This piece, another collaboration with Andre Gingras, has a structure based on the seven stages of an autopsy. Like a lot of Andre's work it is concerned with the human anatomy in a removed, almost clinical way, laced with a dark and deviant sense of humour. Here, there were two particular areas of exploration, the history of the Manhattan Project (the group of scientists brought together to develop the first atomic bomb) and the anatomic studies of Leonardo da Vinci. The set is based on a Parkour (look it up - kind of related to free running) training rig, and some of the movement material developed out of training sessions the dancers had with Parkour pioneer Action Hank (I'm not making this up...).
The set was quite a sound-sculpture in its own right, producing all sorts of squeaks, bangs and rattles. One of my first ideas was to mic it up and actually use it as a kind of instrument, but in the end I decided it was quite noisy enough already. I did, however, record various samples from it, which make up some of the metallic percussion you can hear. Other sounds I used are my old favorite short-wave code transmissions (which give an appropriately cold-war feel I think), and various bodily sounds to link to the autopsy theme. I also wanted the music to have a slightly harsh, unpredictable, and (literally) electric feel to it.
The premiere of The Autopsy Project took place at the Korzo Theater in Den Haag, the venue of Andre and my first collaboration back in 2002. It was part of the Holland Dance Festival 2008.