Scenes from the Plastisphere

Rama Gottfried

For 'video-puppet-instrument' (25')

Within the ocean’s accumulating zones of plastic debris, a new ecosystem is emerging which scientists have named the plastisphere. This is partly good news, because it seems to suggest that life on Earth will eventuality adapt to incorporate the results of human carelessness; but on the other hand, the resulting ecosystem may not be one which supports life as we know it. Scenes from the Plastisphere depicts a musical theater of imaginary hybrid creatures growing within and around human culture, moving with organic bodies and speaking with digital voices. 

A sequel of sorts to Apophänie, the piece develops a performance environment composed of multiple layers of movement at different scales. Actual-size human performers on stage are connected to biological entities performing in a microscopic theater. The action is right in front of us but just beyond our view, perceivable only through incomplete, implied information from the stage, and the digitally magnified sound amplification and video projection.

Shifting through a sequence of contrasting vantage points in the miniature pseudo-organic environment, a narrative grows between the microscopic entities. The organisms of the miniature world are born, mutated, absorbed, and consumed within the virtual ecosystem. They are artificial components of the video-instrument apparatus, yet are alive, brought to life through sonic organization and the performer’s gesture. The score for the piece thinks musically about the lifeforms appearing within the physical materials, but the material is unstable organic matter — to discover the entities hidden in the material, the performers must recognize the connections and emerging patterns in an ever changing field of interactions.

Rama Gottfried
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