Uncle Bill Nicholson (Wurundjeri Elder); Lin Chiwei (Taiwan); Dr Joseph Jordania & Melbourne Georgian Choir (Georgia; Melbourne); Hi-God People (Melbourne); Pauline Oliveros’ Sonic Meditations featuring Bruce Mowson, Aviva Endean, Danae Valenza, and Fayen d’Evie (Melbourne);Rosie Isaac (Melbourne)
Polyphonic Social offers multiple experimental works overlaping across times, spaces (tiled halls, salons, parlours, and the Convent’s famed indoor-outdoor in-between zones) and experiences (in sound and listening – moments that invite participation, imagination, and, in the case of one work, a moment to recline).
At 10am child (and parent-) friendly polyvocalities ensue (Mother’s Day) with actions for ears led by artist Jody Kingston and friends.
At 2pm Wurundjeri Elder Uncle Bill Nicholson will Welcome us to his Country and talk about exploring the Yarra landscape by ear to hear multiple voices of land and country.
Times from then on in are fluid.
Marking his Australian debut is Lin Chi-Wei, a legend of Taiwanese sonic art, whose practice incorporates folklore culture, noise, ritual, and audience participation. Chi-Wei will initiate an iteration of his participatory sound work, Tape Music, in which audience members pass a paper score (sometimes 200m long) around a circle, singing as they go, generating a ‘human tape machine’.
Bruce Mowson, Aviva Endean, Danae Valenza, and Fayen d’Evie will pay homage to the great American experimental composer and philosopher Pauline Oliveros, by revisiting her ‘Sonic Meditations’ (1971), a suite of playful and imaginative works that function more as thought experiments than music.
Hi-God People will perform a new work, Running Bathing Singing With The Hi God People, which they say will involve “bathing each other while dressed in sleepwear, wetting the sleepwear in the process”. How this will be done is yet to be precisely realised, but the group agree “it might be better to do this outside”.
Rosie Isaac will deliver a new site-responsive piece that operates at the intersection of text and performance, reading and speaking, standing up and lying down. She likes to explore the ambiguous situations opened up by words that have multiple meanings and, therefore, suggest multiple hearings (which she thinks of as unspoken polyphony).
Ethnomusicologist and evolutionary musicologist – i.e. maverick thinker Dr.Joseph Jordania – will present ‘A Natural History of Dissonances,’ a demonstrative lecture on the evolutionary roots of human polyphonic singing and the transformative powers of chorality; from preparing soldiers for the battle to helping Alzheimer’s sufferers to regain memories. Among the questions he may address: Why do polyphonic traditions from the most isolated regions of the world sound like a music from the future?