To Premiere at the Darmstadt International Summer Courses for New Music on August 1, 2016
The Force of Things is a music theater piece by composer Ashley Fure and architect Adam Fure that explores the animate vitality of matter. Investigating ideas of entropy and the innate drama of natural phenomena, the piece stages a series of musico-dramatic events centered not on humans, but on objects.
Drawing from traditions of object theater and puppetry, The Force of Things combines live and electroacoustic music, architectural design, and theater to present a narrative radically decentered from the lives of humans. Staged inside a ring of live performed and projected sound, this 50-minute work positions itself at the experiential boundary between immersive installation and live performance.
Audience members sit beneath a canopy of hanging things that transform through kinetic, sonic, and lighting effects as the piece unfolds. Swaths of sculpted latex hang lifeless like hides and then stretch into palpitating, translucent skins. Drips of liquid fall to the floor, at first like rain, without pattern or aim, and later in focused intricate rhythms that sync into orchestrated textures. Eyes and ears are pulled from high to low and front to back as audience members navigate a continually transforming perceptual space. Humans are absent from this landscape, and narrative emerges through the gradual or sudden evolution of objects through different states, some natural (think entropy) and some anthropomorphic (think objects falling in love).
The Force of Things defies the false passivity of matter, casting latex and liquid as active, independent agents. Humans are framed not above but amidst this web of things and force we call a world.
Made possible by generous commitments from the International Contemporary Ensemble: First Page Program, University of Michigan Office of Research, Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, Dartmouth College Provost's Office Seed Funding Program, and the International Musikinstitut Darmstadt (IMD).
Creative Team: Ashley Fure (composer), Adam Fure (architect), Ross Karre (producer/designer/percussionist), Levy Lorenzo (engineer/electronics performer), Nicholas Houfek (lights), Alice Teyssier and Lucy Dhegrae (sopranos), Ryan Muncy (saxophone/grants manager), Rebekah Heller (bassoon/development), Kivie Cahn-Lipman (cello), with special thanks to Patrick Eakin-Young
Photos below by Ross Karre.