Photo: Bryony McIntyre

Angharad Davies, Mark Wastell, Nikos Veliotis & Tony Conrad

Ten Years Alive on the Infinite Plane

Ten Years Alive on the Infinite Plane is a performance for amplified strings and 16mm film loops, and like many of the best things in life it’s not to experienced in a rush.  All of Conrad’s work is to be felt over long durations; but there’s nothing boring or staid about it. His works move subtly through transformations and are often breathtaking, if gradual. Their slowness is a perceptual challenge you simply have to submit to. Tony is joined by Angharad Davies, Mark Wastell and Nikos Veliotis, three improvising string players; each with a deep understanding of drone and minimal improvisation, that makes them perfect for this performance.

Over 90 minutes four flickering film loops of black and white vertical bands start out on four screens and are slowly inexorably overlapped, pulled in and out of focus as they flicker.  It may sound a simple device, but as the bands of light interact you see these shimmering interference patterns, odd colours that you know shouldn’t be there, strange changes in the depth of field.  And as your eyes try to adjust, closely matched violin and cello drones mirror what you’re seeing: on the border between pitch and rhythm they thicken, begin to pulse, and slowly flower into aggressively mesmerising textures and climaxes, bristling with harmonics, inducing in the listener/ viewer (if they’re open to it) an altered state of ecstatic reverie.  To try and sum Conrad’s work up think of him as the master of the exceptional gradual surprise.  

 
  • Audio

    Credits / license
    • CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

  • Video

    Credits / license
    • CC BY-NC-ND 4.0