Black Spirituals, an improv duo from Oakland, plays terrific live shows, and in order to do so practices little. When asked why, they sent us this pamphlet. Catch them live in Europe this month (find their tour dates here) to experience what they’re talking about.
The Dialogic Nature of the Sign
“Normally, two closely related patterns tend to get in and out of step, so that in some places they will interfere constructively, and in other places destructively. Periods of cooperation alternate with periods of conflict; periods of loudness alternate with periods of silence; areas of brightness alternate with areas of darkness. The result is the ups and downs of most relationships; the audible beats that tell when two instruments are slightly out of tune.” – from Sympathetic Vibrations: Reflections on Physics as a Way of Life by K.C. Cole
The inherent nature of a sign is that it must be perceived in order to be received and, as such, transformed through embodiment processes. Generating signs, both performer and audience are subject to the “tri-fold present,” simultaneously decoding the moment against past and future possibilities. Meanwhile through analyzing live (re-living) performance we trace the signs of a narrative arc between the conjunction of coded sign-generators on three axes.
• Vertically, each code-generator broadcasts data from its’ sphere of Discipline;
• Horizontally, we code and decode signs transversely, across a plane; and, finally,
• The voluminous exchange fills the hall echoing beyond the Stage itself.
Form and content are one – at once signifying social phenomenon, meta-ideological technologies and something visceral, intermedial and, I think, novel for our time. The artifact (the recorded object) holds for us the location and dislocation of transformative, active agents that rattle and shake. And prod and beacon as it must, we answer the call through ever-emergent design and formations of cultural potency.
By: Marshall Trammell
Image Designed by Faith Coloccia