In Coil of Days, a film and live performance, a series of sonic sculptures and instruments unfold in eight scenes.
In the performance and film, we unfurl the sonic spaces of the sensitive instruments playing and working them as our shared tools. In the first scene, the realm of openings, the playing of the Aqueous Spine vertebrate created liquid sounds that connected us across the space. Our breath condensation transformed the pitch of the flutes in Sphinx instrument, the tone of which was adjusted by our opening and closing of multiple doors. In The Thinking Reed, we played multi pipes to sample and filter the air as one multi-limbed being. In Trefoil, our triangle structure instrument with tremolo arms allowed the formation of geometric shapes and pitch shifting in negotiation. In An Evolutionary Remnant, we used the bow and rock instruments to propagate and root us in our newly established landscape.
In the film, memorandums read by eight women are blended into the audiovisual compositions. These were written by Amy Lay-Pettifer in response to the instruments instrument’s sounds and physicality (Amy also reads the voice of artist and occultist Ithell Colquhoun in the film). The memorandums are based on the personal and tactile nature of the negotiations that took place in the improvisational making of the performance itself, and our own personal conversations that merged with my body of research on tools, making and technology. Emerging from this, the chapters are named: (1) Bated Breath (2) Communal Breath (3) An Evolutionary Remnant (4) Epic Nature (5) Not Leisure (6) The Thinking Reed (7) Trefoil and (8) The Instinctive Unfolding.
I worked closely with choreographer Pepa Ubera to organise the movement and spatial configuration of these improvised events. Performers, instruments, words, feelings, materials and sounds come together in an intricate series of delicate and suspended relationships.
The sculptures and their playing were developed in 2017-19, filmed in 2019 and completed in 2020.
We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts. canadacouncil.ca