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John Cage: Three Dances for OpusNovus 2018


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John Cage: Three Dances for OpusNovus 2018



An exploration and tribute the collaborative relationship between Cage and Cunningham as John Cage’s Three Dances is explored by live performers, Jongah Yoon, Mervyn Lee and Shayna Yap on the pianos (prepared), as well as creative interaction with movement from Joey Tan interpreted by Mervin Wong (live visuals).


DRAFT CONCEPT (AUG 2018):

Setup

Screen: nylon cross netting semi-opaque projection surface (Mervin)
Projectors: X3 5k lumens projectors (YST)
Lights: multiple clip on stand lights (YST)

Initial concept for the visual setup is to have a wide 21:9 sort of ratio projection surface that is mounted in front of the two prepared pianos. This surface would be semi-opaque in nature, allowing for light to catch as well as pass thru, and for the audience to both see the video projection as well as the two piano setup and the performers.

Examples of how the screen looks in the dark and with video projection (in the second picture, I'm lighted only with 2 clip on stand lights):

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Process

Rough outline:

  • Concept planning & brainstorming

  • Video shoot planning (lock down equipment, venue for shoot etc.)

  • X3 Workshop sessions (Joey and Mervin)

  • X1 Video shoot and production (at least 6 hours, inclusive of set and lights rigging)

  • Technical test in Orchestra Hall with visual setup (Mervin)

  • Full tech rehearsal with performers and visual setup (Mervin + pianists)


I feel that this collaboration offers us the opportunity to re-look at the process of choreography, for Joey and myself to work out a possible system of patterns/movement motifs, and to relate this movement material to the structural design of Cage's composition in each of its elements: 

  • Structure and form

  • Rhythm & metre

  • Texture

  • Harmony & tonality

  • Melody

  • Dynamics & accents

Several videos I've linked down below that I feel are useful to inform us of the piece, and the nature of the Cage X Cunningham collaborative process/execution.

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La Valse


La Valse


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Heaven Is A Place On Earth


Heaven Is A Place On Earth


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Fluid Mortals (2018)


Fluid Mortals (2018)


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Kaleidoscope (2018)


Kaleidoscope (2018)


Kaleidoscope

Theemptybluesky
Feat. Ahmad Ibrahim Secondary School

Kaleidoscope is an electro-acoustic piece that seeks to explore in an interactive way, contrasting sound sources that are reflected, refracted in varying sonic patterns. It takes inspiration from the analog toy of the same name: a kaleidoscope is literally:

“A toy consisting of a tube containing mirrors and pieces of coloured glass, whose reflections produce changing patterns when the tube is rotated.”

Just a note that most of the sounds you hear in this piece are all created from live sampling of organic sonic material. Synths made out of engine drones, kick drums made out of foot stomps, etc. Some of which were created together with the students from Ahmad Ibrahim Secondary School from everyday objects.

 

Intro "Like a ritual"

This introduction features 6 performers beginning the 'ritual' with an E minor natural scale. These 6 performers are playing a midi keyboard that is triggering a custom sampled instrument made out of a drone from a faulty aircon. Although they are playing the same E minor natural scale, they all have different entry points, hence creating a layered texture that builds up in terms of harmony and tension.

Song 1

"Song 1" (working title) then begins with Theemptybluesky taking over from the 'ritual' introduction, with atmospheric synth-like sonic textures. With the introduction of a kick-drum-like constant beat, the main refrain of the song kicks in, this is where the 6 instrumentalists join in (pipa, guitar X2, Voice X2, dizi)

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Reverberance - The Mythical Four (2018)


Reverberance - The Mythical Four (2018)


Reverberance - The Mythical Four

Multimedia Visuals by Theemptybluesky

Concept

To evoke the symbols, stories, and traditions behind the eastern philosophies of 'The Mythical Four', with multimedia visuals that will accompany the pieces of music composed by Dayn Ng, performed by Reverberance.

I employed the use of a brush and brush strokes in quite a large portion of the visuals. I feel that these brush strokes act as a catalyst for imagination on the part of the audience.

The main objectives were to highlight subtly the main subject material from the title of the pieces referring to Heaven, Earth, and the four mythical creatures, as well as the elements that the four creatures themselves represent.

  Heaven - I. Clouds

Heaven - I. Clouds

  Heaven - II. Solar Eclipse

Heaven - II. Solar Eclipse

  Heaven - III. Double Star and the Moon

Heaven - III. Double Star and the Moon

  Green Dragon - I. Sleeping Dragon

Green Dragon - I. Sleeping Dragon

  Phoenix - I. Rise from the Ashes

Phoenix - I. Rise from the Ashes

  Phoenix - III. Reverence to the Phoenix

Phoenix - III. Reverence to the Phoenix

TGS: Echoes (Previews)


TGS: Echoes (Previews)


TGS: Echoes

Echo 0 - When house opens

Echo 1 - When concert starts!

