face

Voice, recorder(s), violin, piano, electronics (live face detection and processing), video [60′]

Composed for ELECTRA (Michaela Riener, Susana Borsch, Diamanda Dramm, Saskia Lankhoorn) and made in collaboration with visual artists Johannes Schwartz and Maria Barnas.

face is a multimedia composition for voice, violin, recorders, piano, live electronics and video, based on notions of face, not only as a manifestation of emotion and identity, but as a data set to be collected and used by external powers. The piece navigates between the problematic practice of anthropometry in the early 20th century, specifically the measurement of cranial features to determine character types, to the current use of emotional face recognition software to collect data about the emotional engagement of consumers.

The real cutting edge, the ground-breaking work, comes from the four-woman society Electra, photographer Johannes Schwartz and composer Yannis Kyriakides. Their ‘Face’ is a multidisciplinary composition in which the electronic component of music is partly determined by software that reads emotions from the faces of the musicians. Diagrams, distorted photographs, images of plaster masks and poetic texts appear on screens. But the center of gravity lies in the audible: Face is a dramatic sequence of ever-changing, internally changeable, sometimes minimalist textures, in which the voice of singer Michaela Riener is electronically doubled to two-part shadow vocals. Pianist Saskia Lankhoorn peels sound splinters from the piano, and violinist Diamanda Dramm and recorder player Susanna Borsch, add cutting and biting, but equally often beautiful lines…. the fusion of technology and live music is as convincing as it is intriguing.

Review from Korzo performance in De Volkskrant, Frits van der Waa, 25 November 2018.