ALISON BUTLER, B. 1986, USA
shane winter, B. 1981, USA
Alison Butler is a Los Angeles-based musicologist and composer. Her work explores allusion in formalist art works, with a particular interest in the threshold between meaningful referentiality and meaningless over-determination. Alison is a recipient of a University of Southern California Endowed Arnold Fellowship and has received academic distinction for her work on the twentieth-century serial composer Milton Babbitt, on whom she is currently completing her doctorate. Previously Alison lived in Chennai, India and worked alongside Bollywood composer, A.R. Rahman, transcribing, arranging and orchestrating songs for the Academy Award-winning film, Slumdog Millionaire.
Shane Winter is a composer, sound and graphics designer, and visual effects artist from Washington state. His work has appeared on television, Radio Lab, NPR and in multi-media projects in and around Los Angeles. Shane's music plays on the dichotomy between the natural and technological world, putting ecologically- and biologically-inspired concepts in dialogue with synthesised sounds.
Specially commissioned for The unbreakable rope, Moon reflects upon the moon as a symbol of femininity, as an invitation to violence and as a promulgator of dreams. The piece is based on an interlude called Future Feminism by transexual trans-disciplinary artist Antony Hegarty, contemplating Allah as a woman and a paradigmatic shift toward matriarchal societies, led by the world’s major religions. It metaphorically enacts the violence done to oppressed voices, first by stripping the work’s source sample of its text and reconstituting it so that a listener might perceive only the percussive echo of what was spoken, then by compressing and filtering the work’s source material beyond recognition. Frequencies are eliminated so that the speaker’s message becomes fragmented and distorted. The voice, in one sense, is effectively silenced. And yet, despite the physical restrictions imposed on the sample, the voice builds upon itself, reverberating at the speaker’s suggestion to imagine. To imagine is to embark on the path to make real.
The formal devices that Moon employs are indebted to the socially conscious tape works originating from San Francisco during the 1960s. Specifically, the work’s delays and phase shifting (in addition to symbolising the phases of the moon) pay homage to Steve Reich’s civil rights work Come Out (1966) and Pauline Oliveros’s feminist Bye Bye Butterfly (1965). Finally, Moon engages the provocation in the work of the British artist Sarah Maple. The opening fragmentation and phasing of the word 'moon' elicits the sound of one’s voyeuristic gaze at the painting. Through the course of the composition, Maple's symbolic assault is transformed through the music, which petitions one to listen and to imagine, in a meditative incantation.