40 min. expanded cinema performance
Drones, when referring to unmanned aerial vehicles, have entered the consciousness of society as mechanisms of surveillance, telematic violence, and killing, as well as liberating new modalities of viewing (especially as prices of these types of vehicles have come down).
In music, a drone is a harmonic or monophonic effect or accompaniment where a note or chord is continuously sounded throughout most or all of a piece. Finding expression in various folk traditions (classical Indian tambura, Australian didgeridoo, or the Scottish bagpipe for example) and contemporary interpretations (the avant-garde sounds of La Monte Young), of course the constant hum and buzz of these and other machines (from the industrial to the digital) just adds to this inevitable lexical collision.
The pun was first explored within the publication of Issue #2, Drone Score, where the drone homonyms were explored through representational marks of notation. The first, tally marks, highlighted the total number of deaths resulting from US military drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, and Sudan (the same diagonal/horizontal slash marks often found on fighter airplanes marking the number of tallied kills made by the pilots). This was countered with a musical notation of La Monte Young’s Composition #7 from 1960 (which shares more than a graphical semblance with the tally marks echoing the seemingly endless clusters of five, which musically notate a perfect 5th).
The performance activates the initial notational and representational form into a live experiential event, where drone imagery is montaged and contrasted with an ensemble playing a drone composition, to generate a tensioned visual unfolding that activates the dramatic attack of the audio score.
Video includes imagery mixed from prerecorded drone sourced video (military, industrial, hobbyist, journalist, etc.), real time streamed video from drones present on site, video projection of drone bees, projected on three screens, all choreographed by artist Osman Khan. A soundscape based on La Monte Young’s Composition #7 score, accompanying the visuals, is performed live by an ensemble of 11 musicians led by composer and multi-instrumentalist James Cornish.
With live score composed by James Cornish, featuring
Rachel McIntosh, mezzo soprano
Michael Malis, keyboard
Betsy Soukup, bass
Ben Willis, bass
Molly Jones, reeds
James Cornish, trumpet
After Parties: Wrap up the evening with other festival attendees, filmmakers, festival staff, and AAFF members at a different and exciting venue each night of the festival. Several evenings will include drink specials, DJs or other entertainers, and excellent food options. After Parties allow for great conversation about the films screened at the festival. Whether you are new to the festival or have been going for decades, the after parties are a relaxed, fun environment where everyone is welcome!
Admission is free with a 55th AAFF Pass.