Deep Sea // Tora Hed // Hull City of Culture Choreography Competition, 2017

Deep Sea is a solo dance performance by Tora Hed, which reflects on the relationship between the internal and the external between the present moment and memory in relation to sense and perception. Tora’s improvisation is influenced by what she senses now in this moment but also what she remembers herself sensing, and ultimately develops a dialogue between these two states.

‘I am not the outcome or the meeting point of numerous casual agencies which determine my bodily or psychological make-up. I cannot conceive myself as nothing but a bit of the world, a mere object of biological, psychological or sociological investigation. I cannot shut myself up within the realm of science. All my knowledge of the world, even my scientific knowledge is gained from my own particular point of view, or from some experience of the world without which the symbols of science would be meaningless.’[1]

When she asked me to develop a sonic backdrop to this I felt it necessary to encapsulate these themes and intentions into what I was to make. Sound, in this piece, couls not be something that merely accompanied, but had to be something which was affective. Affective both in terms of the present moment and i terms of replicating Tora’s own embodied memories.

I chose to work wth the resonant modes of the Hull Truck theatre resonances affect the body in different ways. At the low end they are extremely powerful and afre felt in the chest as well as other parts og th body. When standing waves are established they also create a topology of loud and null spots in a space which can be explored through moment. By using standing wave, i was able to creata  composition which created a series of sensations for Tora, but also gave her a series of physical patterns to move through. All of which was linked inextricably to the space in which the performance took place. I took a series of Impulse Responses in the Truck theatre and from these generated a list of frequencies, from which I created a series of sine tones. I then intuatively created a comnposition with these sine waves which gradually moved from the lowest/strongest (most felt in the body), to the highest and weakest (most heard in the ear).

In order to create a series of sounds that were memorable to Tora and which she could embody, I equpped her with a field recording device and asked her to record a series of sounds in the local area. These sounds represented a series of situations that Tora existed in, in which all of her senses together provided information about what was going on at the time and combined with emotion to build a complex and indepth set of memories. These memories would then be asseced through the sounds in a lve performance setting.  I cimposed with these sounds as someone who had not themselves been present during the recording. I was able to deal with the sounds as they were, detached from other senses, memories or emotions. I ordered the sounds based on their charecterictics; detached, rhythmc, sustained, pitched, un pitched, and created an ‘aesthetic’ composition based on these qualities.

In performance, the piece started with he sinetone composition, moving from high and weak to low and strong. A clear cut two thirds of the way into the piece led into the field recorded section.

[1] Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Phenomenology of Perception (London; New York: Routledge, 2002), p.viii.