Carbon Song Cycle by Pamela Z and Christina McPhee
- Visual Arts
Carbon Song Cycle is a work for chamber ensemble and expanded cinema by composer/performer Pamela Z and media artist Christina McPhee. We’re seeking funding to support mounting the New York premiere – scheduled for November 20th, 2013 at Roulette in Brooklyn.
This work is inspired by ongoing changes and upheavals in the earth's ecosystem, and by the carbon cycle—the process through which carbon is exchanged between all terrestrial life forms and domains. It is scored for a chamber ensemble of voice & electronics, viola, cello, bassoon, and percussion and immersive, multi-screen video projections.
The video is built from footage that Christina shot at petroleum fields, natural gas loacations, and geothermal sites around back-country California along with carbon-inspired drawings and images of processes involving intense heat and chemical transformations.
To compose the music, Pamela knitted together melodic motifs inspired by scientific data around the carbon cycle and texts referencing environmental balance and imbalance–playing on the idea of the natural exchange of elements by passing sonic material between the players, and exploring audio elements related to the imagery in the video material.
The piece has had only one public performance at the Berkeley Art Museum / Pacific Film Archive. For that event, we explored working site-specifically with the architecture of the immense gallery, with the idea that we would develop and adapt the piece for different venues. Now that we have an engagement scheduled for New York, we want to use the opportunity to expand on the work and extend its reach. The multi-channel video projections will be reconfigured for screens and architectural surfaces in Roulette’s proscenium structure. A partially new ensemble will rehearse the music and we’ll combine all the elements in the venue.
The ensemble for the premiere was Pamela Z (music composition and voice & electronics), Christina McPhee (video composition, installation, and performance), Dana Jessen (bassoon), Charith Premawardhana (viola), Theresa Wong (cello and voice), and Suki O’Kane (percussion). For the New York premiere we will have a similar ensemble, but with New York musicians Marika Hughes (cello/voice) and Russell Greenberg (percussion.)
To support the New York premiere, we’re asking for your help in raising $5,000. These funds will go towards our travel and cartage between San Francisco and New York, rehearsal and performance fees and transportation costs for the New York, Oberlin, and San Francisco-based musicians who will perform the work, production costs (including a video technician) to adapt the projections for Roulette’s space and prepare the work for future touring productions. If we exceed our goal, the additional funds will go towards studio expenses, as we are also planning to make a professional recording of the music for a CD and streaming release.
Thank you for your interest in our work, and if you’re able to make a contribution in any amount, thank you for your generosity.