Museum Pieces - Cover.png

Museum pieces

by Good News From The Future

Good News From The Future (GNFTF) is a group of performers over 55 years of age that brings together pioneering physical theatre practitioners, a clutch of people who haven’t performed for a long time, and some people who’ve only just started. It celebrates the wisdom of mature selves, the experience of older bodies and the adventurousness of time-travelled heads.

At the start of 2017, I was invited by Mike Pearson to compose the entire 50-minute soundtrack for a new body of work by Good News From The Future, a group of physical performers over 55 years of age. The composing period was spread out over a few months, to allow for development and response time with the group during the fortnightly rehearsals.

Museum Pieces is a suite of short choreographies – Open ScoreAngles & Curves; and Old Masters – inspired by visual art and artists and designed to be performed in museums and galleries: sequences of actions, interactions, compositions, sculptural forms that echo and challenge the artworks around them.

Performed at the National Museum of Wales, Cardiff on 28th May 2017, and at the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea on 26th January 2018.

Performers: Gilly Adams, Pat Adams, Hilary Beckett, Steve Bowkett, Anna Brazier, Jill Greenhalgh, Annie Grove-White, Phil Harris, Linda James, Miranda James, Jill Kirkpatrick, Yvette Vaughan Jones, Anthony Ollmant, Jennie Pickstone, Shirley Stansfield, Simon Thorne.
Director / Convenor: Mike Pearson
Composer: Samuel Barnes

 

1. Homage to RR:

The shortest of the three pieces and designed to open the programme, Homage to RR comprises of recordings of the participant’s names (a direct nod to the soundtrack to Robert Rauschenberg’s Open Score) in addition to manipulated recordings of several contrasting ambient spaces. The music aims to mirror the movement and instructions given to the group, using sudden changes, repetition and manipulation to create interesting moments within a larger dynamic structure.

Homage to RR was commissioned by Mike Pearson.

2. Angles & Curves:

Consisting of three movements, Angles & Curves uses continuous propulsion and metric techniques to push the performers forward, framing and re-framing their movements. The energy of the performers in this piece has completely informed the music, combining small and subtle changes with larger, more gestural movements where the whole sonic landscape shifts.

As with a great deal of my creative work, many of the sounds derive from found-sound and manipulation of recordings. Sound sources for this piece include clarinet (performed by Tic Ashfield), fife, piano, Casio ML-1, singing bowl, clapping, violin, and synthesised sound, amongst some others!

Angles & Curves was commissioned by Good News From The Future.

3. Old Masters

The final of the three pieces, Old Masters is again in three separate sections. The music for this aims to comment on the slowly evolving nature of the movements as the performers shift from pose to pose, building relationships with other performers as the piece progresses until finally uniting at the end. The piece only deals in long gestures, to allow coincidences and chance alignments with the movements to view the performance as a larger picture.

Again, this piece draws upon a selection of found-sounds and recordings, including saxophone, an alloy turntable platter (hammered & bowed), air vents, and synthesised sound.

Old Masters was commissioned by John Hardy Music.

 

Museum Pieces was made possible by Good News From The Future, Mike Pearson, John Hardy, Chapter Arts Centre, Cathy Boyce, National Museum Cardiff, Nick Thornton & Victoria Le Poidevin.

Wonderful photographs from the performance at National Museum Cardiff can be found on Gordon Plant's website.