DAILYBELL EAST RIVER EQUINOX
2008 was the inaugural year of dailybell, an ongoing project dedicated to the observation of the sun every time it crossed the horizon and to sharing the awareness of that moment with others (i.e. ring a bell). Since the rotation of the Earth is an inarguable fact, the sunrise and sunset present opportunities for everyone to remember and celebrate our affinity with one another and to the natural world.
Working with sound and recording as a composer and performer has influenced the trajectory of my work with time-based, invitational works of performance and interaction. The focus of my work is the relationships between people—not the activity of interaction. From my perspective, the only way to experience an interaction and the relationship that develops is to participate in it directly. To re-perform “it.”
Composers have used whatever means available to instruct and convey their intentions to performers in terms they could decode so that they could recreate the work (ad infinitum) by following the score. There are numerous projects where I use the invitation as a form of a score to re-create a direct encounter. It serves as invitation, project description, and guidelines for aesthetic and practical information. I like the familiarity of the invitation as a form and the expectations it carries of celebration, group participation, and social engagement.
Another challenge I’ve encountered working with strangers in public involves our expectations about public space itself. Familiar functions in public spaces include commerce, transportation and recreation. Unless the “purpose” of the project is easily identifiable with something familiar, most people are reluctant to stop and engage. To entice people to stop, I have strategized on ways to grab people’s attention or rouse their curiosity.
While the dailybell project began in 2008, conceptually it encompasses a wide range of ongoing performative activities: solo and group performance, private practice, spontaneous public engagements, etc. Part of the evolution within the larger context of the piece is the development of new work, especially large scale interactive public work.
This past year, I created “East River Equinox,” a sunset bell ringing performance to celebrate the fall Equinox. Working with a small ensemble of performers, we invited over 200 people riding on the final two ferries to leave the Island to celebrate the sunset together by ringing bells across the East River. One of the ferries set off to Brooklyn; the other to lower Manhattan.