composed and written October 2019 @Banff

a work for vocals (spoken word), bass recorder, paper score installation, percussion, silent video
duration: 5 minutes

First performed by Jane Gowan, percussion
and Pia Palme, bass recorder, voice
on October 18th 2019 at Rolston Hall, Banff.

The paper score in my studio at The Banff Centre

The idea for this piece came during a hike along Bow River. It had been cold, the water had dried out in smaller streams branching off the main river. Sheets of old ice were scattered in layers. I wanted to use a body of paper as membrane score to produce percussive noises. The score notates a sounding choreography for a percussionist. The video shows old, grey sheets of ice, filmed in a single, long movement like a dance close to the surface. The text writes about a melancholy state of mind and body, about feeling sad, raw and tender, about how my skin feels thin and worn with my heart shining through. The membrane, sheets of ice and my skin all come together in a sonic scenery.


four video stills



Text

Skinpaperfragility

My skin has thinned so much
I can read my voice
My heartbeat
Melting
Dripping
As my fingers, my eyes caress
Wounded sheets of grey ice

Frozen dreams
Worn down
Forgotten
Piled up in the riverbed
Over a mass of pebbles
Stones scattered
On hardened ground
All water gone
Bared of life

My skin rubbing against
Rocks so rough
Cracks
Cliffs
Crust
Bark
Chafing my flesh barely held together

My lips scraping across the mouthpiece

My skin has thinned so much
Is raw from having listened to unknown
Sounds
Noises
Languages
Words
Music
Distant dialects
Forests and plants
Trains and messages on my phone

My skin getting thinner every night
When I lie down in that simple bed in an old room
So basic and historic and yet such a joy, a necessity to make music
In a studio of one’s own
That tenderly holds my body my mind my sounds my instrument
Giving birth

Blades of grass still upright as snow falls heavily

My skin has become
So thin that I see my heart beating
My heart wrapped in
Skin Paper Fragility

My skin dressed in marks
Wrinkles
Traces
That notate my thirst my pain my tears
My love my voice my belonging

Jane Gowan performing during soundcheck