Echo 2 - Intermission

Echo 3 (Transition (Eb maj drone) fades in + Non-WCG exits from stage right

Echo 4 (Japanese soundscape) fades in + WCG moves into SATB position

Main visual/title poster

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Visuals to follow Indodana

3 - Sunlight through forest.jpg

Visuals to follow Chariots

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Visuals to flow Land of Dreams

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Visuals to follow Binnamma

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Visuals to follow Itsuki no Komori Uta

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Visuals to follow Let my Love be Heard

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TGS: Echoes 2018


TGS: Echoes 2018


Echoes

The Graduate Singers X Theemptybluesky
26 May 2018
YST Conservatory Concert Hall

To infuse sonic alchemy and visual design with TGS: Echoes, by means of a sound piece as an introduction to the performance which takes sonic elements from the programme as well as thematic visuals that would highlight certain portions of the programme, bringing an added dimension that complements the choral performance. 

Echoes would be crafted from sampling The Graduate Singers:

Echo 0: for pre-show, during house open

Echo I: 3 min introduction
(TGS & conductor walks in at approximately 1:25 of the track, when the chanting starts) 

Echo II: during intermission

 

Main Concert Title Visual

Visuals for Transition into Indodana - sunlight representing 'God'
(to fade out some time after choir starts piece)

Visuals for Transition into Land of Dreams - Butterfly in a forest as if entering the dream world
(to fade out some time after choir starts piece)

Visuals for Binnamma - During 'dark clouds' part when movement/choreo starts

Visuals for Itsuki no Komori Uta 
(to fade out some time after choir starts piece)

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NAIP Online Learning Output Video


NAIP Online Learning Output Video


NAIP Online Learning Output Video

Cut 1

Google sheet detailing the outline of the edit accessible here: here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1pZe0haYTliZ1CvkL6OLzkMn7rB84UBALowvDqQyYSxo/edit?usp=sharing

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Dreams and Apparitions (2018)


Dreams and Apparitions (2018)


Dreams and Apparitions  

Claude Debussy - Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune, L. 86

Multimedia Visuals by Theemptybluesky (Mervin Wong)

Debussy’s Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune, L. 86 itself is a work that was inspired by another piece of art: Stephane Mallarmé’s L'après-midi d'un faune. This process of artistic osmosis continued to spawn various other notable works of art. In our case, we are attempting an osmosis of not just the art itself, but the ideas that it evokes. We aim to enhance the listener’s senses, through moving image that seamlessly blends with a live performance of the piece of music. “After all, an artist is by definition a man accustomed to dreams and living among apparitions." Claude Debussy.

Where an audio-visual performance is nowadays about blinding the audience, we aim here to capture their inward attention, to immerse but not disrupt the magic of imagination that the mind possesses.  We aim to bring them on this journey, allowing the Faun to be our guide through our imaginations.

 

Enter the Void 2018


Enter the Void 2018


Enter the Void (2018)

 

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Enter the Void is a live electro-acoustic performance, born out of a reflection on a series of art and artists featured by The Culture Story in their exhibit: The Unbearable Lightness of Being (2017). A void into which sound unfolds and unravels. Artists tell stories with their art, similarly, the world of sound brings a dimension of listening, and metaphorical feeling to expression. Through this reflective piece, a temporal relationship is explored between art, sound, and live musicians. This creative process brings about a narrative strung by the piece in four parts, which allows the listener to discover unto himself, and enter the void.

We enter the enchanted woods
Led by the playful creatures
All around the flora and fauna  dance vividly.
The woods itself shimmering with vitality.

As we come to  a clearing,
A vast monolithic structure stands strong
Massive yet breath-taking and majestic
Gazing at its immensity, we set foot inside.

The air was heavy and tight
Our gaze was directed to a far end
There in this gargantuan monolith lay a dragon
It lay asleep, its body pulsating with glows.

We stepped closer,
Behind the dragon was a doorway
Grand but simple with grace. Beyond its frame,
Lay an ever flowing stream, decaying, but eternal.

A journey in 4 parts

  1. Dancing in the Woods
  2. Temple
  3. Dragon Vein
  4. Stream

Inspirations, in order:

Description of process:

  1. Crafting of a sonic journey through these pieces, this will form the backdrop from which
  2. The musicians will play and generate spontaneous material which will
  3. Then be manipulated again to create textures within the sonic backdrop.
  4. The final step, is to re-create in an electro-acoustic manner this sonic narrative live in a performance on top of this layered sonic backdrop

References:
The Culture Story
http://theculturestory.co
The Unbearable Lightness of Being (2017)
An exhibit by The Culture Story

 

Wong Keen, Dancing in the Woods , 2015, Acrylic on rice paper, 137 x 183cm
Augusto Albor, Temple , 2017, Plexiglass and aluminium plate, 152.4 x 101.6cm
Jolly Koh, “Urat Naga” (Dragon Vein) 2017, Oil & Acrylic on Canvas, 2017, 152cm x 176cm
Shi Jindian, Stream , 2013, Stainless steel wire and charcoal, 120 x 200 x 5cm

Enter the Void 2017


Enter the Void 2017


Enter the Void (2017)

Performed at The Culture Story in Dec 2017

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Enter the Void is an electro-acoustic reflection on a series of art and artists featured by The Culture Story in their exhibit: The Unbearable Lightness of Being (2017). A void into which sound unfolds and unravels. Artists tell stories with their art, similarly, the world of sound brings a dimension of listening, and metaphorical feeling to expression. Through this reflective piece, a temporal relationship is explored between art, sound, and live musicians. This creative process brings about a narrative strung by the piece in four parts, which allows the listener to discover unto himself, and enter the void.

