Feagufd: music/noise--21st-Century Alternatives|
Opera / Internet / Noise
SR: As long as I'm doing an "opera" for 1999, I'm going to be completely ambitious and approach the music as a sort of personal summary of music from the 20th century. My take on it is that the 20th century was a brutal war-drenched period. ASADA Akira even proposed the commercial, kitsch catch copy for promoting the opera, "From the bloody 20th century towards the symbiotic 21st." (laughs)
TM: Do you have a concrete story (if indeed a "narrative" structure could be said to encompass all of this) worked out, or is that something still to be developed?
SR: Still working on it. One idea is to use the protagonist, surviving the 20th century, to focus these issues through. We're considering Julius Robert OPPENHEIMER ["the father of the atomic bomb"] right now. He was the leader of "the bomb"'s development, in the Manhattan Project. He was working at the U.S. Los Alamos atomic research facilities in New Mexico. Its present day counterpart would be something like the Santa Fe Institute. It was one of the most advanced research laboratories in the world in its time. I think that if we can get a handle on him, then we can reach through there and grasp many of the key issues concerning knowledge in the 20th century. This is still only one of the ideas in development, though . . . .
TM: Using the material from these interviews as a motif in the composition of the opera?
SR: Exactly. It has certain linguistic "message" elements to it, but I would be more interested in their musical value. You can approach this work for its linguistic content, its "meaning," as it were, or you can approach them as musical elements, and this gives it a neutral, media art-like quality that I like. In this sense, these interviews, used in this way, as well as the technical aspects, employing the Internet, and the gap issues that I spoke of earlier—how to integrate them, and how to control them—seem quite appropriate to the theme of symbiosis, and the concept of a shift into the new millennium. It should be quite a multi-layered, complex piece.
TM: The gap issues that you mention . . . have you any further comments on creative approaches to them?
SR: No, as I mentioned before, I can't talk much about that or I'll give away the game! (laughs) It's a matter of both that, and the fact that I'm still working on some of them. I've only got a year to resolve these things! I'm thinking of using three locations, to create a circle, so people can feel a "global" scale in the work. The choices about what I will do, and how I will solve these issues. I mean, the project seems perfectly suited to a global setting, with a sense of different times and spaces in symbiosis, even if there are gaps in it, and a few delays here and there! (laughs) I want people to at least gain a sense of coexisting in the same environment, and propose the opera within that space.
TM: When you mention three locations, besides Tokyo and New York, what do you imagine as the third location?
SR: Well, right now we're looking at the circuitry of various candidate locations. It will probably get a bit overblown at the nation state level. (laughs)
TM: You will be exhibiting an installation at the ICC soon, won't you?
SR: It is still in the planning stages, and right now, what I have in mind is something similar, with information coming from somewhere on the planet being transmitted to the ICC, and triggering a piano. Something, again, that makes one feel a global presence. The development of the Internet has effected some interesting shifts in the nature of global awareness. The sense of distance has suddenly contracted. Almost to the point of disappearance.