℗ Yesterday Tomorrow

Contemporary Music/Theater

  • Title: Yesterday Tomorrow
  • Director: Annie Dorsen
  • Collaboration: Sound Design – Computer Music Design
  • Duration: ~70mn
  • For: Three singers
  • World Premiere: Festival Holland 2015, Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ, Amsterdam, 4th of June 2015
  • more info

From Yesterday by The Beatles to Tomorrow from the musical Annie, Annie Dorsen’s performance Yesterday Tomorrow takes us on an exciting, unpredictable musical journey through space and time. In collaboration with a designer’s team, she has devised an algorithm which uses ‘evolutionary computation’ to ensure that the path Yesterday Tomorrow takes is a different one every time – the starting point (Yesterday) and the evolutionary goal (Tomorrow) are known, but what the path in between will look like, nobody knows. As Yesterday fades further away from us and Tomorrow comes ever closer, the audience experiences how time passes and how the loss of the past is redeemed by the promise of a new future.

This means that in Yesterday Tomorrow for each generated sequence each singer receives information with variations in pitch, rhythm, tone, lyric, key, etc. They follow this aural and visual score not knowing where the evolutionary algorithm will take them next. Over the course of the process, the variations generated by the computer will move away from the departure point, the Beatles’ Yesterday, towards Tomorrow – those variations that are further removed from Tomorrow are eliminated from possibility, those which are closer to Tomorrow reproduce with new mutations, until we reach the last variation which is exactly the same as Tomorrow.

The singers will be following an algorithmically-determined movement score, simple moves and gestures which keep the performers as well as the audience in continual movement. Lights similarly operate automatically according to a custom-designed evolutionary programme, marking the passage of time and transforming the space in unexpected ways. The algorithms inform everything, not only entering the bodies of the singers, directing them and feeding them, but also determining the space which performers and the audience find themselves in. The effects are continually transforming. The non-human blends with the human and vice versa. The differences between them are always in flux, appearing and disappearing, in a whirlwind and virtuosic duet between man and machine.
Yesterday Tomorrow is an immersion in an extended song about time, change and evolution. It is a piece about the progress and regress, about the loss of one world and the optimistic creation of another.