We enter the enchanted woods
Led by the playful creatures
All around the flora and fauna  dance vividly.
The woods itself shimmering with vitality.

As we come to  a clearing,
A vast monolithic structure stands strong
Massive yet breath-taking and majestic
Gazing at its immensity, we set foot inside.

The air was heavy and tight
Our gaze was directed to a far end
There in this gargantuan monolith lay a dragon
It lay asleep, its body pulsating with glows.

We stepped closer,
Behind the dragon was a doorway
Grand but simple with grace. Beyond its frame,
Lay an ever flowing stream, decaying, but eternal.

A journey in 4 parts

  1. Dancing in the Woods
  2. Temple
  3. Dragon Vein
  4. Stream

Inspirations, in order:

Description of process:

  1. Crafting of a sonic journey through these pieces, this will form the backdrop from which
  2. The musicians will play and generate spontaneous material which will
  3. Then be manipulated again to create textures within the sonic backdrop.
  4. The final step, is to re-create in an electro-acoustic manner this sonic narrative live in a performance on top of this layered sonic backdrop

References:
The Culture Story
http://theculturestory.co
The Unbearable Lightness of Being (2017)
An exhibit by The Culture Story

 

Wong Keen, Dancing in the Woods , 2015, Acrylic on rice paper, 137 x 183cm
Augusto Albor, Temple , 2017, Plexiglass and aluminium plate, 152.4 x 101.6cm
Jolly Koh, “Urat Naga” (Dragon Vein) 2017, Oil & Acrylic on Canvas, 2017, 152cm x 176cm
Shi Jindian, Stream , 2013, Stainless steel wire and charcoal, 120 x 200 x 5cm

SIEVE (Cycle 01)


SIEVE (Cycle 01)


SIEVE (Cycle 01)

Fleeting Intimacies (2017)
Performed at Kult Kafé in September 2017

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"Sieve: Fleeting Intimacies is a dance-centric movement piece,supported by soundscapes/music by Mervin Wong aka Theemptybluesky. The first cycle in motion, this is a project directed by Chantel Foo. With Sieve: Cycle 1.0 (Fleeting Intimacies), she wants to explore short-lived intensities, and through the passing brevity of experience, question if these encounters ever really leave the psyche. The Experience: Under the premise of two short months, Chantel will work with a stranger, devising and creating movement between the both of them. The chemistry (or possible lack thereof) is staged once soon after. Chantel hopes to continue this project, exploring these concepts through a synthesized time-specified bond. Still very much in its infancy, Sieve sees itself as a work-in-progress- it is excited to see what conversations it can offer within itself. It has much to learn."

L3 - Charting the Multiverse of our Dreams 2017


L3 - Charting the Multiverse of our Dreams 2017


L3 - Charting the Multiverse of our Dreams 

Performed at the ArtScience Museum July 2017

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L3 - Charting the Multiverse of our Dreams was a multidisciplinary collaboration I embarked on together with the Lalu Lalang Laboratory (L3) in July 2017, performed at the ArtScience Museum.

Extract:

"In Charting the Multiverse of Our Dreams, performance collective Lalu Lalang Laboratory (L3) explores ideas of genesis, cosmological cycles and alternative futures, interweaving personal journeys that are entwined with their artistic practices. Impromptu play and extemporaneous divertissement play out in a dialogue of poetry and science, through vignettes of sound, dance and projection. 

A multitude of focal points all coming together at once, this new synergy of ideas and energies will manifest in a provocative experiment. You are invited to participate by making playful decisions as consumers of the arts.

About Lalu Lalang Laboratory (L3):
L3 started meeting in the spring of 2016 to exchange, encounter, seek, investigate and question the journey of creative existence. The lab marks the rigour, commitment and curiosities of four established artists –Aaron Khek (choreographer/dancer), Leslie Tan (cellist), Nirmala Seshadri (multidisciplinary artist/choreographer) and Ix Wong Thien Pau (choreographer/dancer). Their attitude and approach towards art making is borderless, sans hierarchies and labels. 

L3 is open to all like-minded artists. They sit, have tea, and jam. For this jaunt, L3 is joined by guest collaborators Mervin Wong, Swedha Rajaram and Gavin Yap."