Zero Gravity workshop and live performance of Hallucinator's Sun Ra remixes
Taking place during The Arts Catalyst’s zero gravity flying workshop at the Gagarin Csmonaut Training Centre in Star City, Moscow, Kosmos In Blue was a three part work comprising a staging during a parabolic flight in zero gravity of a sound sculpture using Sun Ra’s music as its point of departure, a live performance of Hallucinator material, mixing the sounds of radio astronomy with remixes of Sun Ra material, and a CD of this material plus material gathered during our trip to Star City.
A performance of Kosmos in Blue was also given at the Lilian Baylis Theatre, Sadlers Wells, London, as part of the 'Artists & Cosmonauts' event.
With Kosmos In Blue, the artists in Flow Motion - Edward George, Trevor Mathison and Anna Piva - were concerned with questions of troubled subjectivity, of isolation and freedom, of melancholia; the focal figure was Sun Ra.
"Sun Ra was without a doubt 20th century American music’s most consistent, significant advocate of a star bound earth based music. His heliocentric vision was rooted in a sense of unbelonging here on earth, a wistful, romantic but nonetheless very real sense of displacement; a kind of heightened, profound loneliness.
Ra’s music always seemed to be aimed at, or searching for, potential fellow travellers, possible cosmonauts, disaffected earth dwellers, profoundly constrained by the lack of space - physical, political, existential, spiritual - here in their own home. It was in the light of the suggestions for sound art posed by Ra’s jazz, euro-avante garde, and electronic lo-fi, that we posed another kind of cosmic music, as a way of teasing out some of the affective components in Ra’s music and thought.
We were interested in the idea of Sentics, a percussion based music technology, developed by Manfred Clynes, founder of cybernetics. Designed to make bearable the effect of protracted physical dislocation on the central nervous system of astronauts on increasingly long space flights, Sentics represented a science-based elaboration on the theme of alienation that characterised Ra’s work; space themed music as an expression of unbelonging here on earth, made here on earth, never quite imagined astronauts in their solitude or unease, producing their own cosmic music.
And while Space restrictions during the parabolic flight rendered the sound sculpture impossible, we were nonetheless able to present the live performance, and compile sound materials from the flight for a future CD document.”
Edited extract from: Edward George & Anna Piva: “Flow Motion: Out There”, in: ‘Space Art. Festival @rt Outsiders 2003’, Anomalie Digital_Arts N° 4 (Orléans: Editions Hys & Anomalie digital art, September 2003), pp. 125-129.
In 2001, Trevor Mathison was involved in MIR Flight 001 in which The Arts Catalyst took a group of London and Russian artists, scientists and philosophers to Star City, Russia, to undertake projects in zero gravity, utilising the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre's parabolic flight programme. Mathison was part of Flow Motion, a band of musicians and dancers who gave a free concert of electronic music for the people of Star City at the Cosmonauts Club.
Also in 2001, Flow Motion created a three part work entitled “Kosmos in Blue”; a three part work comprising of a sound sculpture taking a parabolic flight in zero gravity, a live performance mixing the sounds of radio astronomy with Sun Ra's music and a CD of these recordings. The artists were concerned with questions of troubled subjectivity, isolation, freedom and melancholia, focusing on the figure of Sun Ra.
Both films documenting MIR Flight 001 and Kosmos in Blue were screened at The Arts Catalyst's “Artists and Cosmonauts” film screening in 2002, included in the film, Gravitation Off! In 2004 and included in the publication “Zero Gravity: A Cultural User's Guide”.
In 2011, Trevor Mathison was involved in the “Specimens to Superhumans” event “All That Happened To Us” at the Roehampton University Dance Faculty in London. “All That Happened To Us” explored the implications of biomechanics of ageing and contemporary dance practice.
While traditional dance science looks at how to enable an elite dancer to achieve perfection in both performance and aesthetics, this participative event explored what we can learn from the science of ageing about how a disabled or older dancer’s body works and what they need in order to perform to full capacity and to unlock their body’s full potential.For both older and disabled dancers, achieving elite standards may be neither possible nor what they are striving for, and this event explored the nuances between the social model of disability and the medical model of ageing, to see what common ground emerges from.
Flow Motion Anna Piva and Edward George’s interest in the cosmos has its autobiographical roots in the cold war space race of the 1960’s and the landing of the first man on the moon; in black music and its traditions of the exploration of space in sound; in metaphysical and scientific writing on the nature of our universe.
These concerns with the cosmos have surfaced in a number of ways and in a variety of permutations, though their art as Flow Motion, and their music as Hallucinator. Running through their work is a constant weaving of different senses of space, which oscillate around and sometimes blur the line between sonic space and the space of the cosmos.