Monday, 20 August 2007

Shuffle @ Finsbury Town Hall

On Saturday I went to Finsbury Town Hall to see a very interesting, and unique performance by a group of musicians collaborating with Christian Marclay. It was a celebration to launch the publication of his new work, Shuffle.

Shuffle involved a large group of graphic designers sourcing and photographing images on written music from around the work, and culminated in Saturday's launch performance which used these notes in order to create a new and totally random piece of music. I use the word music in a loose way. Really the effect was a very peculiar, and loud, and enduring, cacophany of noise. When trumpet, double-bass, piano, trombone, theramin, flute and more conjoin in a gallimaufry of noise, the effect is quite striking. Especially to the ear drum. As the performance continued, and the musical cards were shuffled and swapped, my interest was drawn to the actual audience: Was this an experiment in viewing capacity and audience behaviour rather than music? One woman was doing her hair, another was playing with her mobile, but most of the remainder were - although slightly fidgety - attempting to look (or perhaps they really were) enthralled by the piece.

My non-artsy boyfriend (brought along under forbearance) was not so difficult to read: He found the experience quite hilarious for the first 5 minutes, and then utterly tedious for the remaining 55. And I have to admit that - spontaneously unique and exciting as it was - we all made our escape in the interval between the 1st and 2nd set. I do wonder how many people made it back out of the bar and into the theatre for the remaining hour...

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