“DIORAMA” is an ongoing performance work in the form of a series of solo drum concerts for one listener at a time in rotating spaces.
In “DIORAMA,” each listener enters a small room and sits directly behind the drum set. Unaware of their identity, I play an improvised piece for my solo audience member. The strange, heightened intimacy of the interaction and the site-specific venue create an event of mystery, extremes and oppositions.
“DIORAMA 2013” was presented on a hilltop at Olana State Historic Site in Hudson, NY as part of Framing the Viewshed: Groundswell, a collaboration between The Olana Partnership and Wave Farm’s WGXC 90.7-FM. At Olana, the historic home and magnum opus of Hudson River School artist Frederic Church, artists were invited to create site-specific responses to different areas of the landscape. “DIORAMA” had previously been staged on the 31st floor of a Wall Street building and in an abandoned storefront in midtown Manhattan. This was the first time it was staged outdoors.
I have wanted to do a performance of drum solos for individual audience members ever since I was an artist-in-residence at SUNY Buffalo. A colleague, Benjamin Hudson, asked me to listen to “Mikka ‘S’” by Iannas Xenakis, a solo violin piece he was preparing to play the following evening at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. As Benjamin stood two feet away and played the piece in my cramped office, I was flabbergasted by the sound. I felt I could actually see the sound waves shooting through the body of the violin.
I wanted to experience that again, so the following evening I went to the concert hall and was shocked; it was not the same piece. This was a revelation. I understood how my proximity to the instrument had made my experience of the work much more powerful and alive.
“DIORAMA” will allow the listener to hear the sound of the drums as I do, the sound that first captivated me at age 13 and still does today.