enter, activity

by Terry Pender

Terry Pender and Luke Dubois

enter,activity, performed by the Terry Pender Virtual Orchestra, the performance consisted of Pender's guitar sounds manipulated and processed in various ways by three other participants. The actions of these other members were based on the intention that they make their transformations independently of the guitarist, the model for interaction being that of a quite freely organized conversation between all the participants. Although for the most part the audience could observe what Pender was doing with his electric guitar, the audience was not able to discern exactly what Pender's companions were each doing until the results came directly out of the sound system. And in many ways that was the point: the audience "encountered" the conversation as a wash of sounds and occassional outbursts that owed its element of surprise in part because it was a "virtual" experience.

The main visual cues the audience got to experience were the stoic visages of the "signal operators," their typing and knob fiddling for the most part obscured from the audience's view. Brad Garton operated various real-time signal processing techniques on SGI workstations using RTcmix, the software he and Dave topper developed, while R. Luke Dubois worked on handling various Max/MSP signal-processing interfaces he developed, while on the hardware end Doug Geers managed the use of various rack-mounted effects processors.

For the initial part of the piece, the disparity between what the audience sees and hears is quite strong in that the "actual" guitar sounds are quite hidden amongst the swirling sonic environment emanating from the results of the signal handlers. Erratic chirps and rumbles provided a contrast to the slowly evolving surroundings, while short repetitive gestures acted as sonic signposts for the audience to refresh their ears. Later on in the piece, delay loops of various gestures at times seemed to point towards a new interpretation of the guitar and tape delay loops cultivated by Robert Fripp and Brian Eno. At the end, the visual and sonic aspects of the performance came together as the audience experienced "actual" guitar chords as Pender played them, accompanied by a subtle wash of harmonies.

Report writtn by Jonathan Lee

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enter, activity

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