Hello, we are Katharine Hawthorne and Christopher Jette, the collaborative team behind SoundLines and visiting artists in residence at HCL this week. Both of us originally hail from the Midwest and are currently based out of the San Francisco Bay Area. Our residency at HCL is part of our Midwest tour of SoundLines, a way for us to bring the work to new audiences and learn from new environments. It also affords a focused time in which to deepen our understanding of the collaborative process.
SoundLines is an interactive sound and dance project that uses video tracking to convert movement into sound. We are re-examining the pre-existing performance piece in greater specificity, with the intention of developing the work into modules that can comprise a full evening work. Our process involves computer coding, choreography and composition, and is informed by experimentation, discussion, and optimization. The work is deeply collaborative and involves an ongoing conversation across the disciplines of music and dance – we are essentially using the work as a focal point to teach each other about our respective genres. This cross discipline conversation is rooted in our individual classical heritages as well as our current interest in technology in performance.
We are both working at the edges of our disciplines and attempting to push beyond established performance practices. SoundLines uses highly formalized, abstract, and conceptual structures in addition to organic, expressive improvisation. We draw rigor and aesthetic inspiration from our years of classical training, Christopher as a violinist and collegiate composition instructor, Katharine as a former professional ballet dancer and a trained physicist. We are committed to experimentation and find inspiration in unexpected outcomes.
K: I am inspired by the physics of the moving body and its expressive capacities. My work is motivated by constant questioning – what can I do, what can I express? My choreographic process is inspired by my physics education and my experience as a researcher – I treat the studio as laboratory and rehearsal as research. SoundLines has challenged me to heighten my spatial and aural sensitivity as a performer responding to interactive sound. I am exploring what it means to be a body in conversation with technology – this is a through line in my work.
C: How can I respond to this space? I have composed for violin, many traditional acoustic instruments, and for computers and electronics – which has lead me to ask how can I extend my work and compose for movement of the human body? As a composer working in digital medium, relying on the human body as source for sound has introduced a number of limitations to the process – such as exhaustion, imprecision, and unpredictability. These limitations are part of the musical performance tradition but they differ in some surprising ways.
In SoundLines we aim to immerse the viewer in a sonically charged space and offer a physical experience of sound. After only two days here in Chicago, we are already immersed in our process and inspired by the HCL space. We hope you will join us for our showing this Friday, August 12th, at 8:30pm.