℗ Birth of a Tree

Performance / Musical Theater

  • Title: Birth of a Tree
  • Concept & Design : Greg Beller
  • With Lin Chen
  • Duration:  12 minutes
  • World Premiere: Hamburg, HfMT, 14th of January 2020
  • Production: HfMT Stage 2.0 Innovative Hochschule
  • Special thanks: G. Hajdu, J. Sello, C. Preuschl, K. Orlandatou, A. Seilova, J. Luckow, B. Helmer, E. Aravidou, K. Raspe, P. Wolff, C. Frank, R. Borghesi, D. Schwarz, Genki Instrument and IKEA.
  • more info

Our accelerated growth is depleting the planet’s resources. Other futures are possible. Their condition rests on the effort of each one to branch off, to get out of the average behavior. To marry solar resources, the new branch of the tree takes the tangent. The tree is an ecological model of society whose development is based on novelty and singularity.

Birth of a Tree is an enhanced musical theater performance taking the bifurcation as leitmotif. Open artwork, its structure borrows its complexity from the silhouette of a tree whose branches are as many possible musical ramifications.

The starting sketch is simple, from the wooden elements of a ready-made piece of furniture whose fate is normatively drawn, a chair, a table or a bed for example, the performer is invited to elaborate on stage an alternative sculpture representing a tree, an allegorical form questioning us about our own ability to change our ways of consuming natural resources.

The instance-form of the piece depends on the choices and paths taken by the performer. For the premiere, with new virtual instruments linking voice, movement and space, gestural and musical events produce as many sound leafs that organically aggregate with the dendritic structure of performance.

The sound creation elaborated during the performance of Birth of a Tree is based on the concept of Spatially Situated Medias. The performer, equipped with a microphone, movement sensors and a camera that follows the position of her hands in space, deposits samples of her voice through gesture in the space that surrounds her, and replays by selecting them according to the proximity of her hands to these positions and by triggering them in aerial percussion gestures. The different sound sources used throughout the piece, a cardboard box, a cutter, screws, pieces of wood, the voice are placed on stage by the performer who plays with the memory of the public in creative gestural lapses. Several virtual instruments are used during the piece to deploy this invisible sound workshop, the sound space, the spatial sampler, the spatial trigger, the spatial sequencer, the spatial looper… These instruments link fragments of sounds to positions in space. Their restitution depends on the movements of the performer. The spatial perception of these sound spaces elaborated on stage in real time, is amplified by a 3D-immersive diffusion based on a dome of 144 speakers.