Hospice Lazy 24 November 2014
Hospice Lazy, a concert performance with Alpaca Ensemble and Alwynne Pritchard
Hospice Lazy is a project exploring what happens with music making and performing when we take away the “holding up” of the body, using hanging devices and supporting gear, or when we approach the instrument and music from the body moving. We worked with engaging in different types of visualisation, inner awareness and sensory feeling.
Alwynne is a performance artist, musician and composer. Her focus on how we create and use her pieces is a mixture of the different expressions. She has created a very clear script or score, including visual, sound recordings of our improvisations edited to create a large composition, her own voice and us. Both playing, or just sensing.
We have worked several days with Alwynne. She creates workshops from the theme she wants us to explore. She asks us to try many unusual and often tricky approaches to playing and performing. We develop new approaches based on physical exercises and breathing practices drawn from yoga and Butoh (among other things). This time we have been exploring the body, and our relation to our instruments. Every day started with a Yin Yoga session, just to get into the right frame of mind.
We play and feel the energy and tension created by this special atmosphere. We experiment with the body touching our instruments, as if for the first time. Through touch, bow and body, keeping in contact with our breathing. Even using the breathing as timing exercises. I really enjoy the part where we breathe three breaths in a relaxed “neutral position”, then the next three breaths we explore our instrument with our body, as if we had never touched it before. From there we visualize how we could have an inner feeling for the instrument, or experimenting with sensing energy going inwards, and outwards. Relating it to breathing. We also explore what kind of music we create if we focus on movements creating sound, the sound being a by-product of the movement. This is such a different mindset, but it is very interesting to feel the difference. She recorded everything, and will compose some of the piece with recordings of us improvising.Gradually we go into playing – when I see the video recording of it, it’s a very sensual moment. And it creates a strong presence.
In the following video you can see how we work on creating an inner energy, then gradually we are exploring the movements, and the by-product being sound, also very small movements, still creating a special type of energy. All the music is improvised, but with clear rules of what to do at any given time. We experiment with this sensory awareness and energy. Alwynne takes part in the work and she creates with us, a works that involve a new use of the body in contemporary composition, rooted in physical, theatrical and visual:
The composer Jennifer Walshe is calling this type of performance involving the use of bodies in the compositions, “the new discipline”:
Perhaps we are finally willing to accept that the bodies playing the music are part of the music, that they’re present, they’re valid and they inform our listening whether subconsciously or consciously. That it’s not too late for us to have bodies. — Jennifer Walshe, Roscommon, January 2016 (Walshe, 2016)