About the Grant

$20,000 to support Carbon Song Cycle (MAP 2012), a work in five movements (biosphere, pedosphere, geosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere) by composer and performer Pamela Z and media artist Christina McPhee.

About the Project

The work is for a new music chamber ensemble, which takes place within a spatialized environment of multichannel sound and multiple channels of live, interactive video. Z will compose the song cycle for voice and electronics, cello, viola, clarinet, and found percussion, while McPhee will create layers of interactive, projected video. Musicians from a local experimental music community will be hired to rehearse and perform the premiere of the piece with Z and McPhee.

Carbon Song Cycle is inspired, in part, by ongoing changes and upheavals in the earth's ecosystem, and a fascination with the carbon cycle—the process through which carbon is exchanged between all terrestrial life forms and domains. Texts, melodic motifs, and images will be inspired by and derived from scientific data concerning the carbon cycle, stories related to environmental balance and imbalance, and images abstracted from footage shot at natural and technological sites—including petroleum fields, natural gas sites, and geothermal sites around back-country California.
Structurally, the piece will play upon the idea of the natural exchange of elements by passing sonic material through the various players, and by designing the audio and video elements to actively affect each other by passing information back and forth in various ways. The work will premiere at the Berkeley Art Museum's Gallery B, where Sarah Cahill—the director of New Music Bay Area—curates a new music-performance series.

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