In 1640, the Bay Psalm Book was printed in Cambridge, MA, the first book to be published in British North America. Gathering Note is a public art performance work that uses the Bay Book as a source in creating a graphical score for church choirs and other community voices. The score provides an intentionally open set of cues that allow the shape of the work to emerge from a balance between instructions and each performer’s independent choices, guided by their attention to their surroundings. Gathering Note celebrates a very American sense of unity in diversity: how disparate voices become cohesive wholes, growing organically from disparate abilities, approaches, and an ambivalence to hierarchical structures.

Curated by Dina Deitsch and commissioned by the Cambridge Arts Council for the public art series Common Exchange.

Gathering Note
composition for voices
public art performance
approx. 45 minutes

The video tells a story from multiple intertwined perspectives of a journey to the summit of Mauna Kea on Hawai’i island, where two observatories in the EHT are located. Narrated in intertitles, fragments of text trace clashes of meaning and understanding: between science in the popular imagination and its lived practices; between traditional cultural practices and those of western science; between western knowledges and imperialisms past and present.

Simultaneously, the video presents a text-based score for music performance: printed cue cards deliver instructions addressed directly to a quartet of improvising musicians. Based in Honolulu, Buenos Aires, Tokyo and Berlin, each musician worked in isolation to make a sound track to the video by playing it as a score. Graydon mixed this array of performances together in a spatialized soundscape, allowing its form to emerge from the resonances and interferences each player’s interpretation brought to the work.

featuring music by Ryan Choi, prepared baritone ukulele; Cecilia Lopez, synthesizer; sawako, breaths and planetary sounds; Jan St. Werner, electronics

video excerpt