfaces. I realized
that media/machines are tools that are constantly shaping our creative process and imagination, so I started to design/build my own instruments/sounds to avoid the use of templates and presets. The main criterion during this creative process was to recognize the potential of each interface and programming to deliver a personal gesture. In this project, technology is approached as an extension of human gesture, not as a self-contained source of meaning. — Pauchi Sasaki
|Pauchi Sasaki||Direction, Concept, and Music Composition
Speaker Dress Conception and Development
Performance of SD1, Voice, Violin, and Electronics
|Claire Chase||Performance of SD2, Voice, and Flute|
|Nomi Sasaki||Animation and Art Design|
|Omar Lavalle||Animation and Visual Programming|
|Juan Carlos Yanaura||Animation and Post Production|
|Franklin Quintanilla||Light Design and Programming|
|Taurin Barrera||Sound Engineer|