N. 21 Warenwirtschaft
The basic set up of Warenwirtschaft consists of internal devices that are placed on a stage and external devices that are situated in separate rooms, but are visualised by filming them and transmitting them in real-time on TV screens. The devices are also picked up by microphones and can then be altered by means of audio processing techniques (filter, reverberation, delay etc.). All (internal and external) devices may be transformed in this way. However, when transforming on-stage devices the original (dry) sound always mixes with the altered (wet) sound. The off-stage devices can be transformed more drastically as the original (dry) sound can be reduced to zero and hence only the altered (wet) sound be made audible. Moreover, a radio is supposed to be installed in the lobby of the concert hall and be used to tune into the news/a report. Then this signal will be recorded and played back “into the room again and again until the resonant frequencies of the room reinforce themselves so that any semblance of [this] speech (…) is destroyed” (cf. Alvin Lucier: I am sitting in a room). Hence the room characteristics will become audible through this process whilst this phenomenon is transmitted to the concert hall.
What is necessary to perform this work?
Players 1 and 3 are situated on the stage, while player 1 mainly operates the devices and player 3 controls the live-electronic elements. Player 3 is supposed to switch on/off the microphones and, respectively, control their dynamic levels, initialises the audio processing events and plays back the sound files. The sound files are produced beforehand. Sound producers are white and brown noise simulating radio static as well as frequency modulation instruments representing the wireless transmission of radio broadcasting, radio-telephony and TV audio signals. Additionally, player 3 needs to be able to easily reach TV 3 and the telephone from her position as well as be able to easily access the microwave. All players should wear socks only in order to minimise footfall noise. Steps are not notated, the items need to be easily and quickly accessible. In exceptional duly justified cases, the part performed by player 2 may also be realised beforehand and played back during the concert. This may lead to some of the »interactive« elements being omitted or simulated.
All items utilised in the piece are described on page V. The hair dryers have a cold air function, three levels and an air concentrator cap fitting the harmonicas. The kettle has a valve that whistles. The microphones in AB configuration and the microphones in ORTF configuration are placed on stands. They send to the designated loudspeakers (stereo with four loudspeakers – if not possible, also with two loudspeakers only). The microphones in the external room are centred, the distance between the microphones and the items being, at most, 60-100 centimetres (if not requested differently). The distance between the radio and the loudspeakers in the lobby is approximately 1 metre. The output level of the radio should be quite high, while the spatial information is clearly audible. The on-stage microphones’ spacing and angle of incidence is outlined in the score. Moreover, there is, at best, a cameraman in the external room who films all actions of player 2. Otherwise, all actions of player 2 need to be recorded by means of an installed camera. The distance between the (preferably high-quality) microphone (with unspecified polar pattern) of the camera and player 2 is approximately 2 metres. Image and sound are transmitted in real-time (in black and white) to the television referred to as TV 3 (remote control on player 3’s body). This TV is running when the piece starts, but muted. “Le testament d’Ophée” by Jean Cocteau is shown on TV 1 (remote control on player 1’s body). The TV is switched off in the beginning of the piece, but the movie starts playing. On TV 2 (remote control on player 2’s body) the current television programme is broadcast: channel 1 is a news channel, channel 2 a cooking channel or, respectively, showing a cooking programme and channel 3 a(n animal) documentary channel (ossia: channel 2 is an advertising channel and channel 3 a religious channel). If any of these programmes is not available, videos may alternatively be shown. All TVs are elevated and need to be clearly visible. The TVs may be replaced by projectors (instead of hanging cloth over TV 1, the screen should be switched to black). Furthermore, player 2 is supposed to use telephone 1 to call player 3 on telephone 2 in the course of the piece. The ring tone is “Feedback” by Dimpker or (if not available) “Incidences / Résonances” by Bernard Parmegiani. Telephone 2 is also connected to the speakers in the concert hall.
As an homage to Alvin Lucier’s “I am sitting in a room” a similar installation is set up in the lobby of the concert hall. It is triggered and transmitted to the hall when the piece starts. In contrast to Lucier’s work, the first signal is produced by a radio broadcasting a news station. It runs for exactly 78 seconds and is picked up by omnidirectional microphones in AB configuration (ossia only one microphone). An assistant might have to switch off the radio. This recording is then played back through the loudspeakers and recorded again. Player 3 selects the spot for the installation according to the 35th repetition still affecting the sonic material. When the audience enters the lobby, the radio is already running. Player 2 or an assistant (if player 2 is non-existent) triggers the Lucier-installation (an assistant might have to switch off the radio after 78 seconds, even if player 2 triggers the installation). The actions of player 2 (or the assistant) are synchronised with player 3 through their phones. Their conversation is transmitted to the loudspeakers in the concert hall. If this causes problems, the installation may be executed beforehand and only be played back during the concert. However, the interpreters then need to accept the radio programme at a given point in time. When the installation is triggered, the stop watches also start counting. The whole score is structured through the stop watches. Player 2 only refers to her watch, but player 3 may also see her through TV3 and react to possible inaccuracies. Once the installation is triggered, player 2 has exactly 32 seconds to reach the external room.