presented as part of 9 Evenings: Theatre and Engineering
, The 69th Regiment Armory, New York, N.Y., United States, October 16-23, 1966.
William Davis; Alex Hay; Lucinda Childs
Jennifer Tipton; Beverly Emmons (assistant)
, Lucinda Childs drew a parallel between situations that revealed the qualities and limits of each non-static stage element (sets, props, dancers). She accomplished this by having a sonar device cut in unevenly on all of the movements, without distinguishing between objects and performers. The data were processed in order to generate the desired weave of sounds and to adjust the light sources. Childs also reduced her choreographic score to simple, repetitive actions like swinging buckets and moving around a hanging Plexiglas cube. At the same time, a performer took up various positions within this technological system and on the space of the stage, moving about on a vehicle raised several centimetres above the floor (1)
For approximately 10 minutes (2)
, a Plexiglas cube measuring 18 X 18 inches was suspended from scaffolding and made to rotate by wind from a fan (b)
. Three light projectors were switched on one after another, gradually tripling the shadows of the moving cube that were cast on the screen to the left. Childs subsequently moved the cube, placing it in front of the screen to the right. Into the cube (which continued to be moved by wind from the fan), she inserted a bulb that threw out another band of light (c).
Alex Hay and William Davis hung three red buckets, also containing bulbs, from the centre of the scaffolding. Childs took up a position inside the structure and kept the buckets swinging back and forth, (d)
. The beam emitted by the 70-kHz Doppler sonar system swept across a distance of some 20 feet, and at a level located approximately between Childs’ waist and shoulders (3)
. The light rays emanating from the buckets and Plexiglas cube cut across the beam, in the process casting shadows on the central screen. Meanwhile, on the right-hand screen one could see the waves picked up by the sonar device and converted into a video signal by means of an oscilloscope (p)
. While this was going on, Alex Hay moved throughout the space of the Armory with the “Ground Effect Machine,” (4)
, his body raised several inches above the floor on an air cushion (s)
. As he moved through the piece, Hay was backed up by William Davis, who kept the cart in place. Noises somewhat akin to a soft hissing were generated by the flow of information between the light sources and the sonar device, as well as by the humming of vacuum cleaner motors under the G.E.M. (A rustling could also be heard as the module brushed lightly over the floor.) At the same time, the radio station WQXR broadcast live a variety of intermittent sounds (inaudible to the audience) that switched the bulbs in the G.E.M. on and off, along with the buckets and Plexiglas cube (u)
Third moment (not in the film footage):
At the 20-minute mark, 45 colour slides of the buckets were projected on the central screen. The first sequence, which showed only their shadows, was followed up by images that reproduced their spasmodic motion, like a series of freeze-frame images of photograms. Each performance lasted about 25 minutes.