Kill the Magic
(Apr, 2016)

A lecture performance I did with a series of connected Arduinos and a custom LED shield I designed. At first I was creating a piece that consisted of me interacting with the LEDs using a transistor microphone, with the RMS of the microphone controlling the narrative of the performance. But while I was working on it, just the night before, I had a conversation with my friend Amy Golden about the compositional merit of magic. At that point, most of my pieces had some sort of trick to them; they would set up a state of reality during the performance. A system would be presented, rules would be covertly taught to the audience, and then broken by the performer; that would be the trick.

So I wondered what it'd be like if I told the audience the trick while I was presenting it? Would there still be magic? The following is the program of the score.

I almost made a playlist for a dance party about 8 years back; this dance party I was going to call "Kill the Magic," where I would play a Daft Punk song, and then play the song that Daft Punk sampled directly after. I wanted to dispel the magic behind the litany of Daft Punk songs that acquired their magic from other musicians. But looking back, I don't think I would've accomplished anything.

I mean, how much do you really care that the groove from 'Harder, Better, Faster, Strong' is sampled from Edwin Birdsong's 'Cola Bottle Baby'?

I was talking to a good friend last night, and she mentioned (I'm paraphrasing badly) that "magic exists when there is no magic to begin with." Or was it more something like "even though we know that there is no magic occurring, that doesn't mean it's not magical."

So I'm going to take that to the extreme with this performance, with a sort of theatrical Bladerunner narration (as opposed to the narration-less director's cut, which is empirically better). I might even flip a coin to see which version I perform. I might play a song by The Crystals at the end of it, who knows?

  • April 27, 2016