WORKSHOP: SINGING TOGETHER TO IO OVER ZOOM
At the core of the choral composition Gravitational Shift lies a collection of recorded birthing sounds—screams, gasps, whimpering, cries—that have been time-stretched and transcribed to reveal their hidden melodies. Together these melodies form the basis for a composition seeking to bring the voices of birthing women into the public realm and making sharable what might initially have been a lonely and isolating experience. By transforming individual non-verbal fright expression into an intersubjectively shared form of communication, the composition explores the social (and potentially constructive, generative, and worlding) dynamics of gestalting collectivity through singing.
Myth:Through its title, Gravitational Shift takes the cue from Io—at once Jupiter’s innermost moon, and a mythological birthing figure from Greek-Roman mythology: Io was a young woman, who was raped by Jupiter in the guise of a cloud. To hide her from his jealous wife Juno, Jupiter transformed Io into a cow, but Juno saw through the deceit and sent a horsefly to bite Io every time she stopped to rest. Upon arriving in Egypt, Io was redeemed when giving birth to her son Epaphos. However, horns remained on her forehead, and she was fused with the Egyptian mother goddess Isis: epitome of female authority and the most magically potent deity in the Egyptian pantheon. There is therefore a particular cruelty in astronomer Simon Marius’ naming of Jupiter’s innermost moon after Io upon its discovery in 1610, since this symbolically undoes her liberation as Isis; revoking her deification, and cancelling her hard-earned authority. As volcanic Io she finds herself locked in orbit around the gaseous giant planet Jupiter, which through this constellation of agents and actions emerges as the very embodiment of trauma. In order for Io to escape his heavy pull, an alternative—stronger—center of gravity needs to be established.
Gravitational Shift was performed at ARIEL in Kvindernes Bygning in central Copenhagen on November 29, 2020, in three different performances, with the participation of a limited audience. The performance doubled as a zoom webinar allowing people to contribute to Io’s liberation from their homes, afar or abroad.
Sunday November 29, 2020, at 4pm, 5pm, and at 6pm Gravitational Shift was conceived as a public choral project, and its performance as involving the audiences, who were invited to join in the singing. Performances changed for every instantiation, combining collective singing with vocal performances by soprano soloist Nina Brewer, and the artists behind the piece, Katinka Fogh Vindelev and Marie Kølbæk Iversen. The performances took place in the foyer of Kvindernes Bygning, Niels Hemmingsens Gade 8-11.
Classical singer and electroacoustic composer Katinka Fogh Vindelev and visual artist Marie Kølbæk Iversen have previously collaborated on the opera Moonologue, performed at Louisiana and Henie Onstad on the occasion of the exhibition of Kølbæk Iversen’s video work Io/I in the exhibition The Moon. Moonologue is based on Kølbæk Iversen’s text by the same name, recounting Io’s traumatic wanderings as moon, cow, birthing woman, Galileo et.al.
The website above: Marie Kølbæk Iversen: n_body crash, 2020.Digital commission for Kvadrat, curated by South into North and designed by Alexis Mark.