Resonance & Resemblance was a sonic meditation for designer Russel Wright’s 79-acre woodland garden, Manitoga, in Garrison, NY. Created by composer/performer Suzanne Thorpe, it took place on Saturday, September 30, 2017. The piece featured four recorder players, electronics, trees, insects, birds, animals, water, wind, granite, trains, listeners and more.
The work opened with a 20-minute soundwalk on Manitoga’s trails, designed by Thorpe to invite participants to attenuate to the site’s acoustic ecology.
Following the soundwalk, a 25-minute sonic meditation commenced around Manitoga’s quarry pool, where four recorder players in kayaks, within the pool, and Thorpe, on shore with electronics, wove their sound into the soundscape. The musicians musicked with the dynamic acoustic environment of the quarry, performing a fixed improvisation that was scored to trigger and harmonize with the resonant frequencies of the space. The musicians integrated with their surroundings, entangling sonically with passing freight trains, birds, wind, water and other lively sounds during the meditation.
The experience of Resonance & Resemblance performed and posited a number of queries and propositions. It assumed that a listening body is a musicking body, activated by the vibratory effect of the sound around it. Thus engaged, the piece proposed that bodies in the space of music, in particular, have a heightened awareness of other bodies in their ecosystem. The piece posited that this heightened state was intensified by the waves of music’s sound, and that bodies became more aware of their entanglements and interdependencies with each other through a relational dynamic created by the sound waves of musicking itself. Resonance & Resemblance also asked what happens when a composer or musician prioritizes reception (or listening) as the presiding structural principle, as opposed to projection (or sounding), which is the typical stance of composer/musician.
Soundwalk leaders were Lisa B. Kelley, Stephanie Loveless and Michelle Nagai. Recorder performers were Katie Down, Madison Greenstone, Anne Guthrie, Adam Tinkle, with electronics performed by Suzanne Thorpe. Video documentation was filmed and edited by Elizabeth Orr. Resonance & Resemblance was made possible in part by the MAP Fund supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Resonance & Resemblance was also supported by New Music USA.