Julia Mihály (DE): La Rinascita della M.A.R.L.E.N.E.

Performance piece for 1 Voice – Performer, Live-Electronics (5 channel), String Trio and Electric Guitar

Julia Mihaly (DE) – composition, voice, live-electronics – (http://juliamihaly.net/)

Ensemble Sed Contra (UA) – (https://www.facebook.com/pg/sedcontraensemble)

Janna Marchynska – Violoncello

Natalia Onischuk – Viola

Andrey Stojan – electric guitar

Yaroslava Skirska – violin

The performance is based on the fictional character of Marlene from the novel “Die Einzigen” (“The Unique”) by Norbert Niemann.

The character of Marlene stands allegorically for various states of the artistic existence in general: the existential desire to follow an certain idea, the suffering, the abandonment and the awakening that can grow out of the experience of total failure.

Marlene finds herself in a constant search of a very special kind of sound that arises in her imagination, which seems to be the nucleus of her artistic expression in total. She starts as a musician in a 1980s Wave Band, but discovers after a while that her artistic approach wants goes far beyond the limitation of this band in particular. Already on research about her sound, she leaves Germany to study electronic composition in Venice. There she comes in touch with the music of Luigi Nono and discoveres further more the almost endless appearing possibilities of sound creation in the field of electroacoustic music. Following this promise of completely new perspectives of sound synthesis she uses all different kinds of instruments that are accessible for her, like the Theremin, the crackle box, self made analog instruments and different sorts of analog synthesizers. But none of these instruments bring her closer to what she is actually searching for.
The predictability of sound colors that occurs when she becomes familiar with those instruments, the lack of physicality while playing electronic instruments and also the fact that the instrument itself always remains as a material object, interrupting like a barrier, between her and the listener, are aspects that make her feel like entering a dead end direction. For decades she obsessively tries to discover the sound of her imagination in these electronic machines until she surrenders. She quits her artistic carrier and starts a new, „normal“, healthy life and tries to completely forget all about her former artistic approach.

This situation of total artistic stagnation brings Marlene finally to her personal point zero. Her whole self- conception as a human being is based on her artistic identity. She crashes completely, but reaching this point zero, her passion awakens again. She starts from scratch to search for her sound. But this time with a totally radical procedure: Ditching all her electronic instruments she decides that her artistic expression, her sound, this unique sound of herself, that still grows in her mind and inner ear, can only be found in herself. Literally in herself, meaning in her body.
Obsessed of this idea she implements computer chips into her body in order to make the sound of her physical and mental sensation hearable for the world outside her mind and body.

The artistic awakening out of total failure lets Marlene turn into a living sound sculpture. This is the starting point of my performance “La Rinascita della M.A.R.L.E.N.E.”

With the use of different sorts of technology like neurofeedback sensors and motion sensors connected to a Max MSP – Patch I follow the trace of Marlene’s utopia. This means, within the performance I will become a living sound sculpture myself. These kind of sensors can measure the activity of my brain and also skin reactions. To underline this very personal and intimate situation a string trio plus electric guitar will play a sort of epilog in terms of a personal contemplation of musical memories of Marlene.

The human body tends to consequently react on the appearance of other people. Like in an interactive electronic sound installation, my body will immediately react on the atmosphere and behavior of the audience in concert. In order to support this constant interaction between the audience and me also my voice and certain body movements will be integrated in the performance. The very challenging moment is that I won’t be able to have my brain activity under complete control. This means, if processes of sound synthesis are controlled by data measured from my brain, unforeseeable combinations of sound modulations and sound colors can be generated.
No human being alive is able to control unconscious body responses within interpersonal relations. All live-electronic sound modulations will be based on the interaction between me as an artist on stage and the surrounding audience.

The Performance-Piece „La Rinascita della M.A.R.L.E.N.E.“ is a commissioned composition by the Bayerische Akademie der Schönen Künste (Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts).

It will be premiered in Munich in Juni 2017.

Total Duration: 45 minutes + 5minutes introduction to the piece.