ZENDEH Micro Award – Abadan 10-06

For the ZENDEH Micro Award I was commissioned by a panel of young people to produce pieces of work for an event at the Literary and Philosophical Society based on the script for Zendeh’s new piece CINEMA, a personal and intimate play surrounding the tragic Cinema Rex fire in Abadan, Iran.

The event showcased installations by the artists who received the award, as well as excerpts from CINEMA, poetry readings, an Iranian tar recital and public workshops and activities also hosted by the artists.

The video above is the culmination of the workshop that I held for the ZENDEH Micro Award. I hosted a ten person workshop using small, self-contained synthesizers with speakers based on 555 timers and LM-386 op-amps and built on breadboards. These synthesizers had one potentiometer to control frequency, which simply ranged from low frequency to high freqency. Through the course of the workshop I introduced the participants to the synthesizers, and guided them through customising the frequency range to their by switching out capacitors in the circuit.

Once everyone had customised their instrument, I introduced the graphic score for the performance – a graph of the population of Abadan, Iran (the place of the Cinema Rex catastrophe). The idea was to use the graph as an inspiration for the performance – rather than a dogmatic 1:1 score which must be obeyed, there would then be a 5 minute performance with the synthesizers, inspired by the graphic score.

The workshop was designed to be simple and open, with no obligation at any point to submit to any fixed rules surrounding the performance. The result was an engaging performance which everyone enjoyed, and an incredible sound in the rich acoustic space of the James Knott room in the Lit and Phil. The synthesizers were taken home by the workshop participants, along with information about the construction of the circuit, and further modifications that were possible.

The other part of my work for the ZENDEH Micro Award was a proximity-activated four channel sound and light installation, a personal response to the script and the cinema rex fire, which responded dynamically to interaction with participants and observers, creating a personal, immersive and interactive experience. Documentation of this piece is forthcoming.

Thanks to ZENDEH for curating, commissioning and organising the event, and Matt Jamie for the video/audio documentation.

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