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The Musical Pie Kino

           the call of the small

this is a short essay about a performance project based in Berlin 





The Musical Pie Kino was an attempt to create the best context within which the work that I do could be received by an audience. And importantly to create a space in  which I could discover the work that I could do. All other contexts available to me were heavily loaded with choices that would affect any exchange with an audience. It's amazing how invisible context becomes when it is there all the time.


The Musical Pie Kino to date has been explored over 60 times in a period of 3 years in intimate settings for a small audience.  


Welcome in.


As the people arrive I am still setting up the space or warming up. I welcome them openly and invite them to sit down, perhaps give them a hot water bottle if it's cold. Here the transparency of the process is important. Everything I use I have to be able to carry on my bike, including my cello and I have 40 minutes to prepare.  


The work can happen at any time of day, though usually it would happen in the evening. Every detail of the exchange with the audience from advertising to when they leave is a context-maker.


The Most Important Thing.


Once everyone is settled I sit squarely in front of everyone and talk about what is important. This introductory speech has become one of the most important aspects of the work......


."....the most important thing is to relax........the most important thing is to know that you can let the weight of your body sink into the ground......feel the weight of your hands.....the most important thing to know is that all of this is purposeful, this is not a preparation for something else, a bigger venue, a bigger audience......everything is as it should's important to know that this is a choice..........the action will take place here...........the important thing to know is that you do not need to respond at any time and you can choose how you receive the may close your eyes at any time and if your eyes are open you can decide where to look, whether at me, or out of the window can look at the man dancing in the room, or you can look at the room holding a man may go further into the room and perceive a self sitting there looking out into the room where someone is may go further still into your body....."


Very gently and slowly I will make the silences longer and allow my eyes to wander through the space. Sometimes I will be sitting in the light of the setting sun. This transition into another space is highly potent..,


." can leave at anytime........."


At this point I may have started dancing, or moving slowly. A hand gliding above the floor.


Timing works on any levels.


To play with timing is to play with the physicality of the audience. Simply the time between words can soon bring the audience into a bodily awareness. The timings within their day are being slowly undone and unenforced by my actions and words. The aim is to shake the room out of a invisible agreement about time and see where we would end up.




Once in winter I opened the curtains during The Pie. In the evening light there was a heavy fall of snow. From inside we watched the snowfall for a long time. The speed of falling snow, magically slower that the rain, penetrating our awareness.


For me to improvise is about being in a state of allowance. There is a definite correlation between control and wildness, the more control you have the further you can go into unknown spaces. I allow myself to go into mad inarticulate spaces and also I allow myself to sing a composed song. In this work what is totally improvised is the structure. The work is open ended and could potentially last for hours.


Music mode.


When playing cello my years of experience in playing becomes visible. Then, in turn, the cello becomes an object happening, with many possible faces ; a ship, a drum, a corpse, a landscape.


Rhythm, as I have learnt through playing for dancers, is also physical. Walking is a two beat, waltzing a three, what is the rhythm of thinking, feeling or perception? The rhythm of language determines the thoughts we can have. Is thinking in 7's and 11's? I train myself to play in sets of odd numbers and break out of the tyranny of 4's and 2's. There are movements of pure rhythmic exploration in The Pie, with the cello, my feet or full body.


Dancing Mode


One of the aims of The Pie was to dance. In movement my starting point has been music and the translation into physicality. Musicality flips into physicality.


It becomes a dance of choices. The more I move into this state of improvisation, or Pie, the more I am aware at any moment the choice I could make at any moment.

Here is the discovery that the more I push in one direction the more clear its opposite becomes.So I allow myself to go to extremes and back. My wish is to allow the audience to come with me from the calmness of their senses that are happening effortlessly.


Voicing mode


Voicing comes from the body, from the movement. I play between formal presentation and the dissolution, disassembly, transmutation of form into formlessness and on into another form


The main body of the performance passes between these modes.


The Ending

It is an ending and not an end.


As I feel my way through my improvised structure into the transition back into a normalised behaviour I let the audience know it is coming. It happens slowly and I return to speaking directly to the people.

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