for saxophone, electric guitar, piano, percussion, feedback, and no-input mixers(2019)
|Commission||Commissioned by Bludenzer Tage zeitgemäßer Musik for Ensemble Nikel|
|Premiere||October, 2019; Bludenzer Tage zeitgemäßer Musik, Bludenz, Austria; Ensemble Nikel|
|Instrumentation||See preview page for complete instrumentation details.|
|Technical requirements||See preview page for complete equipment list.|
Camilles is a speculative sonification invoked by multispecies feminist Donna Haraway’s Staying with the Trouble: “We...live in disturbing times, mixed-up times....Our task is to make trouble, to stir up potent response to devastating events, as well as to settle troubled waters and rebuild quiet places....[S]taying with the trouble requires learning to be truly present, not as a vanishing pivot between awful or edenic pasts and apocalyptic or savlic futures, but as mortal critters entwined in myriad unfinished configurations of places, times, matters, meanings.”
Haraway suggests that one way to do this is to increase our capacity to experience the world as nonhuman critters do. In the book’s final chapter, Haraway explores radical ways this capacity is biologically enhanced in future generations of humans. In her story, Camilles are humans who have had “a few genes and... microorganisms” from monarch butterflies “added to [their] bodily heritage, so that sensitivity and response to the world as experienced by the animal critter can be more vivid and precise.” Recent scientific research suggests that some butterflies, although virtually silent to human ears, have remarkably expansive hearing. So, I wondered, what do monarchs sound like to one another? What would monarchs sound like to humans who are truly able to listen to them?
Special thanks to Ryan Packard, Mabel Kwan, Brandon Quarles, and Daniel Wyche for your instrumental expertise and generous creativity. This piece was written for and with Ensemble Nikel as a commission from the Budenzer Tage zeitgemäßer Musik, as curated by Clara Iannota.
– Katherine Young