The Enigmatic Symphonies of Instrumentism #3 by Lewis Gesner

Symphony of Instrumentism Three       

Flips and Flip Maps

A stack of flat(ish) pieces of various materials is brought into the space and placed
on the floor to one side of the performance space.  These materials may be short
lengths of board, plywood, a book, a CD case, a brick, and a variety of other materials
that vary in weight, texture and composition.  They should be predominantly flat(ish)
and rectangular.  The performer enters the space, holding a stack of blank business
card size pieces of stiff paper, and a roll of adhesive tape.  He places these supplies
on the floor and squats beside them.  He them takes two of the cards and, using
the tape, attaches them along one like edge of each card.  So, a long side would
be taped to a long side, a short side, to a short side.  The pieces are now hinged
together by the tape.  The performer then proceeds to attach another card to the
two, randomly selecting a side to attach it to, creating an additionally hinged
element.  Each time a card is attached, it will be folded along the hinge over the
previous cards, so that what results is a stack of cards that are all attach to each
other on one of their sides.  He continues this procedure until he has lost any count
or any sense of the elements’ ultimate orientation to each other.  He then takes the
stack of attached cards and unfolds it onto the floor, revealing the resulting
single flat shape he has created; his map.  Standing up, he looks down on the spread
map.  Next, a piece is chosen from the stack of rectangular materials off to the
side.  The chosen material is placed on the floor beside one end of the “flip map”,
or, paper shape, just revealed.  Then, the material is “flipped” on the floor from face to
face in a parallel path to the flip map beside it, turning corners and moving in exact
duplication of the paper path, until the end of the map has been reached.  Completed,
the map is refolded and placed aside.  New cards are retrieved, and another shape
is begun using the cards and adhesive tape, following the same procedure with these
as before.  This is repeated several times.  If the performance space is very large, the
shapes and flip materials may be left in place after each process is complete.      


A box of one to several hundred small household materials and objects is
gathered.  While these things should be common and easy to acquire, consideration
should be made for variety.  The performer takes two objects at a time out of the box.
The selection may be made for similarity or contrast.  The only stipulation is that there
is awareness of material aspects of the objects chosen. The performer initiates a sound
made with one of his chosen object. It may be rubbed, or scraped.  If it is struck or tapped,
it must be done repeatedly so that a continuous sound is sustained.  After the initial
articulation, the sound should be made to reach a dynamically steady, even state.  At this
point, the performer begins to initiate a sound with the second object, using the same
means of articulation as with the first object, which he continues to sound.  He then begins 
to recede in his playing of the first object, as the second gains an even dynamic, the first
finally retiring as the second replaces it.  The transitions should be as even in volume and
dynamic as the tonal and sound generative differences allow.  Think of the passing of a
baton in a relay race. 
This is what the composition looks like, with the dynamic decline of one and
introduction of the other sound placed in a square where they dynamically pass one
another in a “transfer.”  Also note the mirrored ends of the envelope, with one sound
attack, the transfer made evenly in the center, and the tapered decay of the second
sound that closes in…

Two of the Same Threshold

Two identical wine goblets are wrapped and tied with equal numbers of paper
towels and string.  Each goblet will be wrapped, as part of the performance,
with one complete roll of standard paper towel roll, torn off into its perforated
segments and individually wrapped around the goblet.  In sequence, the goblets
are then dropped onto the floor at arms length, a segment unwrapped from it,
dropped again, segment unwrapped, and so forth until the goblet is no longer
sufficiently cushioned, and it breaks from the drop.  The second wine goblet is
then repeatedly dropped and unwrapped in the same way.