Expand Contract, Chisenhale Dance Space, 2018. Performed by Rita Evans and Pepe Vives. Instrument made in 2017. Sound engineer, Francine Perry.

This is the first in a series of instruments with internal puzzle-like musical structures that effect pitch and timbre as they are negotiated between people.

The push pull of tension, pressure and pitch shifting in this instrument I designed for two to play. Our social negotiations are acoustically and physically expressed. The instrument has an internal logic of its own with interconnected woven strings and caps that open and close the internal chamber, muting and unmuting sounds that create an acoustical sense of pressure (in the head, in space). This starts and stops the feedback building in the room speaker system, we control it together but also as individuals. The instrument is made from bamboo and has a porous acoustical life of its own, making it a third character or body in itself. I made this instrument after reading Luce Irigaray’s Democracy Begins Between Two, where a separate civil identity should be equivalent to, rather than simply the same.

This first performance for the camera took place at Chisenhale Dance Space in London in 2018. The instrument was made in 2017. A second performance of this piece took place in July 2019 at The Bomb Factory in London as part of Five Years Gallery, Archway Sound Symposium. This was a much fiercer performance and the sound was more volatile in terms of balance and feedback.

Link to video documentation of this performance

We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts. canadacouncil.ca