Bass clarinet, strings, live video, electronics [45′]
A commission from Maysways, a foundation to promote art works about Parkinson’s Disease.
This work deals with aspects of depersonalisation and detachment as a side effect of DBS surgery. DBS surgery, which stands for Deep Brain Stimulation is a neurosurgical procedure that uses implanted electrodes and electrical stimulation to treat movement disorders associated with Parkinson’s disease (PD) and other neurological conditions. Electrical stimulation is applied as a series of pulses via an implanted electrode, in either the globus pallidus internus or the subthalamic nucleus. These are controlled by a device called a neurostimulator placed under the outer layers of skin, under the collarbone or in the chest or abdomen, which is then controlled by a remote device or an app on a mobile device. Patients can switch the stimulator on and off and control the amplitude of the oscillations, to relieve symptoms of PD. The procedure is in general very successful in alleviating the debilitating symptoms of PD, but there are issues of side-effects that include feelings of depersonalisation, self-estrangement and identity crisis. This is caused by the drastic personality changes perceived when switching the simulator on and off.
Link to paper dealing with these issues
The composition focuses on aspects of loss of identity. Live video and electronics are used to fracture and multiply the ongoing performance of the solo bass clarinet player. A gradual transformation takes place of the player throughout the 45 minutes of the piece that focus on both the sound and the physical aspects of the instrument.
The piece is written for Gareth Davis and will be performed sometime in the 2023/2024 season.