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The three pieces that make up The Harvest, collectively known as 'Acts of Careless Energy' represent a shift from order to chaos. The false wall with its three speaker cones, '... you reap the benefits' generates an endless flutter of sub bass, created from slowing down the aggressive patter of east end lads selling dodgy clothes from an empty shop unit on Oxford St, London. The cheap speaker, over-amplified voice and tinny music made for an irritating noise; however, as a narrative I felt drawn to its aura of history, harking back as it did to a city prior to the machines of our age. It recalled a time where the timbre of voices would have held sway as tradesmen plied their worths about the cobbled streets of the capital.
In addition to the cries about bargains; the trouser suits, the jackets, the tops available in cotton, rayon and wool; beyond the driving mantra of 'Closing down today' (it never was) I wondered if there was a hidden story here. I set about exploring its structure by re-recording it, breaking down its continuity through selective and random editing, using repetition of certain phrases and reversal in an attempt to uncover its hidden archeology if you will.
The act of simply drawing out the voice, stretching it until it almost disappears felt appropriate; the writer Peter Ackroyd, suggests that the sixteenth century city would have been awash with the chatter of people, forming a continual babble of voices making up one single and insistent conversation. I like to think I revealed the ghost of that conversation, the historical voice, distorted by time but still present in the foundations of our modern argot. As sound it exists as a memory of voice, cut adrift from the syntax and syllables of our language. It resides in a place populated by shadows, slipping between a need for ocular proof and definition. In the words of Ackroyd, 'It is the conversation of the city with itself'.
Taken together 'Sweep' and 'Scratch' act as a symbolic clearing of psychic debris. Utilising a group of contact and lapel microphones embedded in a former mop handle and broom, 'self' personified is seen and heard interogating the surface of the urban arena about him. This figure is at a loss with order (as he must be, for only death brings the symmetry which he seeks) as he engages a ritual dance with the earth itself with two 'talking sticks'.
This is a narrative concerned with the unstoppable voice of people decrying the meaning of their existence and demanding reason play its part in establishing worth. As a ritualistic performance I view 'Acts of Careless Energy' as an articulation of the void between gesture and this lack of meaning which belies the feeling of impotency toward the forces which drive the human condition.
All we can ever truly state of ourselves is this: We act, we live in space, we count time. We notice that some of our spaces are not the same as others, that some times feel different from others, that our actions too lack uniformity. We love, we hurt, we touch, we laugh, we nurture, we kill, we cry.
These are the facts of being human.