Aboutface Live Presents- The butterfly that perfumes its wings fans the lotus flower. An improvised performance inspired by the ancient Japanese tea ceremony. Exploring the codified ritual's underling arcane sensibilities; the esoteric philosophy of Wabi-Sabi - the beauty of the austere, imperfect and aged. Articulating a sonic narrative of the complex relationship between humans and the natural environment. (2017)
‘A worship of the imperfect’ - Kakuzō Okakura
Words by Matsuo Bashō, recited by Jenna Whelan.
Created especially for the Jane Fitz residency at The Pickle Factory, London. 28/04/2017. Tickets
Broadcast NTS Radio Channel 2, Wed 17/05/2017
Using the Japanese Tea ceremony and its arcane sensibilities to inform a conceptual improvised performance: the Japanese ideology of aesthetics and beauty, environmental evocation or mimesis- ‘the sound of the wind through the pines’ gestured by strains of the boiling kettle, and creating the mountains and sun with flower arranging. Prior to the tea ceremony, the purification of the hands is greeted by the Suikinkutsu – a water koto/zither derived from a clay pot buried in the ground that transforms the overflowing water into droplets of sound, which could also be characterised by gentle falling rain.
All field recordings taken at Akebono - the moment immediately prior to sunrise. Akebono is also a music scale will be using during the performance.
There will be 4 movement’s codified by sounds. Specially designed Japanese Stones will be moved during the performance, which will conduct the type of violin playing.
Ka - Cho - Fu - Getsu: flower- butterfly -wind -Moon
Synths, electric guitar, recordings, percussion, photography and concept - Ben Kelly (as Aboutface).
Instruments: Korg Polysix, Minibrute, Korg Ms2000, Moog Mother 32, Korg PolySix, Prophet 6, EHX 4 track looper, Hapi Drum, electric Guitar, Violin, wooden and steel bowls with stones amplified by contact mic's, acoustic percussion.
Field recordings and analogue photography in Dungeness, Kent and Walthamstow Wetlands, London.
Thanks to Myland and Cliff at Thames Water, and thanks to Steve at The London Wildlife trust. Thanks to Sylvia Dee.
Full concept and performance guide below