Notes from the end of an empire: summer
An arrow pointed down
For electronics and video
An arrow pointed down was conceived in response to a text by the poet Sarah Heady, with whom I’ve collaborated on several pieces:
The Hudson is an arrow pointing down (though it flows both ways). The City is a poured-concrete floor onto which all things land, and sometimes break. You can hold—with your hands raised above your head, with a system of pulleys, with a net, standing on a ladder—your life and all its parts in the air.
But there is the fact of gravity.
As part of a project staged by One Quiet Plunge, four sets of composers and visual artists worked together to create fifteen minute pieces that responded to Sarah’s text and to the idea of the Hudson River as a shaping force in the physical and human geography of life in the Hudson Valley. For my own contribution to the project, I asked a number of acquaintances to shoot video that they felt captured something unique about the area. I hoped for—and got—imagery that ranged widely, from the serenity of ice flows moving south to a jittery, bouncy crossing of the Tappan Zee Bridge in heavy traffic. I assembled all the footage and edited the images into a visual sequence to which I could respond musically.
In performance, An arrow pointed down uses three screens and electronics performed in real-time; each of the four music-visual pairings are presented without break to create a concert-length multi-media work. The video you’ll see here is a seven-minute edit of the original version of my segment, with fixed media accompaniment.