“Otherworldly…Paola Prestini invited listeners into her sensually saturated dreams…soloists Tim Fain, violin, and Maya Beiser, cello, performed the two captivating concertos of Prestini’s ‘Labyrinth,’ surrounded by a phantasmagoria of visual projections.” Boston Globe
“These “installation concertos” (the soloists perform with themselves through live electronic playback) are two voices of one woman: Prestini loves the interpretation of other artists onstage but needs no such panoply of effect to stop you in your tracks with her compositional genius. Dufallo and Beiser respond, as those “muses” of hers, with intensely giving, moody performances.” Thought Catalog
“an audio-visual extravaganza” Nowness
“Rhapsodic” Q2, WQXR Album of the Week
“Labyrinth installation dazzles, stuns… the innovative Labyrinth Installation Concertos premiered at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, taking viewers on a journey layered with tantalizing visual and audial stimuli.” The Daily Illini
Performed by Maya Beiser, cello.
A National Sawdust Projects (formerly VisionIntoArt) and Beth Morrison Projects Production
Labyrinth brings together two “installation concertos,” two different performers who use technology, two technological innovations (the K-Bow and the LED cello), two visual artists, and two different stories that both deal with the concept of the divided self, into one evening length multimedia piece. Commissioned by VisionIntoArt and the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts in a Beth Morrison Projects production, the work can be done as a site specific installation, and as a theatrical work directed by Michael McQuilken.
House of Solitude features the work of filmmaker Carmen Kordas and is presented in a simple hologram-like setting on stage, creating a three-dimensional snapshot of the solo performer’s thoughts, including solitude, extreme communication and the subsequent lack of connectivity, and the search for the lesser known sides of one’s self. The sound world is created from everyday sounds: a drum set made from the hiss of a washing machine, the beats from an EKG, and finally the human voice. Images of bodies appear—those of humans, other life forms, and hybrids—and Kordas’ artwork follows their journey through the four elements as they become part of the man’s life story. The imagery gradually dissolves into the forces of nature and fluid shapes of dreams take on a life of their own. They contort, grow, fuse, and age, reminding us of where life originates and the unknown dimension to which we are headed. The man’s journey through the labyrinth of his mind is represented by a solitary house. The bodies symbolize human connection from which he is offered a path of escape. House of Solitude ends with the man leaving on an unknown road.
“When I first started the piece, I had recently read Octavio Paz’s famous work, The Labyrinth of Solitude. The title for the two concertos, Labyrinth, was a allusion to the existential labyrinth of which Paz writes. Together with Cornelius Dufallo, we contemplated how the “labyrinth” of an individual’s inner world manifests itself externally in acts of creativity and ways of relating to others. From Neil’s notes… “We were beginning to think of the piece as a concerto for violin and “multiple selves,” a concept that Paola and I agreed was deeply connected to the image of an inner labyrinth. I enjoyed how the idea of multiple selves resonated with the object relations branch of psychoanalytic theory, an area I was beginning to explore. For me, the piece became not only an exploration of the idea of multiple selves, but also a musical depiction of the struggle to bring together disparate internalized figures and fragments of the self into a cohesive whole. The drama became the search for clarity through the realization of personal truth.””
Room No. 35 unifies the virtuosic cello performance of Maya Beiser, the intricate and vivid visual worlds of Erika Harrsch (with video design by Brad Peterson), and an orchestra of celli woven into a unique tapestry of sound by Paola Prestini. In a theatrical concept led by Michael McQuilken, inspired by Anais Nin’s seminal novella, The House of Incest, this production maps hidden cravings of the heart, traverses shadowy recesses of the mind, and seeks to unify the tangential impulses of the human spirit. Room No. 35 invites its audience into a tranquil dream, a fading remembrance of a hotel room submerged in water and surrounded by gaping eyes. Then, over the course of 30 minutes, this room folds back upon itself until tranquility blossoms into a tidal wave of bright light and ecstatic sound and then collapses back to the mouth of a calm sea once again. Through the cello, enhanced by LED paneling, a direct relationship of the musician and her instrument reveals itself as an intimate exposition to the audience. This duality reveals the labyrinth. Visually, the work combines paintings, drawings, photography and three dimensional elements, video animation, and the creation of a visual living installation. The music contains an interactive component specific to the LED cello developed with Meric Adriansen and eDream. Finally, the installation concerto creates a larger labyrinth with the symbolic use of advanced technology to depict intimate human turbulence and need for control.