Laughter Studies 7

Programme note from Darmstädter Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik 2018

The series Laughter Studies gets its name from the idea of a world where humans have lost the ability to do things which once came naturally to them, such as laughing. In such a world, people would have to learn how to laugh, cry, acquire language, even breathe, solely through artificially imitating pre-recorded sounds of these basic functions. (A bit like at the end of the film Synecdoche, New York, where Philip Seymour Hoffman's character hears instructions delivered through an earpiece telling him to "breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out...") Taking this idea as a springboard, all pieces in the series are based around performers vocally imitating and describing assembled collages of sounds. In Laughter Studies 7, other layers are added to this vocal one—surtitles, pre-recorded soundtrack, background music—giving rise to a clump of sonic/semantic relationships which forms the material for the piece.

Ensemble Nadar. Our Ears. Darmstädter Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik. Centralstation, Darmstadt, Germany. 23-24.08.2018. Photos: Kristof Lemp