THE ANT KING
THE CLOAK OF KARASU
“The Ant King” is a collaborative multimedia performance conducted and performed by the Cloak Of Karasu. It utilizes a short story written by Sam Farhi as a launchpad for exploring improvised digital music, video, rap, spoken word, and poetry. Eventually, the audience too participated in improvising with the band poetically and rhythmically, by banging chairs and clapping, etc.
We used various reactor programs in Max MSP so that any word spoken by Malik that reached a certain volume triggered and changed images projected on the walls, which the video artist then responded to by turning the triggered images into either Glitch-Art or other videos he spontaneously edited to match the topic. The guitarist and the drum programmer improvised throughout the performance with their drum machines, guitars, and effects pedals, as well as with prerecorded “noise ensembles.” Malik’s improvisations ranged from reading fragments of poems he had written, such as “Blackout Poets,” to improvising on the themes in the poems. Other poets in the audience did automatic writings, which Malik also read. The two-hour performance engaged everyone present and allowed for everyone to participate in a collective improvisation. As a group, the intention of the band is always to “see what happens,” since what is rehearsed is never what is performed. Improvisation is the point.