Performance, Birmingham, 2015
Bowmaster is a collaboration with composer-performer Andy Ingamells and artist Matthew Springer. Bowmaster was performed live in Selfridges, Birmingham, as part of Live and Loud festival, on the Article off Site stage, curated by Mona Casey.
It is an audio-visual performance incorporating the live sounds of a swooshing amplified violin bow, which are processed and mixed in real-time to create dynamic soundscapes.
Ingamells performs the part of a swordsman, but dressed in classical concert clothing. Alone onstage, he executes a precise sword-handling routine using his violin bow that demonstrates rigour, control, and electrifying virtuosity. Images of this routine are live-captured using a small fixed camera, and are projected behind him in a glitch-heavy video montage which contrasts sharply with the smooth movements he displays.
Springer and I take sound material from a tiny contact microphone on the violin bow, and mix these sounds with field recordings, sequencers and synthesizers. A reciprocal relationship is formed, where the actions onstage influence the music, and the music in turn spurs the continued action. In this way the performance becomes cinematic, with the video montage suggesting the inner mental state of the performer.
Due to the physical intensity of the piece the body onstage reaches a point of exhaustion and halts to rest. During these moments the window into the mental state of the performer is flung wide open. As the body rests, the stage is taken over by this mental imagery. The visual and sonic fragments from short-term memory of and adrenaline-pumped body race on the screen and stage.
The body completes its rest and the cycle begins anew.