by Liz Phillips


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Biyuu is the title of my interactive performance that will open at Roulette's new theater in Brooklyn in the Spring of 2012.  Biyuu, a Japanese word, imitates the sound of bamboo bending in the wind, swinging back and forth! In this piece soundscapes transform through controlled and conscious movement of the human body.

Mariko Endo Reynolds, a Butoh trained dancer, is my collaborator. We have been exploring and recording the movement of the body in both potential energy fields in the sound lab and at Edith Read Sanctuary. Our documentation and interaction with dynamic and radical events in nature and with potential energy is what we want to bring to stage. Now we need your support to complete our work. We need time in a large studio to build sets, dance and coordinate sound, staging and balancing events. We must work in and with our conductive projection scrim objects, and with our full interactive system.

In the studio and on stage Mariko’s body becomes an antenna (using rf potential energy fields) and she shifts shape moving near ground and reaching out.  Her body is a conductor and the space around her is activated and responds in sound and light changes. I measure and accumulate activity and the memory that an action or inaction can leave behind.  We combine Mariko’s finely tuned dance movement with my years of work with live processing for interactive installations and use new and old methods of live digital and analog processing of the camera (feedback and distance of eyes and ears, binaural) that I have been using for my weather balloon installations (Echo-Location: Queens) and my bicycle balloon workshop (see showcase).  

In the sanctuary (first recorded on video and binaural audio) birds respond to wind in the branches and as we move in the bamboo forest. Mariko responds to all. When Mariko breaks through our wall of translucent paper (that is amplified) a new sound and visual dimension will expand onto the stage. Silence, stillness and phase are also so important in making our images and sounds dimensional, shift scale, move and scatter. One day, after listening and watching back our test events, Mariko described how with electronics it seemed that we were working in five dimensions. The fifth is our sensing with memory of events. She referred to us as enabling minus time! 

There is no way to underestimate how Butoh dance changed modern dance and performance art since it developed in the 1960’s. As an image-based movement exploration, it asks: What can a body do and what is a body? This draws us to the question of who we really are? In this piece, Mariko is becoming / discovering personality through sound and movement.  Consciousness forms movement and depends upon inspiration.  This consciousness is the essence of humanity.

In my sound constructs, objects radiating sound are natural filters, each with its own voice; a long sheet of rice paper, a shell, a bamboo pole, a brass ring, a wooden plank, a bowl, a water pool.  A sound will morph as it spins through this air and then falls into water and vibrates making resonant wave patterns. That sound mass transposes as it plays, when the bowl fills. We heighten awareness of space, air and water by measuring the distance between objects and the time of presence and absence, stillness and motion, speed of motion, space traversed, location and dislocation. The seen and unseen waves, water, sub audio, audio, radio frequency, ultrasonic, infrared, light become tactile material. Each unseen frequency travels through different mediums, including our bodies, at its own speed and has a unique quality. I translate, transpose and shift spectrums, activating water, sound and color formations.  I create a hyper miniature ecosystem using electronic tools.


So please join us in realizing Biyuu!


At Roulette’s new theater in Brooklyn we will carefully place our stage with audience on two opposite sides. The two projections fall on 3-D coil forms that hold translucent paper scrims. The paper sometimes acts as the loudspeaker. Mariko can move our coils reconstructing the landscape of the stage; the bamboo, water and tall reeds. Mariko will wear a conductive thread laced costume. With metal snaps she will become a transmitter of an electric field in different places on stage. Each change in focal area will signal a new sonic and visual responsive environment to unfold.

In the future (post performance) we will engage the audiences in a public installation space where the sets and video of Mariko in the sanctuary become the projected scrim sculpture with which the audience interacts. Each performance and installation will be time and site-specific. Our plan for future documentation includes an interactive simulation on a website. 

Your contribution to this project will not only help us rent the necessary rehearsal space but also further the project by securing the assistants, consulting engineer, video editor and the video mixing software and interface necessary to finish the entire project.


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