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Discussions about [UNIT] began in November 2014. Since then we’ve been planning what we want to do, how we want to do it, and successfully applying for Arts Council funding in order to help us to achieve our goals. We are now approaching our debut performances, which will be held at St.Mary’s Works, Norwich, at the start of September 2016 (more details to follow soon).
[UNIT] is a collective of artists. This first iteration will present a flexible, multi-sensory performance/performance environment. It seeks to redefine traditional, entrenched notions of performance by addressing relationships between space, composer, performer and audience, and serves to redefine what can be understood as a musical instrument through this process. It will have a democratising effect on music-making, through direct participation of audiences, who will affect both sonic and visual elements of the work. [UNIT] will encourage involvement from all age groups, and is non-exclusive.
[UNIT] produces work drawing on traditional, electronic and experimental musical practice, along with integral live visual art. These different elements impact on and react to each other. The work is presented so that audio speakers and video projection screens surround the audience and performers (two instrumental, one visual) in a circle, with the performers at the centre of the circle. A multi-sensory environment is created, and audience members presented with a heightened bodily experience. Through different methods of tracking and interaction, the audience will affect elements of the performance, both audio and visual, and become a part of the compositional and performance processes; musical hierarchies are moved so that there is no longer a top down composer → performer → audience system in place, but a more levelled scenario. Music-making starts to become democratised and the audience will feel a greater part of the work and the process.
Through this activity the manner in which ‘gigs’ are presented is re-engaged with, being both space-defining and space-reactive, but never space-compromised; the project is flexible enough to adapt to different scenarios but not be forced into compromising on those other artistic goals set out above. The passivity of the traditional ‘front-facing’ gig is replaced by an actively engaging set-up.
[UNIT] is supported by Arts Council England, Norwich Arts Centre, Escalator Music, Electronic Sound Magazine, Watershed Studio and The Space.