Performance by Pia Palme, bass drum, voice, plant material, paper, texts and Eric Gingras, sampler (2019)
duration 11 minutes
[Rolston Hall, Banff Centre of the Arts, Ca., 27th September 2019]

The Drum and the Sampler is a collaborative composition with the composer/performer Eric Gingras (Canada). The piece originated from a series of experiments I conducted during the beginning of the Banff Residency in September. I used various plant materials and objects on the drumhead of a Gran Cassa as resonating surface: dry leaves, small cones, a superball, and a pen on paper for writing actions. Furthermore, I suspended a thick piece of paper on a cymbal stand, so the paper would interact with – or: pollute – the vibration patterns of the skin of the drum. The sharp edge of the paper begins to jump up and down, beating against the skin in an irregular rhythm. The paper itself resonates.

Samples were recorded. A ‘storybook’ was created in cooperation: I composed a performative part with actions and sound productions on and with the drum. I wrote a text that I would perform while simultaneously visibly writing the same text on a piece of paper on the drum. Eric Gingras processed and integrated selected samples with other electronic material into a stereo track (live performance). We decided on materials, durations, pacing and sonic interactions to create a sonic narrative.

The video shows a rehearsing session at my Banff studio, with Eric Gingras in the background.

Our performance was professionally recorded at Rolston Hall by the excellent recording team of The Banff Centre.

For the writing performance, a piece of paper was placed on the drum. I used the same pice over and over, superposing sentences. At the end of the piece, I whisper and write the line: “Hear me with your eyes, she wrote.” This is a quotation from a poem by Juana Inez de la Cruz, the famous Mexican poet from the 17th century. Her life and work has inspired my practice before, such as in my installative vocal piece SETZUNG (2014).

Text (Banff 2019)

To notate is to exercise power.
What kind of power is that?
To notate is to create a mirror.
Mind looking at her writing.
Mind listening to herself.
To manifest outside.
Writing on paper on drum.
From mind to voice to paper to drum.
To visualise.
To notate is to share.
The drum resonates with my writing.
I listen to the drum resonating with my words.
Can you hear me, too?
I am a listening person.
I listen to my inner voice as it manifests on paper.
Hear me with your eyes, she said.
Hear me with your eyes.