river and state

the live performance.

video from inside the VR environment during the performance.

640_MG_7922flickr set

River and State was commissioned by the ICOA Chamber Orchestra, Daniel Feng, Conductor, as part of their New World/New Music series. The piece is in honor of the 125th anniversary of Antonin Dvorak’s 9th Symphony, From the New World, and was premiered at the Bohemian National Hall in NYC. The accompanying composition is Dvorshock by Bruce Adolphe – also commissioned by the ICOA. The premiere of River and State featured a live performer, Laura King-Pazuchowski, on stage with the orchestra, interacting with the VR environment we developed.

Our concept for this virtual cinema performance is about the promise of a new world in both the late 19th and early 21st centuries, with its unlimited potentials, personal freedoms and inevitable progress, and how technology (the subway, opened in NYC in 1904, and the recent VR fascination, as examples) has always played a role in complicating these fantasies.

Our performer, Laura King-Pazuchowski traversed the membrane of our shared environment of lived experience and the fantasy of virtual, illimitable, dream-space.

The VR environment features renderings of Lower Manhattan, Inwood Hill Park, Ellis Island, and an amalgam of different Subway stations. The piece is also inspired by observing flash floods on certain Manhattan streets built above drained streams. whose resulting chaos suggest the transposed, consistent presence of foundational forces occluded by the trappings of contemporary material culture.

The Tulips are a reference to the Tulip tree of Inwood Hill Park where the initial meeting, and subsequent purchase of Manhattan from the Native population occurred. The tree died in the 1933. The sculpture of the Tulips encountered during the capsule scene is a rendering of a currently infamous Jeff Koons sculpture that has a connection to the Statue of Liberty.

The metronome seen at the beginning on the shore returns in the final scene as a monument sized rendering of Man Ray’s “Indestructible Object”. The character in front of the metronome in the final scene is a rendering of the actor.