Ravager’s opening week post comes from sound designer Elliott Durko Lynch. Learn more about Elliott’s artistic work here.
I have been spending quite a bit of time in the Hollywood Theater the past week. The space is super reverberant and loading in was a bit of a struggle; as is the case when you start with nothing (no previous infrastructure or sound systems to use or build with). There has been a lot of dust kicked up, cleaned up, and swirling now; this piece is really inhabiting the space.
Generating material for a new contemporary Greek play has been a process of elimination. Having worked most as an "electronic music" or "noise/sound" artist for contemporary dance, where there are a wide range of possible sounds and samples and usually no dialogue to compete with, has lead me to more minimalist choices for this show. Saving the more spectacular noise for these few moments when it is practically possible and incorporating electro-acoustic use of live instruments to ride the middle ground; I have a cello, and an auto-harp to pull from.
In lieu of writing any more specifics about the project than anyone needs to know before viewing it, I'm going to relay an anecdote as to how I became interested in this kind of scenography.
As a student I was given the opportunity to attend the amazing Prague Quadrennial in 2003, held quad-annually in the Czech Republic. At this event there was a live sound artist who scored Butoh dance workshops with a visiting Choreographer. The workshops were held in a bustling giant bright room, filled with people doing all manor of things including performing, holding meetings and eating lunch; a huge room full of things happening. This artist would plug in a small briefcase of wires and equipment to sound reinforcement a few times a day, and improvised sound scores in the middle of this busy room; creating a rift, as if a cloud had settled, wherein the performers were given the space and attention for performing and being viewed.
The sub-division of this bustling bright giant room into two spaces; "normal space" and "affected space" with sound alone, and particularly live, stuck with me. I suppose, you could say it pushed me out of wanting to make work as a traditional designer. And as time has gone by, what resonates with me most, is getting a chance to play live, and perform for a piece, without the constraints of QLab or other traditional methods of performance Sound Design.
My job is to assist Blake Bolan in wedding the space and the show, and creating affective gestures that assist to communicate information otherwise unable to be communicated; not to be a virtuoso. Whether the music is live or not, isn't important; it is a mix. But being given that opportunity and space by director Blake and Savage Umbrella to work in this way, these days, in this economy, is quite an honor and I appreciate being asked and allowed to build and improvise with the project. Also, Matt Widing at EMI Audio Rentals has been an awesome help to this production; shout out, what up.
Elliott Durko Lynch is an independent performance maker, a theater technician at the Bryant Lake Bowl Theater, and a Sage Award for Dance nominated sound and media artist. He will be premiering a co-created short film Empire Builder with filmmaker Kevin Obsatz in December and performing/scoring next with independent Choreographer Megan Mayer on her new dance project in 2012. More information about Elliott’s work here.