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January 28, 2010


Robert V. Burke

Hi Carolyn

I truly like how pithy yet thorough & dynamic your review is and how it covers the whole gambit of Pamela Z's performance last Saturday evening. I'm a student of Cindy Shearer's & Kris Brandenburger's BAC Cohort C and in part, our assignment was to write a critical self reflection encompasing what we learned about writing and performance rules over the weekend.

Here is a slice of my reflection:

Pamela Z's stage presence, her character, is at once both visual and musical. It is visceral to the point of laughter. An interlaced tapestry of technology, operatic voice, digital sound, bubble wrap popping, Nataraj dancing, emanating presence. Her every movement matches or at least, is contra-punctual, to the sound echoing in her digital repeaters or coming from her voice.

I noticed that however cacophonous her sounds and movements appeared, there was definitely a measured deliberativeness in every gesture and in every digitally repeated sound, and in every sound coming out 'now' from her voice box. Pamela Z's Avant Garde stage presence and performance is like Dali's to surrealism and layered like Bach's to the fugue.

Her movement and voice came off genuinely authentic. The scene where she mimicked typing a letter had me laughing, measuredly because of a headache.

I love the way she compressed sound in her Oiseaux song, the birds song. She miked a low pitched long stretched out vocalization and then digitally remastered and compressed and re-compressed many times the frequency until the pitch emerged as a singing bird. Now that was truly a transformative learning experienced. How we make sounds is a function of the capacity of our voice to articulate frequencies. What to us sounds normal, to a bird must sound slow motion. And to us what seems like a warble is a normal sane pitch for birds. I have heard that elephants communicate over miles with subsonic vibrations through the earth that we cannot hear. Same for whales, except through the medium of the ocean.

Her use of mudras, hand gestures, around the midi responder was incredible. A simple hand gesture would send off a wave of bird cries.

This opened me up to the whole animal kingdom, communicating a multi-polyphony in this universally manifested orchestration. In other words Pamela Z made herself, the whole world and universe into one big symphony. If there is one artistic performance rule, this is the major one I intend to apply to writing, because it links the individual to the Cosmos, the soul with the Universe. It is an expression of the nature of truth within us all. Why, because it is in this pulsing and vibrating genuiness of expression that we experience the unity of the universe.

It's as I mentioned to my friend Laraaji, who performs similarly to Pamela Z "...she is a combination of your layering of sounds, more of a rajasic (energetic) than sattvic (gently balanced) format, yet her mudras (stance) and body-hand gestures are synergistically in sync with her sound performance. Like a Nataraj, the dancing Shiva symbolic of the dance of the Universe, she interweaves the full range of sound, voice and movement into a universal cosmic dance and celebration."

By your example, I am absorbing the lesson of brevity, you say much more with fewer words,than I attempted with so many words. Still how amazing PZ's performance!


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