Air Pressure 2

Very happy to share the full version of Air Pressure 2 – a video piece made for/with Kathryn Williams.

My first Air Pressure piece was made as part of Kathryn’s Coming up for air project – a commissioning project which requests pieces  limited to a single breath. I responded to Bruce Nauman’s Body Pressure, an action/event score which acts as an invitation to explore you body through surface pressure.

Screenshot 2019-06-04 at 00.15.31.png
an extract from Bruce Nauman’s Body Pressure

In Air Pressure the end of the flute is sealed and all the holes are closed. The instruction is to put as much air into the flute as possible and to allow it to escape slowly.

In Air Pressure 2 the resistance is gradually released through each simultaneous set of four breaths (i.e. the first is a sealed flute, the second is open at the end and the mouth covers the air hole, and the sixth is the most open embouchure possible). The final two sets are a low cluster and a high harmonic cluster – here the resistance is in the aspiration of the pitch rather than the inherent resistance of the instrument.

Each of the 32 films are different and I find the surprising similarities in Kathryn’s body movements that don’t necessarily seem connected to the sound (for example the placement of the flute after she’s finished playing) utterly compelling. I find myself more preoccupied with this close set of instrumental-theatre variations than the original intended content of the piece. The exception is the first of the eight sets; this was filmed at the end of the session and by this time Kathryn’s asthma was causing considerable wheezing. This creates a strange high-pitched set of contrary motion movements – a sound I hadn’t expected would be quite so effective.

The first six parts were premiered as part of Kathryn’s Kammer Klang set.


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