Crow Stone Tone Poem

Crow Stone Tone Poem, 2016, 02:08
In collaboration with Simon Lysander Overstall, and a crow

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This tone poem is based on a collaboration with a free-living neighborhood crow where we each took turns to create stone arrangements as play. The stone-play arrangements are the basis for the score to which recorded crow calls and theremin responses are performed. Each crow and theremin phrase was processed through custom built software with algorithmic qualities associated with the material and sonic characteristics of the three types of stones used in the collaborative play—granite, marble and sandstone.

The project was inspired by real events with a neighboring crow who gifted a small stone in appreciation for a dependable water source provided to him by the artist during hot summer months of 2015. The crow’s initial stone placement was elaborated on by the artist. This play took the form of daily adaptations on each other’s stone arrangements. There were a total of 10 arrangements generated using 6 stones. The stone-play event and subsequent sonic processes involved exploring what it means to respond to a crow.

The artists recorded the morning calls of the crows. Each stone used in the stone-play was assigned a crow call, like a word, to identify it. These calls were then arranged in sequence over time based on the stone arrangements of the crow—on the spaces between stones, and their relationship to each other—like notes in a musical score. Using a theremin, Andreyev played a response to each crow called stone arrangement. Her responses were based on her own arrangements in the stone-play, and by methods of attentive listening and biomimicry. The crow calls and theremin responses were processed using computational techniques based on the sonic characteristics of the stones. This process toned the calls and responses with the sonic quality of sound-making through stones. In this way the stones also participated in the sound-making.