ELISION Ensemble | Justine Cooper | John Rodgers

Introduction | Artist's statements | Song texts | Press | Performances | Trailer [20mb mpeg4 quicktime]

Deborah Kayser (soprano) amongst the audience, turning the live surveillance camera on herself.
photo: Alex Craig

The body is both a material object and a social construct. While the body public is a body on display, or a collective. In TULP: The Body Public we look at these bodies through a lens of medical science along with the act of inspection and introspection. In the interviews, instead of searching for proof, we collected experiences. These slivers of narratives, sutured back together, form a prism of what it means to be human. The imagery is inspired by historical anatomical illustration, microscopic cellular structure, modern medical imaging technologies, and the processes of decay and transformation. In the performance, as in all things, the beauty and the abject must ultimately coexist.
Justine Cooper

Songs from the early Venetian Baroque both assert and question our attachment to the fleshy, corruptible vessels we ride in for such a brief time. Voices of the public speak, at first suspended in a gurgle of ultrasound, and occasionally a dog barks in the background. A cello is prepared and operated on, but it's more like a rack in a medieval torture chamber than a contemporary hospital as the narrating voice states. The highly trained aparatus of the classical musician suggest the trusted and skilled hands of the surgeon. A bass saxophone is played while pushed through a latex panel like an internal growth pushing through skin demanding attention while an old sackbut bell searches a latex surface like a giant stethoscope seeking information. An early baroque tuning is explored using feedback-like sine tones that oscillate, pulse, throb and beat and finally merge with pure sopranino recorder multiphonics. A Monteverdi madrigal decays beyond recognition and the breaths of the vocalist and the recorder player grow ever longer and hover improbably in the air.
– John Rodgers