"ESO" addresses my concerns for the transformative potential of resonance and the significance of activism throughout history. The first in this new series premiered on April 13th, 2015 at the Historic Heritage Hall in Guelph Canada in collaboration with art collective Post Commodity through their piece "People of Good Will." Guelph is the first location and performance in a series of proposed works centered around identifying historic "Sites of Opposition" along the Underground Railroad where I interface with the entities stewarding these spaces, identify unique resonant frequencies and collaborate with local communities in the creation of site-specific works.
Heritage Hall is a historic Methodist Church built by ex-slaves whose freedom was aided by abolitionists and First Nation Tribes in the mid 1800’s. For this premiere, I worked closely with The Black Heritage Society, Post Commodity, Musagetes Arts Organization and invited the city of Guelph to join me in exciting Heritage Hall borrowing from the avant-garde composition "I Am Sitting In a Room" by Alvin Lucier. Together we extended Lucier’s original concerns of exposing the natural room resonances through performance by reciting the poem "The Lie" by the late great Sun Ra and creating an improvised work based on the frequencies we observed. We exposed frequencies present since the buildings completion in 1886 creating a sonic thread between communities through space, time and vibration. Our first and only group sounding was highly resonant and lasted roughly 30 minutes. We ended with a conversation that inspired questions concerning extra musical possibilities and what we heard / felt. I was left with a heightened sense that this experiment did more than create a strong composition and uncover successful processes but also nurtured camaraderie, caring, attentiveness and sensitivity among those in attendance and the various organizations who contributed. Our cross-cultural exchanges inspired insights into what it means to be modern day abolitionists.
Video and Editing by Kade Twist
Much love Marshall Trammell and Postcommodity