Chamber Music

Body 26

Appeal for Identification
Appeal for Identification is a large-scale music / theater piece that bears witness to the lives of Delhi's nameless dead through translating the ambient sounds of the places where their bodies were found into music. In music, it identifies them: through the locations in which they were found, the voices of the poor, and the transcribed speech of possessing spirits, themselves often thought to be the souls of those who, like these deceased laborers, suffered untimely and unjust deaths.

As part of this project, I lived in the Gol Market neighborhood in central New Delhi from August 2010 through January 2011, collecting the images and stories of unidentified and unclaimed bodies. The newspapers provided the locations and I visited the sites where these corpses were found to make audio and visual recordings of the ambient environment; I visited the location, made a recording and moved on. When I visited the sites, I carried the newspaper clipping in hopes of finding someone who knew the deceased. With the help of a translator, I was sometimes able to learn something about the bodies from local residents. On my return to America, I began using these recordings to create musical portraits of these unknown bodies and locations, manipulating and translating ambient sound into instrumental music. The project's text is drawn from poetry, children's literature, beggar's speech and the embodied speech of spirits as spoken by the possessed at subcontinental shrines. Taken together, the works present a vast portrait of an underclass whose voices often go unheard.

Study for Body 22 (2012)

Cap Malheureux (2012)
soprano and ten instruments
10 minutes

Then I Awoke Again (2009)
soprano and nine to thirteen instruments
15 minutes